Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Story of Alcohol, Luck, Love and a Girl Named Cheryl

As the title above indicates, this post is going to be about alcohol, luck, love and a girl named Cheryl. Intrigued? I can assure that this story will come together in a way you probably don’t expect. Stay with me if you can.

A few years ago I worked with a girl named Cheryl. She was/is a wonderful woman with a big heart and a great sense of humour. Over the years we shared a lot of good laughs and not just haha laughs but the big, crying, lose your breath, can’t even talk kind of laughs. Some of those laughs came at very dark times in my life. Although she had no idea, I was dealing with the horrible pain that is infertility and I doubt that she ever knew that the girl standing at the photocopier was slowly wasting away from a broken heart. For those laughs alone, I will always be grateful. But I’ve been thinking about other stuff today and it has brought to mind some of the quirky, existential conversations Cheryl and I had when we were supposed to be working.

One day we were talking about the nature of luck and how some people seem to have a lot of it and others seem to have none. We were both lamenting how we both fell into the latter category. However, as usual Cheryl turned it around and gave me another perspective about luck. This was her theory: perhaps her and I were really lucky, just in ways we might not know about. For example, maybe the roof was supposed to fall on top of us that day but it didn’t. That would have to be considered luck she said and maybe these kinds of things happened all the time and in fact we were really lucky but just didn’t know it. It made a lot more sense at the time when she explained it and believe it or not this is not the part of the story that involves alcohol. In any case, I think Cheryl was really stretching with her theory but it did make me think and brought a smile to my face.

Cheryl was a girl with some theories but she also had some questions. One of the most interesting and funny ones involved alcohol. Now let me start by stating that Cheryl is a girl who can hold her liquor like few others and is known to enjoy a few beers every once in awhile. I have warned Jim on many of these occasions to not even try to keep up to Cheryl and like most men he had to learn the hard way. One morning after a particularly fun night Cheryl came up with an interesting question. This is how she explained it (I’m paraphrasing):

“You know, I just don’t understand. I’m a good person. I work hard, I’m kind to others, I’m kind to animals, I pay my bills. I don’t really have any bad habits but every once in a while I like to have fun and have a few drinks. What I don’t understand is why something that makes me feel so good can make me feel so bad the next day.”

Good question Cheryl and one that leads to the next part of the story. It has become apparent over the last few days that we may be getting closer to having to make the decision that every pet owner dreads. The decision that rips your heart out and leaves you sobbing in the shower. Bowser is not doing so well and it’s breaking my heart. Jim and I got him a month after we moved in together. He’s been with us through everything and I have cried many tears into his soft, silky, golden fur.

So, this leads to another question – a variation of Cheryl’s question about alcohol. Why does love, something that feels so good also have to break your heart? Why does love have to come at such a high price? Why can’t we just love and feel good and never have to say good-bye? I didn’t have an answer to Cheryl’s question that day and I’m sure she wouldn’t have an answer for mine today. But I do know that she would understand.

I just may indulge in a glass of Bailey’s tonight, a drink that Cheryl and I shared on a few occasions. I don’t expect it to help much but it might taste pretty good. I’ll be thinking about how lucky I’ve been to have had Bowser to love. And I’ll also be trying to figure out how I might have to say good-bye.


North Dakota Ward's said...

Great made me cry. I will be thinking and praying for you guys. What a hard thing to have to do!

Kara said...

Barbara I'm so sorry that Bowser isn't doing well. Last year I struggled with making the same horrible decision. Losing a pet that I had loved for 14 years was only made worse by the fact that the ultimate decision was mine. Thinking about it is still painful, it still makes me cry (a lot) and I still miss her enormously.

If you're ever in need of a sympathetic ear or an extra shoulder to cry on, don't even hesitate to let it all out.

Barbara said...

I just posted on our recent loss of a much-loved pet. It helps to know others feel the same way. Wishing you comfort in this difficult time.

The same things may not make you and me laugh, but you might get some of that therapeutic laughter from my post also. I know it helped me.

Sheila said...

Lovely, well written post !
I've had 5 pets which I had to give up, with 2 ex-husbands, then after 30 yrs of wondering, found the boy I'd met in my teens and had the best 3 yrs of my life with him & our 2 Tabby kittens.
Then unexpectedly I lost my best-friend/hubby. Now its just me & our Tabby's. I'd prayed often (believe it or not), that the first 2 dead-beat sods would kick the bucket, but of course, neither of them did. Sadly gave up pets to get out of those mess's.
I have to look on this as, at least I had the boy of my dreams, for happy years & still have our furry babe's !
I pray that you, as I do, have our Lord & Saviour as Anchor in whatever future comes our way.
Sheila Joyce

Erin said...

great post, I am sorry and will be thinking of you all

Dawn said...

Wonderful post Barbara. Very sorry about Bowser. Sounds like this Cheryl gal was very wise, as are you.

Bonnie said...

Hi Barbara, Jim, Bennett & Bowser.

I know what it is like to lose a pet. When we went with Rudy to put him to sleep, I cried for months - and then came Teddy.

I still remember Rudy with tenderness, and know that he is with us - in a different way - in a spirit kind of way. While I do not understand the mystery of this, I believe that nothing created ever really dies - it is transformed into a new way of being that is more "spirit like", and has no more pain, no more tears, etc.

Does this make the reality of loving our pets into a new way of being any easier for us? Not a bit - - but I would never have missed the opportunity to learn some important life lessons from our two dogs - - and from the people in my life who have now moved into the spirit world.

As I said in my voice mail - - Dog's have a special place in heaven, because "Dog" is "God" spelled backwards. What other created life-form loves us unconditionally - no matter what - other than God and our dogs?

I'll be praying for you all.
Auntie Bonnie

* ~ *Jessica* ~ * said...

Barb- This is totally unrelated~ I tagged you. The rules are on my blog.

* ~ *Jessica* ~ * said...

Aww. That made me tear up. Sorry to hear about Bowser. Dogs are family. And it sucks to lose them or say good bye to them. I've said my fair share of goodbyes. I still think about my childhood dog Sugar (even have dreams about her). Good luck. Keep us updated. Hugs!

Kiera Beth said...

Barbara - I am so sorry to hear about this decision. I have loved reading your Bowser stories and I know how hard it is to make that decision.

Speaking as someone who had to do it, you will know when it is the right time. We had to put our cat down 3 years ago and after many years of giving medicines and caring for her, there was a moment where Drew & I looked at each other and said it was time and we were at peace with that decision. It was a painful time and there was a lot of sadness.

Way back when, I blogged about it at

Please keep us posted and know that I am thinking about you and praying that the moment of peace comes when the decision is made.

We will all be here to cry with you for your loss and share your laughter over the memories.

Alcohol Rehab said...

this is really a sad story. well, we can't deny that there's always an end to everything.