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Chapters in Your Life

Updated on November 25, 2022
Pepper with her new adopted baby, Bella.
Pepper with her new adopted baby, Bella. | Source

The milestones in our lives are generally marked by major life events. Events like a birth, starting school, graduating, first date, first kiss, getting married and even the death of a loved one. Milestones are those things that can be pleasant memories, or they can stick in your throat like a stale graham cracker.

Recently, I learned of the death of my brother’s brother in-law. My brother, Tim and I talked a few times about this person’s imminent demise during his lengthy illness, and when he eventually passed on, my brother was faced with the chore of packing up his things and disposing of what was left after the few relatives came and took what they wanted. Tim felt like his brother in law’s life was just erased. He didn’t exist anymore. There was a small memorial, and his body was donated to science. A Life Chapter closed.

During this time, Tim and I recalled our feelings of the death of our own oldest brother 6 years prior. He moved to a foreign country and suffered a fatal stroke. His body was never returned home. Another Chapter.

But human beings live their lives with emotions and feelings. There are arguments and discords. There is forgiveness and bitterness, and ultimately unresolved hard feelings. Humans are often judged by how much money and stuff they have acquired and when they have passed on, there is usually a disagreement over who gets it.

But then we have our pets. In this case, our dogs. Our dogs love us unconditionally. They are a furry bag of unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness and unending affection. They are sad when we leave them and happy and joyous when we return. They don’t accumulate wealth. They don’t care about money and stuff. A dog will never hold a grudge or remind you of something you did years ago. They are steadfast, loyal and true. Unwavering.

My wife and I recently lost one of our fur babies. Pepper was going on 13 years old. She was incompletely and incorrectly diagnosed by our veterinarian and died of anemia just two days ago. We are heartbroken. Sadly hurt and devastated.

But in the days that followed, when my friends and family read the postings of her death, we were bombarded with words of kindness and compassion for our loss. But one thing stood out. My cousin Cristina from California spoke the words of her Aunt Cindy, my first cousin: “Dogs are like Chapters in our Lives”. My sweet late cousin Cindy was still speaking to me and giving me encouragement. Nothing had ever rang so true.

In my lifetime I have had many dogs. At one time my wife and I had 32 lab mix dogs (two of our labs had litters of 14 in the same week). Letting go of any of them is hard. We still have one left from that original litter, Tinkerbelle. She will be 14 next month. She is our longest chapter.

When you look at your life, consider the chapters. Consider how all the chapters will eventually fit together into your book. Be like the dogs. Be forgiving. Don’t put importance on money and stuff. Share what you have, love unconditionally.

I bid you peace.


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