Roy M. Griffis

Roy M. Griffis




Those we have loved…

The theme for 2022 is starting to look like “losing those we love.”  Just before Thanksgiving, our oldest cat, Felix, died suddenly and peacefully.  We knew he was old (almost 19 is our guess, since he was a rescue), and we knew it was coming, but he wasn’t in any pain or distress, as far as we could tell.

He was a great big bundle of love, comforter to so many children (like my son, below, in 2006), as well as the kind of feline that made “cat-haters” reconsider their prejudices.  He was always calm and easy-going, with a deep rumbling purr whenever we petted him, and I am growing misty-eyed writing that line.

Felix with my son, Cameron
Then this week, we had to put down our oldest dog, Hans.  He, too, was an incredibly sweet, good-natured animal, strong as could be.  He was a tremendously comforting presence, and he’d sleep with…well, anyone in the house who would allow him to join them:  my wife, our kids, even the foster kids loved being with him.  Hans came down with a fast growing cancer that we nursed while we could, but when he was losing the ability to walk, we ended up making that last, long drive to the Vet’s office.

Too, my high school classmates and fellow USCG Rescue Swimmers  are passing on.

I’d managed to keep a very distant acquaintance with death most of my life, probably by avoiding being too close to anyone to miss them when they died.  I witnessed death in the Coast Guard, but only in the past three years have I had to start reckoning with it in a more personal, immediate way.

I arrogantly think I’m pretty smart about some things, but lately life is showing up with its back-hand ready to correct some of my erroneous assumptions about myself.

The other day  I was tallying up those who are gone (my first highschool love, my mom six months after that, then these beloved pets, with others to follow them), as well as those friends who are sick and declining now.

With shock, I realized (either selfishly or stupidly, I can’t be sure) that the loss of each person (or creature) that I loved is, in a way, like whittling away a part of my past.  And with each one that is lost, there’s a bigger chunk (be it be it first love, beloved mother, funny and affectionate pet) of what made me who I am that is gone.

Oh, yeah, I’m a barrel of laughs today.

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