Based in New York, Spiritualundertones is a blog by Sarah Almengor. Her posts reflect spirituality, relationships, and everyday life through her personal musings, photography and acquired wisdom.

Everything's Not Lost

Listening to: Coldplay - Parachutes (full album)

An album that attaches music to memories; it’s as if certain moments have its own soundtrack. I can’t listen to Coldplay without immediately thinking of Comet, and autumn, and my first real “adult” journal, and the teacher who gave it to me, Ms. Limperopulous. I close my eyes to the songs and drift alongside the wave-like thoughts of my dog, and how much I loved him. It’s like I’m programmed to destroy joyous thoughts: why am I suddenly wondering, again, what Comet was going through during the last moments of his life? Was he in a panicked frenzy looking for me? I wanted to kill myself over the fact that I wasn’t there to rescue him. To this day, I know I would’ve protected him at the very least. That dog never left my sight. There’s a part of me, though, that’s a little bit relieved I wasn’t present during his death. It’s as if God knew what I could handle and what I wouldn’t be able to deal with for a long time. Had Comet died right in front of me, or even worse, in my arms…I don’t know if I’d be alive. I don’t know if I’d be sitting in bed, listening to Coldplay, reminiscing about Comet, and honoring him via blogpost.

I was in a bad headspace during my teenage years in high school. I was angry and pretended to be proud of my temperament, I was confused, I was unstable. I didn’t know it then, but I know now that I was really lost and still trying to discover myself. I can’t even really say that I went through an identity crisis, because I’m pretty certain I never knew who I was to begin with. I always just sort of fused my personality and my “performance” with who I was, who I am. Oh I was always performing…at least, that’s how certain people made me feel. “You know Sarah, you know how she is: drama”. (As if, given the choice, I wouldn’t opt for being a lot less annoying than I’ve been brainwashed to believe I am). It’s strange because outwardly, I knew I wasn’t intimidating, yet my anger allowed me to hide behind a mask of false toughness, even though I knew I wasn’t fooling myself…or my maker. God knew I was just a broken, fearful little girl who wanted love; I’m unsure if I knew that, though. My desire for genuine love with depth and emotional vulnerability was never displayed with blatant begging or the shedding of tears, but rather escaping. I found great comfort in music and art. And Comet, of course. When he was gone in the twinkling of an eye, when he was unexpectedly ripped away from me, I too felt gone. I felt like whoever I was had vanished. I died with him.

Comet was, at that time in my life, my only constant. He was the only thing that made sense. If you’ve never owned a dog, I feel you won’t really grasp the relationship an owner has with theirs. I felt understood by Comet. I didn’t have to explain my brain or my dreams or my quirkiness to him, as I had to do with other people, including my own family. I felt like a tiresome burden to my parents most of the time, especially my dad. I never wanted to fully express myself because I was anxious I’d be labeled “dramatic” or accused of over-exaggerating, when I know that I truly wasn’t. That’s just…who I was. Who I am.

We got Comet when I was ten years old, and he died just five years later (if memory serves me correctly). When I felt shut out by my parents, I’d find emotional refuge just from petting Comet and watching his eyes get heavy; he was in pure doggy bliss whenever I’d run my fingers on his head a certain way. I remember he used to lick my tears. I was always just so purely happy around him. The amazing part is, is that he was too.

Thinking about him is almost like throwing salt on a wound. It still stings. It never stopped hurting, it hurts now. Most of the time I avoid getting too deep in thought regarding Comet because I get really depressed and regretful. There’s a part of me that, after all these years, still has trouble believing he’s really gone. I picture him running around like crazy in a huge green field, the sunlight a perfect shade of orange. Golden hour. Tongue hanging out of Comet’s “smiling” mouth as he gallops all over the place. Chasing the wind. Happier than ever. Having so much fun he innocently forgot about his owner, who just wants him to come home now. She just wants to feed him and cuddle with him. She misses his companionship. She misses her baby.

To this day, I’ve never experienced loss except for Comet. My grandparents are still alive, my parents and siblings are still alive, and my aunts, uncles, and cousins are still alive. Thank God for that, but I also know that someone, eventually (perhaps soon) will pass away. I just hope my heart is ready for it. I can relate to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one when they say that special person is “still here”. Comet hasn’t truly died to me because he is still just that real and present to me. His spirit literally, at least to me, lives on. I miss something that hasn’t really left in terms of their residency in my heart. Yes, in reality Comet is gone, he’s no longer here, and that makes me really sad all over again. At the same time, (t’s such a weird phenomenon), he’s still “with” me and it feels as real as when he’d fall asleep in my lap. I still “see” him jumping on my bed, walking towards me to sniff me and lick me, and resting at my feet. The heart presence Comet possesses is sweet and calming, and it makes me smile. It warms me. I suppose the palpable presence is what I crave the most.

Day One: Looking Back