Today I came home from two weeks away and a plant was dead. Or mostly dead. Either way, it was dry and brittle and shedding its tiny leaves with abandon. But I literally can’t keep a plant alive–am known for my anti-green thumb. So why care about this plant? One month ago, Fang left my life. And this damn bonsai tree was given to me to honor his loss. While I try to soak its roots and encourage it to drink, it still makes me feel like a failure twice over.
Fang was with me for six years. My best friend. Sometimes it felt like, my only friend. He was my reason for getting up and out on the weekends. My go-to for a nap buddy. He got me through mortar attacks, breakups, hangovers, birthdays, depression. Life. He was who I would grip when a loud noise would startle and disorient me into thinking we were back in a conflict zone. Probably, I provided similar comfort. The trainers I hired to work with him and I, both said that dogs experience a type of PTSD. Whatever you want to call it, we are all a product of our environment in some way. He was no different.
Fang was wild and sweet and beautiful and scarily intelligent. I’m not saying I’m all of those things. But I do think there is something to dogs possessing similar traits to their humans. When I was anxious, he was anxious. When I was calm, he was calm. Thus, he made me try to be the best me so that he could be the best him. In the end, either his or my best just wasn’t good enough. I made the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. I said goodbye.
I don’t regret things. I just don’t. I weigh my decisions and actions and accept the consequences of such. There is no place for regret. That does not mean, however, that there isn’t a place for grief. Sadness. Anger. The depths of loss. The shock of an empty house. And the absolute fucking stupidity of a dead plant. From experience, I know these things will dull with time. I will remember the cute and loving moments. The times when Fang’s seeming capacity for empathy literally saved me from myself. For now, I’m just going to continue misting the bonsai and hoping I can do better.