Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lessons I learned from Payton and Christy

Southern Fried Pug mom here.

It's taken me a long time to write this. Partly because I really wanted to get all of my thoughts in order, partly because my tears blurred my vision too much.

Losing Payton has been so much harder on me than I even thought possible. And I bet many of you feel the same way. I only met her in person once, in December and just for a few hours. I know some of you were lucky enough to spend more time with her and got to know Payton and her family so much more than I did.

I went back to the beginning of her blog and realized it had been just less than a year that Christy and Payton started blogging. One year, and this little spunky pug and her amazing mom has made an enormous impact on the pug community.

Christy said in one post that Payton's spirit in battling her disease had made them more loving and faithful people. You can read her post here. She and her family spent more time together and loved one another more. Life is fragile, you never know how long you have with the ones you love so spend that time wisely.
Seeing the potential for positive in a horrible disease is incredible, and it takes incredible people like Christy and Tim to practice that positive instead of dwelling on the bad.

She wrote of how caring for Payton could be isolating and lonely sometimes. I am so glad she started blogging, not only to share Payton's story with others, but her decision to share Payton with us allowed all of us to reach out to her, too. Although we don't have pugs with PDE, we have pugs with cancer, with arthritis, with seizure disorders, with breathing problems. We all have experienced the terror of a pug in distress. That middle of the night run to the ER vet. The medicine cabinet full of drugs. The pain of watching our seniors decline. And we did reach out to her. Miles might separate us but not in our hearts.

Many of us have lost our pugs, too. Some of us suddenly, some of us have had to make that heart breaking decision to set them free of their suffering. The ultimate expression of love. We all know the agony of loss.

So many of us have posted in memory of Payton. So many beautiful posts from so many heartbroken friends. If it were me, I'm not sure I could read all of the posts yet, but I'm sure if she hasn't, Christy will. She must know that she isn't alone, that we all share a small part of her pain. I'm positive that she has felt all of our love surrounding her, Tim, Gampy and Gammy these past days.

Two lessons I have learned from Payton and Christy.

1. Life isn't fair, and sometimes it really sucks. But how you react to the suckiness is up to you. You can meet the suck head on with a smile and an appetite for life and fight with everything you've got. It sure beats being angry and depressed.

2. Life is fragile. Spend the time you have with the ones you love. Chores can wait when the sun is shining or a squeaky toy needs to be destroyed. Do we really focus on the ones we love, the furry and the non? Do we sincerely tell and show them that we love them?

There is incredible power in community. Pug people, especially in the blog world, have created a strong network that stretches across the country and the world. I know that wherever I am, there's a pug person close who I can count on if I needed them. Meeting all the pug people I did over Christmas held no fear for me. I had no qualms in going to complete strangers' homes (except that my pugs would poop on their floors!) because they were pug people. And I hope that they all felt that way, too. We may never meet in person, but I count you all as friends. And if you are ever in southeastern Virginia, I fully expect a visit.

Dr. Kim Greer is the leading researcher on PDE. She has a fund set up specifically for PDE research in hopes of better understanding this terrible disease. If you are able to, please consider donating in Payton's memory. You can send your contributions to the following address. Make sure to include PDE research in the subject line.

Dr. K. A. Greer
100 Dyess Corner
Cibolo, TX 78108

Thank you to Suki's mom and Christy for sharing this information.