The Beauty of Animals: A Tribute

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Today, I lost an animal very dear to my heart. We’ve had Ginger, the guinea pig, for about three years, and she died today. We don’t think she suffered long, but it’s hard to say good bye to her. But instead of thinking about how sad I am, I’m trying to think of all the happy moments that made being her friend special for me.

For example, I spent an entire summer doing online geometry with her on my lap, earning her the nickname, “Geometry Guinea Pig” or “GG Pig” for short. She shed everywhere, and she was more than a little overweight. But that just made her all the more adorable. She was my movie buddy and my cuddle buddy. You see, Ginger was always “my” guinea pig. I mean technically, she was the family’s, but she always loved me the most. I remember when we first adopted her and her sister, Lulu, from one of my sister’s friends. Lulu (who died a while ago) was the adventurous, spunky one, and we could immediately see that she had character. But Ginger was being meek and shy in her little box. The girl who was giving them to us said, “Yeah, Ginger will be shy for a long time. But once she gets to know you, she’ll be your best friend.”

You see, there’s something really beautiful about animals. Animals are much simpler creatures than us, and they don’t care about all the things we care about. Thus, they are some of the world’s best lovers. Humans still have them beat, but that’s because an animal’s love is different from a human’s love. 

You see, animals don’t care what you’ve accomplished or not accomplished in life. They don’t care what you look like: what color skin you have or what you dress like. They don’t care what transgressions weigh on your soul. All that matters to an animal is whether or not you love them. And if you do, they show you love in return. Animals aren’t judgers; they’re lovers. It’s as simple as that. And that is what makes them so very dear to us. 

Another way to say YOLO

I thought I’d talk about my lovely water picture right above. Tara took it (actually, she took all the pictures I use in this blog; you can visit her blog here) when we went to Yosemite with our family. We traveled up the Mist Trail, and the view from the top was fantastic. 

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But the part that I remember most from that excursion was the terrifying trip up. I was 14 years old, and the only thing I could think of was how very high in the air we were and how terribly slippery the rocks we were climbing up were. I had frightening visions of me taking one small slip on the rocks only to fall to my doom below. I had a very active imagination then.

But that’s not the point. The point is that even though I look on it now as a sign of my adolescent mind, it wasn’t completely childish. As teenagers, we tend to think we’re immortal. Not elves-from-Lord-of-the-Rings immortal, but we tend not to think of the prevalence of death in our lives. We live our lives, planning far into the future, when in reality, we don’t know if we’ll be alive a year from now or even a week from now. It’s so unpredictable. 

You know, dreams and aspirations are good. They’re great, actually. It’s good to have something driving you to succeed, to make an impact. But sometimes, those dreams put so much emphasis on the future that the present fades out of view. Oh goodness, this is so reminiscent of the essays I had to write about The Great Gatsby. Anyway, sometimes we focus too much on the future, too much on what we don’t have and not enough on what we do have. And that’s just kind of sad. Because life, whatever stage of it we’re in, is a beautiful thing. As a friend of mine so eloquently said, 

“Near-death experience? It’s called life. The whole thing is a near-death experience, an existence on the brink of sanity, flirtation with damnation, a string of temporary measures. It doesn’t take an hour of comatosity to realize how precious life is.”

In Baz Luhrman’s 1968 film of Romeo and Juliet, there is a beautiful song called “What is a Youth?” At the end of the song, it says, “A rose will bloom; it then will fade. So does a youth; so does the fairest maid.” Life is short. Don’t let your rose fade before you realize that. And that’s not to say that youth can only accomplish things and that old age is meaningless. Just think of it this way, how many times will you ever get to live June 18, 2013? 

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Epylle Spydre 

A Glimpse in the Heart of a Mourner

When we mourn the death of someone, more often than not, we are mourning them for ourselves. I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but let me illustrate my point.

When someone dies, what you hear a ton is, “We’ll miss you”. You will hear, “You were too young to die”, or “This never should have happened”, but you are almost 100% guaranteed to hear, “We’ll miss you”. I mean, it’s an admirable sentiment. Assuming the dead can hear our mourning, they would want to know that they are missed. People, in general, like the feeling of being loved and belonging somewhere.

But it still goes to show that when people say, “We’ll miss you” or, more specifically, “I’ll miss you”, they are saying it for themselves. After a person that we’re close to has died, we can’t stand it, because they aren’t around anymore. It’s more comparable with the concept of a person going to a faraway country for the rest of your life, and you can’t communicate with them anymore.  In reality, it does not help the dead at all to mourn them. It doesn’t even help us, because we won’t function the way we used to. Mourning is for the mourner, but it comes out of love. That’s the beautiful thing about death: it helps us see that we love someone.

It’s sort of like with me and books. I don’t know about you, but I, personally, love books that make me cry. Being able to cry after a book helps me to know that the characters truly meant something to me, and that my heart isn’t hard, or anything weird and morbid like that. While death is a horrible, awful thing, it helps to remind us that our hearts were made for loving people. It helps to remind us of the true gift of life. Please don’t take me wrong in this: I am not saying that death is a good thing. But we can’t really change death, except in those rare miracles where people are raised from the dead. But that doesn’t happen very often. However, while that person isn’t living anymore, it’s not like they’re hurting anymore (once again, I do not, repeat, do NOT think that death is preferable over life. Don’t read this and commit suicide, okay?).

Like I said, what’s beautiful about death is that it shows us that we have a heart. And it shows us that life is short. Oh gosh, I could go into a whole ‘nother lecture about how life is too short, but people don’t realize that it’s too short! Sorry, my emotions are getting ahead of me…The point is that while death can bring out the worst in people (For example: “My name is Inigo Montoya, You kill my father, Prepare to die”), it can also bring out the best in people. We mourn for our sakes, not for the dead person. But at the same time, mourning comes about because of the love we have for that other person and so it really is for the other person. Oh, the irony of life!

Have fun with that,

Epylle Spydre

p.s. I won’t write about such sad topics as dying people all the time. It was just what struck my mood today. Cheers!