In my lifetime, the only meaning this really held for me was Blitzen von Normandy. It was her birthday.
I will never – no matter what happens in my life – miss anything the way I miss Blitzen.
From the day I picked her up and said “Do you want to come home and be my puppy?” and she reached up and licked my chin, to the day the vet ran the IV to end her suffering, and she reached up and licked my chin and forever closed her eyes, she was a perfect creature.
They say that there’s only one best dog in the world, and every kid owns it, but she was truly it. I’m not talking about a good dog or a smart dog. Blitz was a perfect German shepherd. (Except she was afraid of the garden hose, and well, thunderstorms too, but that’s another story.)
But that’s not why she’ll be the only thing I will ever grieve. It’s because I will never again care about another thing.
I don’t have a favorite sweater or a piece of sentimental jewelry or an album of photos I couldn’t live without. Although I inherited lots of stuff from my mom and dad and a few things of my grandmother’s, none of it holds any meaning. It’s true there are things that remind me of people I’ve known or experiences I’ve had, but their value is not intrinsic. The memories are not of the house or of the old car, or even the big table we all gathered around. All of those things have come and gone, but the memories are and will always be mine, and I’m thankful for that.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate having nice things. I do. I enjoy them while they’re here. It’s just that I learned over the years that to attach yourself to something, no matter what it is, is to invite sadness. It seems like any time I start to value a particular thing, that’s when it breaks, or gets lost or stained, or shrinks in the dryer. These little annoyances remind me that I’ve done it again. I put value into something that doesn’t matter.
So I will make an effort to value the true in life: this moment in time, the love I share, the service I provide, the art I express, the laughter we create together. The rest of it just collects dust and will be one more thing that has to be packed the next time I move.