“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity”.
Henry Van Dyke
Only recently have I begun to understand the meaning of this quote. Sadly, my 12-year-old family dog passed away suddenly this week. Anyone who has lost a pet will understand the heartache that occurs when you lose your furry best friend. Berkeley, a beautiful Springer Spaniel, was more than a best friend, he was a family member from the day we welcomed him into our home. He was unlike any other dog I’ve ever met. He was compassionate, loving and protective and had the power to solve any problem, with just one simple cuddle.
I have heard of people losing their pets all the time and although I felt sympathy for them, I never quite understood what they were going through and definitely did not think it would happen to me. I think that’s why this transition has been such a struggle. I know that I often took my time with him for granted, because I never thought I would lose him.
He was such a special character, with so many human qualities. Indeed there were times that his awareness freaked us all out! He knew when we were talking about him and if we told a story about something funny, or embarrassing, that he had done that day, he would huff! He would drop his head and grumble, until we apologised. Along with being a major drama queen, he was also extremely loving and caring and a mother figure to our other little dog, Oscar. Wherever Oscar was, you could guarantee that Berkeley wouldn’t be far away. He had a space in his heart for everyone and never once judged us for what we wore, whether our hair was brushed, or if we wore makeup. He was there for us no matter what and he will be sadly missed, every single day by all his family and friends.
I just wish I had spent more time with him. I would do anything to go back in time, just to give him one more hug. Unfortunately, it’s impossible, or at least until they invent time travel! Note to all inventors – please get a move on!
Whilst I was sitting in my room crying my heart out and when life seemed so unfair, I just couldn’t understand why. Why a dog so amazing and special as Berkeley would end up like this, and then it just hit me. I had an ‘epiphany‘ moment and what I realised has changed the way I live my life.
You see, it doesn’t matter how much I cry, or how much I hate life, it’s not going to bring him back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m heartbroken that I didn’t make more of an effort to see him when I had the chance, or give him extra cuddles when I did visit, but there is nothing I can do, and I know that Berkeley wouldn’t want me to live my life with those regrets. He would want me to learn from them and spend the rest of my life fully appreciating everything I have, the people I know, the places I will visit and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
From now on, I understand that every moment is precious, and I am going to live life to the fullest. I highly encourage you to do the same. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be old and grey, lying in my bed, thinking about the times I fought with my sister. Spending precious time not talking, when we could have had so many amazing memories together, and the days I spent watching mindless TV, when I could have been spending quality time with my friends and family. Even just simple things, like getting the bus and keeping my eyes glued to my phone, when I could have been taking in the world around me and who knows, someone could have been sitting right next me that could have benefited so much from a simple conversation. Every moment counts!
Life, unfortunately, is just simply too short. However, we all have a choice. We can use the time we have and make the absolute most of it, or we can play it safe and follow the crowd. No one is going to live our life for us, or make our decisions. It’s up to us. At the end of the day, we are the ones that have to face the consequences and possibly, the regrets. There is no rewind button, I have no one to blame for not spending more time with Berkeley, but myself, however the difference is, I know I will not make the same mistake twice. After all, we need to make mistakes in order to learn from them and I’m really thankful that I’ve learnt this lesson at this stage in my life. From now on, I will try to live my life in the present moment. Berkeley is gone, but will never be forgotten and although his physical presence is no longer here, he will continue to have a positive influence in my life.
Just remember to, Live every moment, Laugh everyday and Love beyond words.
Kimberley O’Hare is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @Kimberley_Ohare and LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberley-o-hare-b3225a153/