Music has always been important to me. (Country, Rap, Folk, Pop, Musicals, & Alternative for me — Classical for Oz.) Thanks to a friend, I’ve recently discovered my new song obsession, WILD’s All my life. These lyrics have been particularly resounding in my head these last few days as I’ve been listening to the song on repeat.
“Oh, I’m gonna stand by you
Even on your darkest days
You know that I will never change
Oh, I will love you the same”
More and more, I keep thinking that the song is a perfect way to describe my relationship with Oz. While I’d love for it to be as perpetually light as it may appear on Facebook, where each day is carefree, we have had our share of dark days. In fact, we’ve had what at some points seemed like endless days, endless weeks of them. We’ve had days, weeks in which each outing feels like it’s very own heartbreak. We’ve had days in which I questioned if we’d ever make progress.
And when I talk about our darkest days, I don’t mean giant debilitating incidents. Our darkest days aren’t the giant reactions or public meltdowns (not to say we haven’t had them), they’re the ones other people might not notice. They’re the days where no matter what I do, my joyful, happy puppy’s eyes instead glimmer with DEEP anxiety related to everything but also nothing in particular, where I feel helpless as every single sound sends worries up his spine, where everything that might sometimes seem comforting to him instead sparks intense anxiety or fear, where all I can do is hold him and try to convince us both that it gets better, that it HAS to.
Our darkest days aren’t easy—and I thank my lucky stars (and a few other humans and a few items and training) that we don’t have too many of them these days—but they’re always worth it. They always make the good days that much better. They make the celebrations that much more powerful. They make us dig that much deeper. They make us train that much better. They make our love that much stronger. And we always get through them.
Oz is my heart. He’s my reason for living, my reason for getting up in the morning. And even when that reason sometimes makes my heart hurt, I remember the good days, remember the days where his eyes shine bright, where his face lights up, where his whole body wags, where he bounces around the yard with pure joy just because. I remember that maybe our dark days aren’t actually as bad as I think. I remember to take a step back and see that maybe they’re not that dark, maybe they’re just little blips in an otherwise brightening journey. I remember no matter what, to just “do the next right thing.” Go on that hike. Listen to that podcast. Stuff that topple. Do that training session. I remember that we’re not alone and the progress that’s to come is just going to be that much more exciting, that much more gratifying. Most importantly, I remember we have that deeply brilliant, deeply caring, deeply encouraging support that’s helped us get to where we are now, that continues to help us progress and learn. That type of support that everyone should strive to give and be so lucky to have.
And as the song goes, “looking back brings me to tears.” And to a certain extent, it probably always will, but I think it’s important to remember those “darkest” days, even as our weeks look brighter, even as I start to realize maybe they weren’t as dark as I once thought. It’s important to know we’re stronger for them, maybe even better for them. We’ve learned immensely from them and I’ll continue to try to be the best damn student possible for Oz as we continue to learn together.
And I know we haven’t seen the last of our darkest days (because they will always come back), but I know we’ll get through them. And I know I’ll never give up. Always and forever, I’ll do anything for my little werewolf, even when the full moon strikes.
For your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vNEBqW4PbM