In the movie “Forrest Gump,” the titular character says, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”
I find that the metaphor about life’s unexpected ups and downs is so true.
Perhaps it was my recent visit to Savannah, Georgia, and that very spot where Forrest Gump sat on a bench with his box of chocolates that influenced my thinking lately.
The month started with a much-needed vacation and celebration of a milestone birthday. It was the first time in a couple of years that a disaster of some type didn’t mar the event. When my family and I have tried to get away from home we have encountered hurricanes, a massive oil spill, wildfires and an auto accident. I was beginning to think we were cursed.
And while this one had a bumpy start, thanks to the airline canceling our flight out of town, once we arrived it was smooth sailing.
We enjoyed true Southern hospitality, soaked in the history and architecture of the city, watched dolphins frolic in the ocean and indulged in decadent dishes.
Most importantly, we were able to relax.
Then, in just a matter of days I went from that extreme high to an extreme low when our family’s beloved pet, Bubba T. Dawg, passed away.
Bubba’s death wasn’t unexpected. It was something we knew would happen sooner rather than later. At 15, he had developed a few health conditions that couldn’t be helped with any type of modern medicine.
His condition was fragile and our veterinarian had placed him on the equivalent of canine hospice.
Still, knowing it was coming doesn’t make its arrival any easier.
He has left a big hole in our hearts and our lives. I continue to expect him to be underfoot, demand that I feed him with his incessant barking or snore as he sleeps next to me as I watch TV.
Since March 2020 when COVID-19 closed the office and I began to work from home he has been my constant companion. He was never more than a few feet away from me and helped provide a sense of calm when things got crazy.
Like that proverbial box of chocolates, the next piece or thing to come along may be something truly special. Bubba was that. He came into our lives after the death of our ranch dogs.
Every animal we have shared our lives with over the years has been special to us, left a unique memory and taught us various life lessons. For the ranch dogs, it was protect and respect the family “pack.” For Bubba, it was that we are still a family, just different, when our children left the nest.
Those lessons come in various forms — an encounter with a pet or scene from a movie. Life will always have unexpected ups and downs, some will be sweet and some will not, but there will always be another piece of chocolate to try.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.