Thursday, February 14, 2013

V is for ...

V is for Valentines.

Any of you who have been reading this blog all along know that Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays, but not for the reasons you might think.

When I was ten years old, my family lost our house to a fire two days before Valentine's Day. I've written and posted extensively about it and I'm not going to repeat myself here. This past summer, I did a PSA for the Red Cross about how they helped us out after the fire. With my family, we relived the whole night and for the first time, really discussed everything that happened. I knew most of the story, obviously, but there were some details I wasn't aware of. The most important was the truth about what happened to my dog, Murphy.

I had always assumed he escaped out the fence that night in the chaos. He was hit by a truck and suffered serious injuries, including a crushed pelvis. Our vet felt he should be put down, but my dad said there was no way that after the trauma his kids had been through and along with losing not only their home but all their belongings could he also tell his kids that their dog was dead. So we put him on cage rest and supplements for months and eventually he was back to jumping six-foot high fences. He lived another 13 years after that.

Anyway, I'd always felt horribly guilty that I didn't remember to snap his leash on him and take him with me. I wondered about my state of mind- after going back and forth upstairs and down after my siblings, holding my panic at bay and trying not to think about what was happening, was I pushed to the cracking point and that's why I forgot to rescue my dog? My beloved dog, whose license number I had memorized in case it might help find him when he got away.

But last summer, as my family sat around our kitchen table with a bottle of champagne and went over what happened that night, I heard for the first time that our neighbors took Murphy when we left the house. He was with them. We didn't just abandon him to escape when the firefighters arrived. He apparently kept running away from them and trying to find us, which is when he was hit by the truck. I cannot tell you how relieved this made me feel. For so long I'd felt so guilty about not rescuing him as well.

I love Valentine's Day because getting the valentines my classmates had saved for me was one of the best things in my life. It made me feel normal again, and made me realize that the world would go on and things would be ok again.

So, I'm really bothered by the Valentine's Day haters who seem to dismiss this holiday as a sort of 'rub it in the face of single people' kind of day. It's not to me, and I don't think it should be about that. It should be a reminder to tell the people in your world that you love them- your parents, your kids, your siblings, your friends, etc. And I'm totally on board with Leslie Knope's idea for Galentine's Day- a day dedicated to celebrating your lady friends. Let's get on this, shall we?

1 comment:

  1. That is a pretty great story kerry, your dog and all the horror back then.
    Frankly, February was described by that amusing columnist in the Ithaca Times as "the longest 9 weeks of the year". THANK GOD for cheery little holidays like today!