End of story

I had an amazing 2-day conference at the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center near Asheville, part of which was preparation for the My Hope event later this year. More on the conference and time in a most tranquil place later. On my way home my cell phone rang. I did not recognize the number but the area code was local so I answered. It was my vet. My vocal cords refused to respond. My dogs are boarding there and hearing from the vet while you are away, not to mention on a Sunday morning, is never a good thing. The first thing he said was it was not an emergency, so I stopped holding my breath. My little special needs baby, Murphy, is 12. He has been having gall bladder issues, phosphorous/protein/kidney issues, dental issues… anyway, his bloodwork to prep him for a dental cleaning came back and it was not good. He had gotten some better recently but it’s taken a turn. Anyway, we will be changing his meds and hope it extends his quality of life.

We know when we adopt these precious ones the likely outcome– our lives outlive theirs. Very few but some pets make it to 15 or even beyond, but those unlucky ones who do not often are afflicted with something untoward. A cancer, or a kidney disease, spine issues, liver or heart problems. They are no different in this way from us humans. Things happen to them. The responsibility we assume when we adopt adorable little puff balls is staggering but we do not know just how much so at that time. This tiny, wriggling bit of fluff so happy with us? What could possibly happen to so much love, so much life?? A lot can happen. No matter how carefully we tend their little diets, vaccination and medical needs things happen. Even though we know nothing lasts forever we are never prepared when the “Time” comes. We age with them, we know every aspect of their health care and yet we are not nature’s miracle. We cannot give them more life. Some medicines might, or stepped-up care, but face it, They will simply not stay with us forever. So I am trying hard not to think about the end, more I am going backwards, remembering Murphy’s puppyhood, his little joys, chasing after bouncy balls, his attentive prancing dance when he greets me at the door.

And I try hard not to cry.


This isn’t something I suffer from much, not anymore anyway. I used to, when my son was young and I was a single mom. At one point I realized I needed to find part-time morning work so I could be home afternoons. Even being present sometimes isn’t enough. You always have the dynamic of the other family- the divorced parent and their relatives -lurking in the wings. That was difficult for me. They had lots of money and never hesitated to overindulge my son at their every whim. No wonder he sometimes preferred them to me and the spartan existence at home. This kept me up nights. Angry and feeling helpless. Besides, I made demands on him, chores like cleaning his room, changing his own sheets, cleaning his bathroom. Every Saturday he had to do these things before any TV, playing, or going to a friend’s house. And I was the only one! No back up. So one day, long after he finished college and had left home for his own life out of nowhere he calls me to say he is grateful I taught him to clean a toilet. I really have no idea why or what prompted this gratitude, but I took it at face value, so thankful that something, however small, paid off and helped him, even in some significant way.

So now if I have insomnia I have a little notebook I write in. Sometimes I just make a list, stream of consciousness, until all the anxiety goes away. Sometimes I write a letter to God. Sometimes I write things I am grateful for. Whatever, it seems to empty the cup that holds the fears or hangovers from the past, and fills it with peace.