Monday, March 3, 2014
Faithful Companions and Unconditional Love
Ever since June of last year, I have slept with death in my house. The night my mother died, I felt it slide in under the door like a poisonous mist, creep through the air of sadness that hung palpable, on stealthy panther feet.
Since that time, I can sense when death is about, scratching out with its hoary talons to snatch someone else I love away.
I looked into my mother's eyes the night she died. I told her she was the best mother in the entire world, thanked her for trying to make me into a good person, acknowledged her sacrifices in bringing me into this vale of tears, and told her we would be okay, that she could go.
A few hours later, she did.
My dog, Kruzer (named by an animal shelter and we kept it, not wanting to confuse him) kept vigil in the yellow chair beside her hospital bed the last week of her life. He sat, sentinel, the night she died. And he had to go outside, restlessly roaming the yard after she died, as if he couldn't contain his grief. When the funeral home directors came to pick up her body, he howled as if his heart was breaking and then showed his teeth from the gate, knowing that they were taking her away from us, from the house, from him, for the last time.
Now I am giving him medicine to increase his appetite so he will be more comfortable. I am coaxing him to eat a bite of food. I am racking my brain to come up with ideas of natural remedies so I don't feel so helpless fighting against this.
But I looked into his eyes tonight and saw the same thing I saw in my mother's. That he was already destined for another world, and he looks to me to say, "go," release him from the bonds here.
My husband says I'm wrong, takes very little I think or say or do seriously, and for once I hope he is right. He dismissed my feeling the night my mother died that she was on her way. And he is dismissing me now. I hope he is right this time.
Some may be horrified that I am equating my dog's decline with my mother's demise. I acknowledge this. But my dog is a sentient being. My dog has shown me unflagging, unconditional love. No human has ever done this. My mother came the closest.
It's something in the eyes. The windows of the soul. The soul escapes, even when the windows are closed. For this, I weep.