I usually write about the things that I find different between Asian and Western woman. But this time I wanted to write about something that I have found to be alike in both women and men everywhere here in New York City. I am speaking about the generous understanding that we human beings show each other when confronted with a life-altering situation that leaves a person in grief.
Men are trained from their earliest childhood not to cry.
I have a 9 year old dog named Moogie. When I was all alone in New York City at the beginning of my stay in America, she was my only friend. Over these past years she has been such a comfort to me. I literally could not imagine life without her – not that I ever DID such imagining.
Well, on the darkest Monday of my life last week, after going for a second, third and then fourth opinion, I found out that she has wide-spread cancer throughout her sweet body. And there is nothing that can be done. And I haven't stopped crying. I literally CAN'T stop crying.
The outpouring of sympathy from everyone in my life and from people not in my life, people who are total strangers – has been enormous. In the elevator of my building..in my office..from strangers at the vet's office.. people have been so kind. Nobody looks at my red eyes and tear-stained face with distaste as I am telling and retelling my story. A taxi driver patted my hand as I was fumbling in my purse for money among all the wadded tissues, and told me not to bother. The ride was a gift, he said. He was sure that when I finally got to heaven Moogie would be there waiting patiently for me.
In the West, where men are trained from their earliest childhood not to cry, it seems that the loss of a pet is an exception to the rule. The ability to empathize is deeply ingrained in all the ones I meet. So many people in this big City are alone except for a dog or a couple of cats. I am sure that most of them see me or hear about me and think, “There but for the grace go I”.
It surely puts the little things that I have worried about concerning my appearance and my role in this world into perspective. The vet says we have maybe one more month together. One more month for me to spoil her and wake up to her licking my face. One more month before I hold her as she gently goes to sleep forever.
I hope I will be changed for the better.
Moogie went to sleep forever on Saturday, July 29th.