Trying to Believe in Goodbye


Death isn’t a hard concept to get. Things stop; all of them. But what shivers the neurons is the idea that all of our adventures end so bluntly.

One day our experiences are so neatly returned. A lifetime of emotions, each as breathless as to make the written world feel shame, are destroyed. Our frames , and those we love, are reduced to fragments and forced dance around each other through infinity. There is no way to believe that all of this was for nothing. We can’t believe a life could be worth so little. There are no sufficient goodbyes.

This is the story of two Pokemon, doubt, and a dying bird.

I need to say at this point that I’m not sure I believe in much beyond what I can see anymore. The rational part of my brain performed a coup, exiling the rest into the waste-bin by the cover of night. This is the story of how that is changing.

Peka wasn’t my dog and I wasn’t his human. Named after Pikachu, Peka looked as wild as a prissy French dog can be. We dealt with each other. Each of us lived with the awkward roommate we had forced on us. One random day this changed and we became a team. We taught each other tricks. Our plots grew daring. And we both laughed and played in that way impossibly mis-matched friends do.


This year Peka turned 15. His legs wobbled on New Year’s. He had seizures in Spring. By Summer he lost his legs, sight, and began to aimlessly drag himself along. Never having a dog before this was new to me. When my wife was on vacation he began defecating blood. I uncontrollably sobbed in the ER, alone, realizing this was the end.

He stared into my eyes as he passed with such a quiet intensity. I held his head. Going limp, I felt the weight shift from him to me. One last favor in guiding him safely to sleep.

Weeks pass. Devastation turns to compassion. We look for a puppy to spoil the shit out of in our mourning.

Meet Evie. She’s the second Pokemon, only 149 more to go. Cute in the way an A-bomb was effective. Mother Nature declares its victory.


Two separate cars escorted Evie home. Me in the front and my wife (plus puppy) in the back. Right before I hit the road I threw the car into park and ran into the street. A small bird was lying on the side screaming, legs mangled as it rocked back and forth.

I grabbed him and ran back to tell my wife we had a new recruit. Driving with one hand, I held a perfect platform with the other. The small brown fluff scooted around to look at me as I drove. Only minutes from home I wondered what animal clinic helps birds? Do they have birdie casts? Meanwhile I tried to comfort him at 60mph.

At this time the bird jumped from my hand into my lap. This spirited 6″ leap of faith was his last action. As I pulled into my driveway he died. My wife pulled up seconds later, puppy enjoying her new yard with wonder. Pure joy mixed with complete emotional removal.

The birdie looked so young. Evie smells the grass. But the screams were gone. Evie’s purple leash jingles with the wind. It needed me and I couldn’t stop it. Evie wants to see her new home.

Peka loved the tree in our yard. Actually, love is mild – Peka would have spent eternity with this poor thing. It was his one great obsession in his final years. Which is why that it is odd that (without thinking) I buried the bird at its base.

I’m not sure this article has a point. Maybe points are meaningless. Maybe this bird is a bird, and this dog is a dog, and death is beyond parable. If we all simply eat the same poison it may be best. Or maybe not. Maybe the bird is a sign that goodbyes last a bit longer than I thought.