Take these broken wings and learn to fly…

It’s been just over a week since Scarlett passed away. I still feel broken, but today I was able to smile at my co-workers for the first time. Well, as long as we’re talking about something other than Scarlett.

You know, I never understood the expression ‘to pass away’. I remember trying to explain it to one of my ESL classes…one of the students asked if it was a phrasal verb that meant the same thing as ‘to die’. By definition, I guess that’s true. In reality, though, the nuance makes all the difference.

I haven’t been able to say ‘Scarlett died’ out loud yet and accept it. Just writing it makes my hair stand on end. It’s too final.

When Tanya, my family dog growing up, was euthanized, it happened just as quickly I suppose. At the time, I wasn’t totally tuned in to canine health issues, and I didn’t know anything was wrong. I just remember that my mom took her to the vet and she (Tanya) didn’t come back. I found out when I was running through a new piece on the piano – back then I practiced for a few hours every day. Fur Elise. I went through all the movements in that piece over and over again thinking about how angry I was (I know, Beethoven never intended it to convey that emotion). I never did get the phrasing right.

25 years ago and I still remember.

When I momentarily came out of my fog last week, the tv was on…one of the characters asked another if she was having a ‘Blackbird transformational moment’ in reference to the Beatles hit. Somehow the melody started in my head, and it hasn’t left. I downloaded Sarah McLachlan’s version and have had it as the featured tune on my life’s soundtrack for days.

The lyrics seem to speak of a release from a painful situation. “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive…you were only waiting for this moment to be free.” For whatever reason, this is the song that comes to mind every time I think of Scarlett…and I think of her a lot.

Blackbirds vs. black birds. Despite the grammatical differentiation, I think they will all remind me of my little black chiweenie. Ravens and crows will bring me comfort as her ever-present spirit creatures.

Left: J and Scar at Navy Pier. Right: Resident blackbird at Navy Pier.

Left: J and Scar at Navy Pier. Right: Resident blackbird at Navy Pier.


  • chris muise

    I wish I had the words to heal …Thank you for sharing.
    You are an insightful woman…

  • Life goes on, and you are a very strong young lady,I can tell by your words and thoughts that you express.Glad you can talk about her easier—a bit anyway–and it wil improve…Not that you’ll forget her,ever, but there will be necessities of life that will break in and take your time.
    Classes resume and off you go—sharing your knowledge.Wonderful way of life.I chose to stay here, but in my own way,I also share. God bless each day,Marie

  • Rick & Shereen Greenberg

    We were sorry to read the sad news about your dog. We always enjoyed seeing her in action.
    Best wishes, Rick & Shereen

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