Two weeks ago I had to face the worst homesickness I’ve ever had, but that I’ve been knowing to arrive for a while already.
I talked with my mom and sister on the week-end, and Monday when I saw my phone ringing I new it wasn’t about good news. My sister announced me that our almost 14 years Lappish dog, Karmen, was leaving on her last trip the next day.
Despite that I knew that day will arrive, that I left Tampere in November and just hoped she will have enough strength to pass the winter, that I was super lucky to spend about 4 months with her after many years being separated, that I’ve been afraid about this day for all those years I wasn’t living at home and hoping it will not arrive when I will be somewhere else…. Despite all that I just felt desperate and burst on tears.
My mom was was able to leave from Rovaniemi to Tampere and pass the last hours with Karmen and to go to the veterinary with my sister… And our dad told he will be able to go there too. Only I didn’t have the possibility to leave from Ivalo and say goodbye, and be with my family. That broke my heart.
Karmen was in our family for 13,5 years, half of my life. We got her in 2002 when we had spent 4 months in Senegal for my moms’ work… And we started to talk about taking a dog when we were still there. My mom was working on the local movie-version of the Carmen opera. That movie, called Karmen Geï, came out in Senegal on that year and we saw it many times during that spring…. The main character, playing Karmen, was a beautiful black woman and she was also the film-makers wife. With my sister we followed my mom when she had interviews in the film-makers house, and as we all liked the film a lot, we decided then that back to Finland we will take a black dog and name her Karmen. And that we did.
As a baby, she was the cutest thing ever.
Karmen was a perfect dog, everybody liked her, even those who usually don’t like dogs. She was beautiful and calm, always and until the end. She never became one those old dogs who look old and ugly. Sure she got more white hairs, she started to walk more slowly and less, at the end her hearing was very bad and that made her bark very low and shrill… Which was quit annoying, we all agreed with that. But still, she was always perfect.
As she was a herding dog she was always worried about her herd, the family. When she was younger, we used to play all the family together that we scattered in different ways and she needed to gather us together… She did it very well!
When I was talking on phone with my sister the last night before Karmen was taken to the veterinary, I talked to her too, to tell her my goodbyes… And we were remembering all those great years we’ve had together.
As a teenager, when I was sad, she always came to lip my tears, when someone from the family was packing (which happened a lot in our house), she always felt someone is leaving and started to follow us everywhere worrying… But she was used to have a traveling family. She travelled very well in the car, the bus or the train. And when we all were abroad for some reason, she always had a place near the house, with our neighbors who had a Lappish dog too and who took care of her, as she was part of their family as well. We know that Karmens’ passing is difficult for them as well.
And last summer, when I moved back from France to Finland, and was unemployed and lost with my life, she was the one who kept me on my foot and made me to wake up every morning. Those morning-walks with her from July to November, were the best moments I had… Even there were days I was complaining because she was waking as slow as an old lady, and some days just decided to sit in the middle on the street and not to go anywhere…
We all had our places where we were used to go with her, around our neighborhood, and sometimes we just sat on a bench near the lake and watched the landscapes together, or sometimes we ran around the lake, or walked until the city and sat on a terrace for a coffee… She was used to go many places with us, and all our neighbors and friends knew her as part of our family.
As I’m not at home at the moment I will probably realize that emptiness only once I get back there in few months, as those dark lovely eyes will not be welcoming me anymore… Now the very bad side of living far from home, have been faced also.
Who’s gonna clean our ice-cream packages now???
She had a good life. We will miss you Karmen <3.