This month, March, is the tenth anniversary of my husband, Bob’s, death. I find myself recalling him a great deal, what we were doing when we learned he was sick, and how little time we had left together, of how he was robbed. He had another great love in his life, greater than his for me, that being his two sons. They were just entering adult life when he died. He did not see them grow into young men, get married, and have children of their own. I think he would have truly enjoyed that. I believe he would have found the thrilling bliss in that that I found with the borzoi, although he did love his borzoi, too. For me, I learned I never really knew what love was, never having had it growing up as a child.
My childhood was an ordeal of survival behind enemy lines, with parents ruling the house like they were Gestapo agents, imprisoning their children, ruling them with what can only be described as a rule book that grew thicker with every passing day.
Their favorite adages were: Spare the rod, spoil the child; and, You should only kiss your children when they are asleep. They did not notice that their three children were growing up despising them and being totally self destructive. They were too busy being angry all the time, with one another, and their offspring. Somehow, sadly, we survived.
I understand Bob had a happy childhood, with laid back and easy going parents. He, and all his siblings, always appeared to have smiles on their faces. My siblings and I were profoundly emotionally disturbed, and did not wear smiles well. We looked rather ghoulish with smiles on our faces, so we practiced looking in mirrors trying to look intelligent or serious instead. It seems particularly sad that I, who am so damaged, am left alive while Bob had to die ten years ago. I feel so sorry for him that he had to miss so much happy, quality, family time. I know how precious it is, but I had to learn about it from borzoi.
Borzoi taught me about love, human love. I thought I loved Bob when I married him, but I had been made too damaged by my mother to be able to love anyone again. It was fun and easy to love the borzoi. When I look back at my old photographs with them, I don’t recognize myself. I look so healthy, and am always beaming in a huge smile I cannot diminish. In January, 2005, we bought Opal. I became manic with joy. Eighteen months later she died, and I crashed into a devastating depression and have never been the same again. I cannot forget what I lost when she died, my greatest loss, my heart itself, my joy that only she brought me. I have read accounts like this by other people sometimes on FB, not often, because usually people have multiple borzoi and the others help the owner get over the loss. However, sometimes, a kennel will have one of those very extraordinary borzoi that transcends who and what it is, and when the owner writes about it, I recognize and understand what has happened to them.
Somehow, I am learning to love and smile, because I have grown from that place. In the process, I have learned that Opal made a difference in my life, by enabling me, after almost 15 years, me to experience love and joy again. I do not mourn her, I celebrate her, every day. I was the luckiest person in the world to have had her. I believe we will be reunited upon my death. Opal is my definition of heaven. Someday, when she comes up to me and looks up, and then hit me with her paw, like she used to, then, she will never be far away again.