Roman generals had a slave telling them “memento mori” or remember you are mortal when they were given a triumph through the streets of Rome after victory. It was a reminder to not lose perspective as the entire city and country celebrated them. Men are easily corrupted by the grandeur and lose sight of reality.
Nobody is a god.
I love Roman history. It was my favorite subject in college and if I ever had the chance I would spend years studying this incredible period of history. The gamesmanship, the military tactics, the political theories, and even the beautiful oratory all speak to me as a history major. I would study Julius Caesar, Augustus, Claudius, and so many others. I would analyze why Caligula and Nero led such callous regimes.
Over the past 7 months, I feel like that Roman general. Over the past week, I feel the whispering of memento mori getting louder and louder.
As I started to create Performative Speaking and people began to say good things, I wrote about how my dog Roxie was dying. She wasn’t there yet but I could see it coming.
I could hear that slave saying, remember you are mortal.
As good thing after good thing happened in my career and my life, I watched her health decline. 15 years old and it showed.
No more stairs. No more happy dance.
Many more pain pills.
I wasn’t sure she would make it to Christmas. I was worried that she would need to go right around that time and the memory would stick with me forever.
She hung on. Because she’s the best.
Roxie came to me when I first started law school. At a time in my life when I needed her most she appeared.
Like the sword of Gryffindor for Harry in the Chamber of Secrets or Neville in the Deathly Hallows, she appeared.
I needed that companionship because I was lonely.
I needed that responsibility because I was foolish.
I needed that friend because I was lost.
For the last 10 years of my life, I’ve navigated alone. My vision and my path.
Roxie has been there from the start. She’s seen it all. The highs and the lows. She’s heard more speeches, closing arguments, and now zoom calls than any dog deserves.
Yesterday as I announced the On Deck Performative Speaking fellowship, I had to pick her up 5 different times.
As all my adrenaline surged at a successful announcement and as all the good wishes came in, I was picking her up so she could move.
As I celebrated this new phase of my life with the acquisition of Performative Speaking by On Deck, I also dreaded what was on the horizon.
I celebrated the official announcement on December 30 with Roxie. I told her “we did it”.
Because this success isn’t just me. This is every bit hers too.
I squeezed her face, put my head on top of hers, and whispered to her, “we did it.”
Last week I had to call my parents and tell them that I don’t think she has much longer. Maybe two weeks.
Her hips sag. Her left leg drags. Her head hangs.
I don’t want her to suffer.
I don’t want her to go.
My mom came up today to say goodbye.
I don’t know when that day will be but I know it will be very soon.
The slave in my triumph is yelling in my ear “Memento Mori”.
I just keep responding.
Roxie, we did it.
Reach me at Robbie@beondeck.com