I had another Lhasa years ago. She was brilliant, entertaining and loving. I valued her in my life but I was younger, busier and had much to accomplish. She always accepted it with grace and joyfully received my attention when I deigned to give it.
One week I was working in our spare room, turning it into my personal space. I had chosen lemon chiffon, a nice light airy colour. I had been painting for hours with the door closed over, not wanting the smell of it to permeate the house. My Lhasa decided it had been long enough and came in to tell me so, gently nudging open the door and wandering in. I panicked as her tentative tail thwacked against the fresh paint, and I yelled at her. Her tail went down and she dutifully left the room.
The next day, we realized she was not well. She was only twelve, not old for a small dog, and it was unusual for her not to eat. The vet did not think that he could do anything for her but, at our insistence, took her into surgery. I was standing in that freshly painted room when the call came. She was riddled with cancer and he could not, in good conscience, let her live a few more painful weeks. He did not bring her out of the anesthesia.
I stood in that room and cried, looking around and seeing only ugly yellow. All she wanted was to connect with me, and I had yelled at her. I crushed her spirit, a spirit infused with love. I did it for a room. A stinking room. I hated that room; it was too sad. I eventually had to repaint and move out of it. It is ten years this month since I said goodbye to her and I still cry, feel the loss and the overwhelming sense of guilt.
Life is packed with drama, big and small. It gets busy. That’s unavoidable. But, whether you are working at an insular job, such as writing, working in a hectic high-stress environment, or have days packed with to-do lists, you only get to live this day once. With each moment’s arrival, another has passed, never to be experienced again. The next time your child, your partner, or your fur friend asks for your attention, stop, if only for a minute. Grab ahold of the here and now. In seconds it will be gone.