On Life and Death

Today I set the appointment to have Sally, our Miniature Pinscher, “put to sleep” at noon tomorrow.

I hate the phrase “put to sleep,” but it seems sort of harsh to say “kill.” I guess if I said that, it would seem like I was trying to shock people. I don’t mince words–in my world, people don’t “pass away.” They die.

I don’t like sugar-coating things.

Tomorrow we are going to kill Sally. We are. But it does soften things for most people to say that we’re going to “put her to sleep.”

I’m going to hold Sally tomorrow while the vet injects her with that lethal pink stuff. I am going to force myself to watch the life leave her body. I know how it works–I’ve had to do this twice before, with Ivan and Dulce, and just like those times, I’ll be right there with her. I’m not very enthused at the idea, but it’s my duty, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This morning as I watched Sally stumble across the living room floor, my thoughts turned to death, growing old, getting sick, losing your body and your mind.

I was writing about death, about Sally, when I heard Gianna squealing in her bedroom. She had finally awakened from a nap and was just sitting in her crib playing.

Here I was pondering death and getting old, when just hearing her brought me back into balance. I had been slipping into morbidity, into feeling sorry for Sally (and myself), into losing sight of the way of the universe: things are born and things die.

I need to be sad at losing Sally, but death is normal. It’s what happens.

Kids are the very embodiment of life. They’re vibrant, curious, excited, silly, and full of energy. As we get older, things definitely deteriorate.

Tomorrow, I’ll explore life and death in further detail.

6 Replies to “On Life and Death”

  1. I always thought that “put to sleep” was used to connote the benign intention behind the act.  Kill and put to death indicate prejudice against the individual. Put to sleep and help pass on indicate love and regret in the act. But that’s just how I see it.

    1.  @ElizabethStoops I’d say I agree with you in general there, Beth. I especially dislike when people say people “passed away.” It seems like an unnecessary thing to do (to me, anyway). I definitely don’t want to be crass about it with some people, though, so I’ll say pass away if I think it might hurt someone’s feelings. I do prefer to just say die, though.

      1.  @JustinBarba  Well, for some of us “passing on” is a much better descriptor of what we believe happens as well. But in general, I don’t like flowery terms either. But when they are used to indicate emotion or belief, they don’t bother me too much.

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