On another gorgeous sunny Saskatchewan afternoon, I drive out to Caronport to pick up Makiya for some grandma/granddaughter time in Moose Jaw. My emotional tank is topped up during the drive there thanks to the beauty of the prairie. I think about pulling over to capture a photo but decide against it. The image accompanying this post was taken on another day in another place. There’s prairie beauty all around me now.
We spend a fun afternoon having lunch, getting her hair cut, and picking up a few beauty supplies (for her) before heading back to our home where her mom will pick her up after work. There is, as always, laughter and good conversation. It’s a joy to have the opportunity for such time together again.
Later, after Laurinda has picked her up and it’s just Gerry and me at home, he hands me the thing he picked up earlier without telling me. Murphy’s ashes. And there’s the paradox of grief on a day already fat with joyful moments that I’m getting used to. Getting? That’s not the right word because surely every day since March of 2020 has been such a paradox—sometimes weighted heavier in one direction or another, but always seeking to find balance in the liminality of living between the beautiful and terrible.
In the spring, after the snow melts and we can finally explore our back yard, we’ll find a perfect spot to bury Murphy’s ashes alongside the little wooden box containing Chelsea’s, that I’ve been carrying around since we lost her in 2013. We’ll create a memorial of some kind, something to honour the lives of two tiny dogs that captured our hearts. Something special in the aftermath of the emptiness death leaves in its wake.
My thoughts continue to touch on paradoxical things these days and how, since the beginning of time, we have had to learn to live alongside them. Life is difficult, M. Scott Peck taught me when I was in my early twenties. In this world you will have trouble, Jesus taught me later. Accepting and owning this truth has been paramount in helping me through valleys of varying depths over the years.
And so, another day of paradox comes to a close and I lay my head down with a heart that’s heavy while, at the same time, grateful for the counterbalance of joy, still learning how to to make peace with the paradoxes.