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Jason Pawlak

Husband, Dad, Navy Officer, Coder, and Tinkerer. I have many interests and am always looking to learn something new. This site is a launching point to the many areas of the Internet that represent me.

Marley & Me

Dear Readers,

This post contains what you might consider spoilers for the movie Marley & Me.  If you have not seen the movie and do not wish to know anything about it, I highly recommend you go see it, and then come back and read my post!


… for everyone else…

So you’ve either seen Marley & Me or you don’t care about a spoiler…

I admit it, I cry during some movies.  I remember watching Glory when I was little at my Grandparents house in Florida, when the end of that movie came around and they were all running, and dieing… too much for me.  I remember watching Mighty Joe Young on an airplane, sitting next to my Mom.  Something about a tower I think, and the big guy going down… I lost it.  But let me tell you, absolutely nothing compares to Marley & Me.  I don’t even remember the last time water flowed from my eyes like that.

I’m a big boy, I don’t mind sharing with you that I am 23 and cry during movies.  I challenge you to go see Marley & Me and not cry.  If you don’t shed a tear you have a heart of stone, no lie.

I have to say, I knew Marley was going to die before I went and saw the movie.  Between my Mom telling me that it was a tear jerker after they saw it opening weekend, and Melissa’s Mom plain telling us that Marley died, both Melissa and I knew it was coming.  And honestly I think that made it worse.  The entire movie I knew I was getting attached to this dog, and it killed me knowing that I was going to have to watch him die.  I think I spent the last half hour of that movie in tears.

This of course meant that I was probably the first one to start tearing up in the theater, holding back sobs while there were still happy times on the big screen.  It was killing me knowing that the puppy wasn’t going to make it.  But when I really lost it was when Marley was at the vet for the first time after his stomach flipped.  John Grogan (Owen Wilson) was standing there holding back tears himself talking about Marley being a fighter, and it just brought back so many memories of my puppy, Kelly, who we had to put to sleep when I was a freshman in high school.  We had gotten Kelly not long after I was born and we had grown up together.  She was the sweetest dog, full of love and care.  Not quite like Marley’s energy, but still my puppy that we lost.

My puppy now, Maggie, is exactly like Marley.  She is full of love but the most mischevious dog you will ever meet.  Guard your napkins during dinner time, and you have to hide/block off all things that could be edible to her.  We lost a number of Christmas tree ornaments this past year to her.

So, basically, the movie hit home in a number of areas.  Lots of the movie was very well done, building to the end when everyone in the theater was sobbing and sniffling.  There was no hiding it.

I believe that it is good to feel emotion like that which you get from Marley.  Everyone needs to cry every now and then, and it makes you really feel human when you are able to feel that sad.  Its humbling in a way, knowing that something can move you so deeply.  After leaving the theater, I was doing my best not to let any more tears fall.  It was a struggle.  Talking was OK, but saying the names Maggie or Marley was near impossible to get past the ‘M’.

I love dogs, and this movie really got me.  I hope you were struck as much by the movie as I was.  In response to this movie, I am reposting from an old blog of mine a short writing that I did a while back titled ‘Kelly’

The shadowy memories of yesteryear are about as clear of my vision of today. However, the feelings and emotions are still resilient and alive in my slowing mind. If someone were to ask me how I was today, I would answer ‚ "old and weak... old and weak", but the cool surface under my body sooths my aching muscles. Slowly, I blink my eyes; nothing happens any faster than slow these days. Slowly stand up. Slowly walk to the door. Slowly eat my food and drink my water. And slowly lay back down. Lying here, I know there is love in the room, it's just a sense we have, we know when we are wanted and we know when we are loved. The room around is so bright; I rest my eyes for a little while. Remembering the past is difficult, my mind yearns to just remain in the present, doing nothing but taking in whatever sensory feelings I have left. Although, remembering the past is a way to keep going when you are as I am. With my eyes closed, I am able to concentrate on the past, blocking out all the illness of the present. My favorite memories are the furthest back. I was much smaller then, crawling under the rungs of kitchen chairs... sitting by the window, watching the birds outside, waiting for just the right moment, when they would all be gathered on the closest branch, then giving a convivial bark sending them scattering with flustered feathers... running after a ball... tearing apart toys... but nothing, compares to bedtime, following heavy footsteps up the stairs, taking a right, and another right at the end of the hall, then sitting there expectantly, until he, my best friend, invites me up onto the bed. There we snuggle with soft warm sheets, and each other, dreaming of the joys of tomorrow. I remember Christmas mornings, everyone filled with so much happiness, tearing open paper packages. I would get so excited and help as much as I could with bows and ribbons, running with them when they came free. I remember car rides, my head hanging, and tongue flapping in the wind, with an intoxicating overdose of aromas, from every building and every person we pass. I remember table scraps, and I remember my spot, in the family room... the carpet, warn as I; the only spot in the house the sunlight never seems to leave... My eyes blink open and I am brought back to the current moment as a hand touches my head. It's a gentle hand, rubbing my ears and neck with affection. My family is here, I know their touch, and I know their scent... we may lose our minds, but we never lose our nose. With me through the years, they are who I love, as I am for them. The hand leaves my side, but the affection is still there. A twinge... a peck... a sense of relaxation. Slowly, I blink my eyes; nothing happens any faster than slow these days. I feel tired, old and tired, but relaxed. I close my eyes, so relaxed, and listen to my breaths, intentional and slow. Everything feels right‚ I know it is‚ and then I sleep.
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