Thursday, 3 March 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day Two -- a song that makes you cry.

Well, there would be about a hundred of those. I've never been stingy with the tears.

I have been going through music this morning trying to figure out which track to blog about. Music holds a powerful emotional connection for me, as it does with many people. I remember what I was doing when I heard a song for the first time, and often even songs I've known for years can take on new significance if they happen to be heard at the time of an important or deep felt event, or indeed if they just happen to make up part of a strong memory. After all, that's the premise this whole challenge works on.
I have many very sad memories - I've been married, had that break apart on me, been treated horribly by people who I loved and trusted, lost a great deal of my eyesight, fallen in love with people I shouldn't have, had that break apart on me, had my parents marriage split and lost the close relationship with my father as a result, lost my best friend to suicide, and lost my first true love when he died in my arms (more on that later, it's not as you would think.) So there's generally been a lot of loss going on, and nothing brings on the waterworks like loss. So, again, I am faced with a wealth of choice when it comes to sad songs (o, lucky me !)

But in the end I plumped for a song that I heard around the time of great gain for me, when there were actually many happy tears in my life for once. As is often the case, it evokes bittersweet tears as it reminds me of that gain, but also of profound loss.
1998 was a year when my life changed beyond all recognition, because it was the year I met and fell in love with Brin, my first German Shepherd Dog. Now, if you're thinking, "Fuck me - she's chosen a song about a fucking DOG ???" then you can fuck off right now. I have zero time for people who don't like animals, and zero time for those people who don't understand that a companion animal can be loved to the same depth as a human companion (hopefully not in the purely physical sense, - I mean, not in a perverted way ! - but certainly emotionally.) Often it is the case that the companion animal is loved more than any human influence. Yes, get used to it. A dog, in particular, loves you unconditionally. Treat him kindly and he will do anything for you, show you love, and generally give you everything of himself that he can. It's your job to uphold the other end of the partnership and do the same.
So - if you don't get this concept, then stop reading now and go and do something else. Ok ?

Ok, they've gone. You're still here, so, here we go.

Brin, or Bindi as he was more commonly known, was my first true love, no question. Yes, I was married, but as I will explain - that relationship paled in comparison. I adored him, and he adored me. I watched him grow up, and he became the centre of my life. Maybe this was because the person I was married to at the time was a cheating, lying scumbag, maybe it was because the dog was just better at loving me than the husband was. Whatever it was, Bindi was it for me.
This song was doing the rounds when he first came into my life. He was a bundle of fur, feet, ears and little teeth. He drove my husband and my best male friend nuts by hanging onto their trouser legs when they walked around the house, and nothing the said or did prevented him from doing it. I would have to come and physically remove him as he swished along the floor at their feet. He never did it to me. He was wilful, destructive, and barked at people who were afraid of him. I laid a linoleum floor in my hallway one day, inch by painstaking inch, only to have him rip it up literally five minutes after I had finished. He wasn't the brightest button in the box, so "sit", "stay" and walk to heel took him a month of sundays to learn (unlike my younger GSD, Jalen, who learned that within a day.)
But on the other hand, he was loving, protective, funny, happy and all he wanted in life was to be with me. Which was fine by me as all I wanted was to be with him, every second of every day. "The more I know of men, the more I love my dog." Damn right. He grew up to be my constant companion in a dark marriage, he gave me constant emotional comfort, and at times physical protection from my husband, and all he wanted in return was to be by my side. When my marriage ended (to be fair, it had ended long ago, but when the man finally walked out on me), he was the only thing that kept me sane. I lived for him. When I got my younger GSD, Jalen, I lived for them both. I've never wanted children, so Bindi and Jalen weren't child substitutes as some psychobabble would have people believe - they were it; they were (and are) my family.
When I met Darryl, my fiance, and his guide dog, Otto, we were the perfect family. Darryl feels the same about Otto as I do about my boys - and we have accepted and bonded with each other's dogs as we did our own. All my friends told me I'd never meet anyone who loved dogs as much as I do, and one (no longer a friend) even told me that my devotion to my boys was something I should get rid of, for fear of scaring men off. Fine - I didn't want a man who didn't get that anyway.
We had one amazing perfect Christmas together in 2007/8, all five of us, which I will remember forever as the best days of my life. Then Bindi got ill in the summer of the following year - cancer, with a very sudden onset of symptoms that alerted us to anything being wrong at all, and four weeks after the diagnoses (which was, basically, nothing to be done as the cancer was everywhere by that point - spleen, heart, liver, brain), he died in my arms late one night. He would have been eleven on his next birthday.

When he was first in my life, I didn't want to miss a second of watching him grow up. As the song says "I don't want to miss a thing." I was enchanted by everything he did (if bemused by some of his antics, and often annoyed by the destructive streak, which luckily he grew out of). When we found out he was ill, I stayed with him until he died - I didn't leave the house for the whole four weeks, I slept downstairs next to him because he couldn't make the stairs (as did Darryl, Jalen and Otto), I barely left his side for a second - and if I did, it was to use the bathroom, and more often than not he would follow me in there too. I held on to every second at the end of his life as I did at the beginning. I cherish every second we had in between.

Today all that I have left are the memories, hundreds of photographs and hours video footage, his ashes and some fur in a mourning locket around my neck. I miss him every single minute of every day. Every time I hear this song, I remember him lying asleep on my chest when he was a puppy, feeling his little puppy breath on my face, I remember his face looking up at me with anticipation of what we were going to do next, I remember how proud I was when we went on our first walk and I let him off the lead and that he came back to me the second I asked him to, I remember the joy he felt when we rolled an old bike wheel down a hill for him to chase, I remember him standing in front of me when I was cowering in a corner, baring his teeth to protect me from a man who wanted to hurt me, I remember him lying on my feet when I was standing at the stove, I remember the feel of his fur on my face when I put my arms round him, I remember him still bringing me his toys to play with the day before he died, I remember all those things. I'll never do those things again, only in dreams and in memories. I'm not a religious person, but I find myself wanting to believe there is a heaven and that I will see him one day, again. I can't cope with the idea that I won't, it's just unimaginable. Love ... love is the thing that makes me cry when I hear this song.

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