I was up and down all night. Back in bed once again I tried to believe I might get sleepy again. Max began to stir, edging toward the side of the bed. If he hits the floor I have to get up because his bladder won't wait long. I tried to settle him down, whispering to him, petting him, but his timer had kicked on. I peeked at the digital clock and saw the two tines of the four o'clock pitchfork and some illegible-without-my-glasses minutes. I tried ignoring him, until the bed began to quiver with his tense poising at the edge in preparation for the long jump down.
Oh well. I want coffee anyway.
So we are up while Daddy still sleeps, I hope, through the intermittent doggy exclamations. Everybody's had "out" time and we're waiting for the kibble to steep enough to be irresistible to the poodles. G'luck with'at. The lump of liverwurst has outlived its irresistibility and a new lump is called for to ensure pill-swallowing: a chore to be accomplished on the way home from work in twelve hours.
My good friend's dog died yesterday. An open-hearted big red boy, O'R would have been thirteen on Halloween. He spent too long, before he was rescued, all alone in a dark basement with someone coming to feed him once or twice a day. B adopted him seven years ago and his life exploded into fireworks of comfort and daily small joyful events. Walks and new friends everywhere and a blue bandanna around his neck. Days in the shade on the deck and nights (except the thunderstorm nights) of cuddling with his beloved mom. Some dogs are partners; some are babies. Marly was my partner; the poodles are my babies, Heaven help me. Like having toddlers for fourteen years. B's big red boy was of the baby type, goofy and sweet and easily 'whelmed at times. The day they came to visit here, when Marly was still on earth, O'R was so intimidated by Marly's intense interest that he leapt onto the coffee table to get away from her, and stood, all thirty-some inches of him, quivering in trepidation until we removed Marly from the room. B was aghast. It remains a funny and charming memory for me.
I'm not sure how many more pet deaths I can stand. I don't grieve for the animals, I grieve for those of us left behind, looking at the hole in the room, in the front yard, along the canal, romping through the field, where the beloved gleaming body was . . . trying by strength of imagination to make the hole fill again with the strong happy legs and flying tails and ears.
There's always another animal waiting to be brought home, and learned . . . another animal waiting to be loved, like the velveteen rabbit, into realness. That process is sweet and I know the joyful stretching of the heart that it brings. It's the heartbreak at the other end that takes my breath away.
Do You Want to Know When You Will Die?
17 hours ago