someone asked me on the weekend if I cry when they die...
Carol · May 25, 2015
and I have been thinking about this question for a little while because it unsettled me.
I wonder what people think I do actually feel in regards to the animals here and if they think that somehow, I have been able to turn off or mute my feelings simply because of the numbers that I have cared for over the past many years.
so here is the answer to do I cry? I shed a lot of actual tears..the last time I cried was a week ago when I touched tina for the very last time.
but let me tell you something about tears...tears are not a measurement of caring. commitment and dedication and action and a willingness to keep going day after day, year after year..every day, every year...that is a more accurate measure of how much I really do care.
every single one of these animals..now and in the past (and it doesn't matter if they are here or have passed away or are in foster care or if they have been adopted...I cared for them first.) caring doesn't stop because they are no longer here...sometimes caring is letting them go..to better homes, to where ever end of life goes.
when I cry at end of life..that's me just being a baby..selfishly sad because someone I loved has gone and I am going to miss them.
but the tears that I cry when I have fucked up...when I went too far or not far enough. when I have given those sad, broken to pieces hearts and bodies a second chance and something bad happens like it did with jazzy and lance, with fletcher....now those tears are rivers of blood.
no one is ever going to get this...the love I feel for these animals is all consuming. this is why I have given up a normal life..this is why I keep going. this is why I take risks and chances..because above all..I hold precious their happiness and their life.
I care so much that I will take my feelings and put them to the side so that I can with clear headed understanding and respectful compassion see and hear what they need, where they are and what I need to provide.
caring is a hard job, it is not always a happy or an easy job but it is a necessary one. and caring is not about who can and does shed the most amount of tears (even tho I am pretty sure I could win this one!)
caring is about making sure the animals have good care, they are comfortable, they are happy, they are stress and fear free..it is about figuring out and providing appropriate staffing/volunteer caregiving, about worrying about money and vet bills, about maintaining their home so it is clean and in good and safe repair, it is about ensuring they can feel the grass under their feet, and on a hot day, a fresh cool breeze and on a cold day, the warmth of a fireplace and a soft fleece. it is about building, maintaining and not abusing relationships with our vets, with our partner shelters, with our suppliers, our neighbors..in short caring is about keeping saints and all who dwell within content and safe.
you suck up your mistakes, you get up when you fall down, you find some way to block out the negative stuff that sucks the heart out of you if you are not careful and you learn to accept three things...1)you will never be perfect and 2) not being perfect is going to piss someone off and 3) not being perfect is going to tear your heart out.
but what caring really means is duty...fulfilling my commitment to those that I serve. my commitment to them is not just physical..it is also deeply emotional.
I have just learned not to wear my heart on the front of my shirt.