At some point while Moe was sick, I turned on Right Away, Great Captain and left it on. I remember walking away from his still-warm but lifeless body on the grass and wandering back to the house wondering what could possibly be left without him. The only thing to do was crawl into bed in the middle of a sunny day and cry. Right Away, Great Captain crooned me to sleep on that horrible, beautiful day. I let it play on in the days to follow because it held Moe and I together, this thread of mournful music.
Tonight I'm getting ready to say good-bye to one of my characters and I don't want to because it's like letting my boy slip through my fingers again. My heart hurts and it feels right to play Right Away, Great Captain! again to pull myself back into the grief.
It's no more than two lines into the first song before I can see him stumbling and feel his slick neck against my cheek. The curl of dread tightens in my belly as I watch the vet check his pupils and slowed breathing over and over and over until he is satisfied and I know it's done. I'm broken, with pieces that will never go back together quite right.
Sixteen months and it surprises me how sharp the pain still is and how little it takes to bring me back to that good-bye. That is the power and wonder of art.
Oh. How will I ever do this?