Odes to man’s best friend are as endless as the ocean – individual as snowflakes. Last Saturday morning, our oldest dog Max died in my arms. Today, I’m still wading through sorrow and inspired to offer my ode.
What does the passing of a household dog have to do with Good Leadership!? Sorrow is currency for reflection, inspiration and goodness. No one promised the journey would always be sunshine and chocolate chip cookies…and everyone knows sometimes it hurts to love someone deeply.
At 15 1/2 years old, Max aged well into his Shiatsu-Poodle grey beard. He was 12 pounds of grandpa gentleness, and a fearless alpha male protector of our home turf. Three 60-pound Labrador Retrievers next door humored him daily as they raced with Max as a pack, back and forth along our adjoining fence.
When fatigue caused the parade to stop, Max would continue barking bloody murder with his snout piercing through the chain link – while the Alpha Male on the other side would lift his leg and relieve himself on Max. To say that Max was “pissed” has a complex double meaning.
When I was a kid, we mused about “dog-years” as 7 years to every one human year. That would make Max about 108 when he ate his last treats at the vet. Max was my soul mate during the darkest hours of my mid-life scare with acute angioedema. When others had to go off to school and into work, Max stayed home with me every minute. Faithfully.
As I write this blog, my heart is warm…but my lap is cold. Especially in his latest years, Max loved to join me in our favorite chair as I wrote, thought and prayed. He helped me write my first blog – in our favorite chair – on January 12, 2010. After our son Ben left the home for college – it was Max and me holding our own against a chorus of females. We had a man crush going, and I’m not ashamed to say I miss him.
If it had been easy to say goodbye, then it would have been wrong.
But alas, good leaders understand nothing lasts forever. Things change, evolve, advance. And we keep growing until we decide we don’t. Easter Sunday was the next day and I found great joy in thinking about the resurrection through the butterscotch soul of Max. I am feeling warmer, wiser and calmer – filled with the undying love and wisdom of Sir Maxwell, the miniature bad-ass protector of the Bloomington Batz family.
Good leaders make a habit of embracing the intense emotions of a life well-lived. And they grow warmer, wiser and calmer by a life well-loved.
Our readers will appreciate knowing: how has sorrow enriched your leadership?