When the cashier suggested that I “have a nice day,” I assured her that I would as that is the way I choose to live each day. The forlorn look on her face told me she was having a very bad day. She volunteered that she had been miserable for seven weeks owing to the death of her dog and her belief that she “may have killed him.”
She told me that her dog had been outside and that, as always, she checked him for ticks when he came inside. In a few days the dog became quite ill and later died. After the death, the pet owner checked the Internet for possible causes of death and concluded that some of the symptoms “could have come from a tick bite.” She felt responsible and guilty.
Pet owners know that it is almost impossible to be certain that every tick has been removed. It is also impossible to do an Internet search and know with assurance that a tick bite caused the animal to die.
If this death had resulted in a jury trial there would never have been a conviction. However, there was no need for a jury as the pet owner had already declared her guilt and imposed her own harsh sentence.
I did not know what to say to end that conversation. Wanting to leave her a ray of hope that her self-imposed misery would end, she gave me a thin smile when I said, “be kind to yourself.”
Why do we make ourselves unhappy? We should stop thinking, “it is entirely my fault.” Most things are not. Please, BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
My essays are drawn from the lives of real people that I encounter. No need to embellish.