The Dangers of Loving A Dog

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  The last three months have been a blur.  Lots of posts have floated around in my head, but nothing has materialized.  I was too busy, too scattered, too sad.

After all, so I thought, who wants to read the posts of someone who’s grieving?

It’s easy for me to fall silent when I’m sad.  My mother knew that about me.  That’s not to say that any time I’m quiet or pensive that I’m necessarily in a painful place.  Being the introverted extrovert that I am, I often need time alone, and sometimes even enjoy being the quiet observer in a group of people.  But when I’m depressed, the words stay in my head.  Alone.  It’s only when they begin to come out on paper, or fall upon someone’s ear, that I begin to heal.

For those of you who only know me from a distance, you may not know that my mother passed away on January 8 of this year.  She fell on December 5, hit her head, and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. My dad called to tell me while I was already en route to their home to pick up my dog, Chester, whom they often keep when I have to go out of town.  That day I happened to be traveling from Fort Worth, where I’d talked to a church group the night before. My dad said that my mom had been by herself while he’d gone to a doctor’s appointment and she lost her balance while leaning over to cover my dog with his blanket.  She adored that dog as though he were a grandchild and she loved it when she and my dad got to keep him for a few days.  Convinced that he was always cold when she was, my mom spent more time covering that dog up than she did feeding him scraps from the table.

And she fed him plenty of scraps.

When we brought my mom home from the hospital, she wasn’t able to do much.  Every day, though, she wanted to get up out of bed, put her robe on and go in the living room and sit in her chair. Every morning she wanted bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee for breakfast.  Until the end, the coffee had to be black and hot, the bacon crisp, the eggs fried sunny side up, and the toast buttered to the edge of the crust.

Every morning Chester sat beside her tray and waited for the bites he knew he would inevitably be fed.

When she thought I wasn’t looking.

If the dog hadn’t been there in the first place, she wouldn’t have leaned over to cover him.  Maybe if she hadn’t leaned over she wouldn’t have fallen. Maybe if she hadn’t fallen, she’d still be here.  All those thoughts have run through my head.

But the truth is, that dog brought her so much joy. And nobody could’ve stopped her from reaching down to cover him up.

Any more than we could ever stop her from feeding him scraps.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa McVey says:

    This is precious, Sal. I’m so proud of you for writing this and I look forward to your “series” as I am confident that it will help you and many, many others.

    I cover Bella up too. And when I do, I always wonder if she’s as cold as I think she is and if it’s a silly thing to do. But, I do it because I love her. I’ll never do it again without thinking of your mom. Thanks for this story.

  2. Monica Harris says:

    Kelvin, I am also an introverted extrovert. I could identify with all you wrote.

  3. Kelvin says:

    I never heard anyone call themselves “Introvert/extrovert”. I love that, because that is exactly who I am. I always have wrestled with this about myself. If you were to ask my students and my co-workers, they would say I am an extrovert, but there are times when I pull into myself. Times when I cannot even begin to take charge and seize the conversation. I am glad that you have given me a term for whom I am. How I loved Betty! What an incredible blessing she was in my life. You captured her so well, but then again other than your father, who knew her better. After dad passed away, I wondered if I shouldn’t have been there spending the night. Grieving is such a hard process. We all know where our parents are and what rewards awaited them, but it is hard for us. It is hard when you realize the people who loved you most in this world are no longer here with us. They are waiting, but when you can’t talk to them each day and hug their necks, it is very different and hard. Bless you during this time.

  4. Through the sharing of our griefs with others, we not only heal ourselves, but help heal the ones we share them with. I appreciate your sharing Sally! It always gives me hope and comfort. Thank you!

  5. Raye Lakey says:

    Sally, I love reading your reflections. This piece of your mind reminds me of Paul’s mom. Paul and I always tried to protect his mom from risks, but a wise couple kindly warned us to let Wanda do things she wanted to do. She would rather die DOING than to be protected just sitting. We are comforted by our sweet memories of times with your precious mother. That makes your reflections so heartwarming to us. Love you, dear friend.

  6. Candra Turpin says:

    Sally, I’m so sorry to hear you have lost your precious mother. May God comfort you in the days ahead as you move forward without her here with you physically, she will FOREVER be in your heart.

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