Even in death, my longtime companion Ozzy is the healer that he was in life. Ozzy was not only my shadow; but for all of the years leading up to our separation, he was Boo’s as well – probably more so than mine back then.
His recent death was a long-anticipated blow to the very heart of my little dwindling family (now just me and one more old dog left now).
And it was even more tragic to have to tell Boo of his passing over the telephone; when I can’t hug her and rub her silky hair to ease the loss of her childhood friend. I know that this loss is very big to her, and very painful – and on top of all of the other bullshit that she is dealing with throughout her own inner-boxing matches with a very serious death wish, she will be dealing with this from her imprisoned sate of being, in another place, 724.9 miles away from my ability to comfort her. It’s rough…
Ozzy was always like a buffer in our household, especially when Boo was still at home and we struggled so to simply function as a “unit”, as different as she and I have always been. Ozzy was the peacemaker, the reminder that life is precious and full of wonder and fun. Ozzy’s gusto for life was unmatched, truly. He oozed happiness, he often would wag so hard and with so much cha-cha that we would joke about him “taking off” like a helicopter. He was friends with everyone: dogs, cats, birds and people, alike. He loved my daughter like a fat kid loves cake; he put up with lots of yelling, temper tantrums, crying, and every other intense emotion attached to a child’s out-of-control behaviors leading up to her leaving for court-ordered “treatment”. I watched him truly mourn the loss of her when she left, like a statue in the front yard for days on end – searching, waiting for her to return…confused about where she had disappeared to – wanting to fond her and bring her home. Oz was with me through that entire nightmare that followed too; thank the Gods – lest I be the murderer on death row for killing the man who ruined my daughter’s young life through his own pedophilia. Oz was the unspoken voice of reason in my inner-ear, always calm and loving and attentive – very human, for a dog.
Somehow, leading up to Oz’s death, Boo and I hadn’t been speaking since her return from her last hoorah beginning around New Year’s, and lasting until mid-February, when she was found on a highway in New Mexico somewhere out in the middle of nowhere with no clothes on and delirious from sunstroke and dehydration. I’ll spare you the ugliest of the details surrounding her physical state, but suffice to say – she was in BAD shape – once again. I am not angry with her; I am not forsaking her as my only child because of her behaviors by any means…
During Christmas and New Year’s and the following months of her total absence, of wondering whether she was dead or alive or being tortured somewhere by some drug-crazed, 45-year-old, sick fuck who values his can of beer more than her precious, beautiful life; something happened to me, something changed me – something died in me during those months. The ability to function and carry on normally dissipates when your kid is missing in action. The things that you are able to accomplish typically revolve solely around trying to ensure her safe return. Things get out of the normal scope of reality that you live in; things fall apart in and outside of your reeling mind and siphon-pumped heart. Things get hopeless, your heart becomes hollowed out like a tree…life embitters you to the point of near-insanity. There is no one to blame or take hostage until she is returned safely; there is no ransom to pay off – just emptiness and pain and fear – lot’s and lot’s of fear and anxiety.
She has been back in custody for a while (since early March), and I have been at a loss with her. I didn’t go when my parents went to see her for her birthday (she’s 17 now!!!), as I knew in my heart that something bad was going to happen, and it did. I don’t trust Boo; I can’t trust Boo – I have been burned so many times in the face of the loyalty to my “mini-me”…I cannot muster even the facade of trusting her anymore. It’s like the vampire that never stops sucking my life-blood from me, totally and completely futile.
Anyway, with Ozzy’s death, my initial instinct was to call Boo immediately; to have her know right away, and to have her hear it from me. All of these months without speaking to her became irrelevant with his passing, and the need to tell her was a pressing vice inside of my saddened heart right away. I called her; I told her about Ozzy. She cried and cried and so did I, as I am unable to control my own emotion when it comes to my kid – she is THE ONLY human on the planet that controls the water works on me in this way. Our tears gradually become laughter as we reminisced and remembered things about him; about our long history shared together with such a gift of a family companion: Our “Oz fest”.
So after so many months of increasing distance and no words besides letters between us, Ozzy, “my boy”, even in death, from the grave, has managed to pull the strings that can only draw Boo closer to me once more – through his very passing. It’s really resonating with ,me – this concept…it makes me both very sad and happy all at once.