Thursday, October 12, 2023

Furbabies have magical powers

I’ve often shared Facebook “Memories” here on this blog, some of which can spark feelings, good or bad, or are just interesting to me in some way. Today’s was one of the sad types.

The photo above was today’s FB “Memory”. I shared it to my personal Facebook (via Instagram) on October 12, 2017—six years ago today. In that 2017 post, I said:
Bella decided to visit me at my desk again. A welcome diversion! I never have photos like this with the dogs because they don’t do laps—plus, they both need haircuts!
I remembered that photo, and taking it, but it was the caption that caught my attention today. When I shared it on Facebook this morning, I said:
I miss those days more than I could ever find a way to express, because Bella, the two dogs I mentioned (Jake and Sunny, of course), and especially their other daddy, were all still alive on that day. They and that house are all gone from my life, but the stuff that was in it is mostly still around, not that it matters to me. What’s important, though, is that Leo joined our family the year after this photo, and that little guy fills up a lot of the cold void the rest of our little family left behind. Leo is the real secret to how I managed to survive all that loss over those two years that began in 2019. Furbabies really do have magical powers.
I was feeling as melancholy about it as that probably sounds, and it was probably all because I’ve been in a sometimes reflective, sometimes quite sad, head space since the weekend, something I referred to obliquely when I talked about not knowing “what my long term plan is” in my post about this past Friday and Saturday. There were other things that triggered similar feelings this week, too.

This goes to show, I guess, that it’s not just FB “Memories” that can make me feel reflective or sad—in this case, I pretty much already felt that way. However, seeing the “Memory” while still sometimes feeling that way, it was the obvious what sort of reaction I might have.

My reaction the “Memory” today is so completely different from what I felt about the photo on that day in 2017. Back then, I published a blog post sharing that photo and telling the story behind it. My photos often have stories behind them, of course—and it seems that my reactions to photos can have stories behind them, too.

Today’s reactions weren’t all sad, though—at least, not at first. I looked at the photo and thought about how much better coverage I got with my beard dye back then. But, of course, that created reflection of its own: Inwardly, I feel like I still look like I did in that 2017 photo, but I’m also aware that when I see myself in a mirror or a photo taken recently, what I see is how much my appearance has aged since Nigel died (and I feel it’s even more true if I don’t keep up with dyeing my beard).

I was reminded of that today when I looked at myself in the mirror when I had my shower. Then, I started thinking about a blog post in which I’d mention the house where the photo above was taken, and that led to me remembering bringing Nigel home for one last night before his funeral, and I cried. It was a few brief seconds, as such moments usually are now, and ended with me thinking that at least being in the shower meant I just needed to rinse my face. That thought made me kind of chuckle.

So, with all sorts of memories and feelings flying around these days, it’s no wonder this photo from six years ago would make me remember all I’ve lost. However, there’s another side even to that. This morning I picked up my iPad, and before I even had a chance to check Facebook, I noticed Leo laying in his bed looking particularly cute. I shared that photo of him (below) in a comment on my Facebook post sharing the “Memory”, and said: “Coincidentally, I snapped a photo of Leo a little while before I looked at FB and saw this ‘Memory’.” And, I knew that Leo also needs a haircut, but unlike Jake and Sunny that 2017 day, Leo is partly shorn in that photo.

I take two lessons from today. First, stories are literally everywhere, sometimes in multiple layers. The other lesson, though, fits right in with my mood this week: Everything changes. Oh, yeah, there’s the third important lesson, which is more of an important reminder: Furbabies really do have magical powers. And I’m certainly glad they do.

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