The last few times we'd gone out, Jenny had been different, but I'd been too wrapped up in my own problems to notice. She'd been happier, lighter somehow, and her face had a certain happy glow.
She'd been telling me about a new man she had met over the past few months, but I really hadn't paid much attention. I'd met him once, his name was Robert, and he seemed nice enough. I hoped that Jenny would be happy, but happiness was a concept I just couldn't grasp any more.
The wedding was planned in a hurry, because Robert had been offered a job in Indiana with a big company. Jenny didn't want to stay behind, so they decided to marry before they left. I was Jenny's maid-of-honor, but for the life of me, I can't remember anything about the wedding or the reception. I do remember that Jenny was glowing with happiness, the same way my mother looked that day I took her to the airport.
I went through my maid-of-honor duties as best I could, and tried to smile happily in all the wedding pictures. I didn't stay at the reception long, I just couldn't. Jenny wanted me to stay until she tossed the bouquet, but that was beyond me. I didn't want to catch her bouquet; I didn't want her to go!
When I got home, I stripped off my fancy maid-of-honor dress and took a long, hot shower, where I cried and cried until there weren't any tears left inside me. I wanted Jenny to be happy, but I was selfish enough to wonder how I was ever going to get along without her. She was my rock, and now I felt adrift, alone in the world with no one to love or care for me.
A wrapped myself in my robe and stumbled out to the living room. I threw myself down on the couch and sobbed. I wanted to die. There was no reason to go on, my parents were gone, and my best friend was moving away. I couldn't take it any more, I just wanted to curl up in a little ball, and go to sleep, and not wake up again.
I was sobbing so loud it took me a while to hear the whimpering. I looked around and saw a very big basket on the floor near the back door. Jenny must have dropped it off on her way to the airport; she still had a key to the house. In that basket was the most adorable little Cocker Spaniel puppy I'd ever seen, and she was wearing a big, floppy pink bow. The little puppy climbed clumsily out of the basket and wobbled toward me, crying, and whimpering. She stopped by my hand and licked me tentatively, then looked up at me with the most beautiful deep brown eyes I've ever seen. I scooped her up into my arms, and she covered my face with wet, sloppy puppy kisses. Her tongue was warm, and her face was so sweet and happy, I couldn't help but stop crying.
She jumped back down and wobbled around some more on those fat little puppy legs. Then she grabbed hold of the corner of my robe and tugged, growling and trying to sound mean. She was adorable, and I picked her up again and hugged her close. Suddenly I noticed I was smiling, and even laughing a bit at this little bundle of energy and fur.
Next to the basket, I noticed a bag and a card. Inside the bag were puppy food, a dog toy, and a book "How to Raise Your Puppy." The card said: "Selinda, I will miss you terribly. I want you to know I love you, so here is a little present to say 'thank you' for letting me be your friend. Take good care of her, and she'll love you, too." Jenny.
The next day I made an appointment with that grief counselor my doctor had recommended. At first, I just poured out my anger and hurt that everyone I loved had left me. Then, with Dr. Bev's help, I learned how to let go of the people I loved, and move on with my life. She made me realize I still had a life to live, that making myself miserable wasn't healthy, and it only hurt those around me.
I knew she was right. I knew I hadn't been a very good friend to Jenny those last months up until her wedding, and I knew mom & dad would never have wanted me to be so unhappy. Gradually I saw the doctor every other day for several weeks, and then it tapered off to about once a month, and then, I stopped seeing her. She said I was on the road to recovery, and she was always there if I needed to talk. That was a good feeling, and I walked out of her office feeling much better than I had in a long time.
Lucky and I are doing OK now. it's taken quite a while, and I still miss my parents a little every day. I miss Jenny too, but I try to go visit her once or twice a year, and she comes to town once a year for a "girl's weekend." We go shopping, go to dinner, go to movies, and giggle, almost like old times. Of course, she always brings a toy or a treat for Lucky, because after all, she is her Godmother.
A named her Lucky because that's what she has been for me. She's been a real good luck charm -- my life is really OK now. I got a promotion at work, now I'm in charge of all the other paralegals. It sure was lucky for me Lucky came along when she did, because she really saved my life. She gave me a reason to live, and showed me that things, even at their worst, can be faced, and conquered. I know in my heart my parents would have wanted it that way, and I've made peace with myself.
Lucky is three-years-old now, but she still acts just like that adorable puppy I found in my living room that night. She's my friend, and she loves me just as much as I love her. Sometime in the next few weeks, she's going to be a mom, and I hope that her little babies will bring luck and love to someone else who needs it, just like their mother brought it…