The nice thing about Facebook is that you can find a lot of good links to articles, blogs, pictures, and the like that make you think about life in new or different ways. Recently a friend in Texas shared a blog she stumbled upon called “The Manifest-Station”. One of their writers, Amy Roost, wrote a post titled “What My Dog’s Death Taught Me.”
This is one of the more powerful things I’ve read. Amy shared the pain and struggle of the last few months as she watched her 13-year old yellow lab deal with bladder cancer. Eventually the fight was too much and the last visit to the veterinarian came about.
The last third of her post is what is the most important part of her post. She wrote:
No one ever waited for an envelope to arrive in the mail. No long-distance lover. No warrior’s child. No one.
What we wait for is the letter. Not the envelope.
As I looked upon Tiki’s motionless blonde fur; her barrel-chested body that once bounded through high chaparral in search of rabbits; as I looked at her sweet face that never growled at the hi-jinks of our two-year-old grandson or winced at the pain I know she’d suffered most recently–what I understood, and internalized for the first time, was that our bodies are the envelope, not the letter. What made Tiki who she was, a sweet-natured, strong-willed, immensely loving, loyal and constant companion was NOT her body, the envelope, but rather what was inside the envelope. Her spirit…the letter.
You. Yes, YOU. The person sitting right next to me. You are not your Louis Vitton purse, your Brooks Brothers suit, your BMW, your tinted mascara, your low lights, your perfectly sculpted abs or your bulging pecs. That’s all envelope. Okay, so maybe your envelope is velum, or embossed or made of artisan handmade paper. Or maybe it got lost in the mail and your envelope is crumpled and stained around the edges. I don’t know and I don’t care. What the people who know you love, what they enjoy, what they crave, what they will miss when you are gone is the letter. The contents. The meaning. The spirit. The YOU.
Thank you to all of you who have been great letters to me. No matter what our respective envelopes look like, thank you for being the best letters anyone could want. I hope that I have written some good letters to you over the course of our connection to each other on this little Blue Marble.