Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aw, just stuff....

Snickers.  The Family Dog.... even though she showed up right after my wife and I separated, but before we became Ex's.  That ain't no never mind, and it isn't of particular note, but the kids were ten and seven when Cheryl bought her.  Pure bred Bishon.  So we shared custody of two kids.... and a dog.  For almost fifteen years.

Two weeks ago we had to put her down.  She was almost totally blind, had arthritis in her hips, couldn't eat much ...kidneys were failing.  Cheryl called me and said it was time.  Snickers had a seizure, was shaking, convulsing...did not seem to recognize who we were .... where she was...just pain.  So Cheryl and Wonder Girl and I took her on her last ride.  The Girl held her at the end... and wept.  Cheryl cried.  Me too.  I took her collar off and we went back to Cheryl's house.  Pretty quiet, all of us.  She had given us so much, and it was the last favor we could do.  The Kid went to her room to cry... Cheryl and I sat in the kitchen....we talked... she cried a bit... then she went to her freezer and pulled out a small ziplock bag    that had..... a frozen potato dumpling in it....... and then we laughed right on through the tears.

See, the deal was... it was the last dumpling that my Aunt Helen, my father's older sister, had made, something that she was famous for making. Legends are told of those dumplings...seriously... they were that good.

Helen never married, had been a career woman with the phone company, bac when it was called the Bell System.  Forty-two years she worked for them. My sister and I were her main 'kids'... our children were her 'grandchildren'... that was how it was... she would spend days at our house sitting with the kids, and the dog, while Cheryl finished Grad School. Her opinions were open, unguarded and some what officious. Sometimes we became employees instead of relatives, but that is no never mind.  Once a month, at least, we went to her apartment for a dinner of pot roast... and those awesome dumplings.  There is more to say about all that, but it would go on forever and there just isn't much point in that.  She was Helen and Aunt was her title and she wore it as if it were Queen, or President, or Pope.. or whatever.  Aunt Helen.  One word.

She developed Pancreatic Cancer.  The doctor said about six months.  She made it another sixteen.  We took care of her as much as we could.... but she continued to lose weight, got feebler in body... never her mind, but finally I had to get her a room at a hospice where she would be as comfortable as possible.  I was there at least three times a day, more if my schedule would allow... and some days I could get her to eat a little.

On December 28th, 1998... I was at my house with the kids when I had a premonition that I really still cannot describe. It was late and I called Cheryl and asked to come and watch the kids... I was going back to the hospice......

Helen was down to about 80 pounds by then and really couldn't speak anymore.  When I got there I kissed her on the forehead, she woke and mouthed, "Hi, Jim."  I told her Christmas was over... I mentioned who had been up to see her, the memory was slipping away on her.  I told her what the kids were doing, that Cheryl was with them..... and then I told her..... it was ok... to go home...

See, it had dawned on me that she would not die until after the Holiday, that she would not ruin a celebration by dying ... she was that kind of person.  Well, her eyes went wide... she motioned me to get her rosary beads... and she slowly mouthed prayers... and slept,.. and prayed.  I fell asleep in a chair.  They woke me about six am.  She was gone.

Well, I thought of all that two weeks ago, that potato dumpling in the freezer bag on the counter between me and my Ex.  We told a few Snicker stories... and Helen ones.  We got teary and laughed. And teary and laughed.  It is what it is.  Before I left I slipped the dog collar in the bag with the dumpling and put it back in the freezer.

12 comments:

Liberality said...

This is very sad and sweet too. wishing you the best at this sad time.

Sherry Peyton said...

Thank you for such a beautiful story. Our pets bring out the best in us. I talk to our Brandy girl every day, and I feel better. I found her collar when I was packing boxes for NM, and was so happy. Though she has long stopped wearing one, (she always lost them), I saw a piece of her hair attached, and, well, I haven't decided how we will display it, but we will. Your story was extraordinary and I love it. Blessings to you Jim. You are one in a million.

Christopher said...

Please accept my deepest condolences on the passing of Snickers.

Losing a dog is just awful. I've lost two in the last five years and I still can't talk about it or them.

Jim takes comfort in talking about the most recent dog we lost. He even has her picture on his phone.

I can't do that. I deal with such things by compartmentalizing, lots of Lorazepam, and generous ca$h donations to the local dog pound. Some would (and have) called it creative avoidance but this is who I am.

We have a new dog now and with any luck and good vet care, Jake and I will have ten to fifteen years together.

nonnie9999 said...

i would type something that made some sense, but i'm too teary-eyed. your stories hit very close to home and bring back memories i shouldn't think about right before i go to bed, because my nose gets all stuffy when i cry.

snoringdogstudio said...

This post - it hurts to the core. It is so damn difficult to say goodbye to those we love. The pain hardly makes sense. Hang on to the good memories, okjimm.

passthedoucheys.com said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Jim.
This post was just beautiful....thank you for sharing it with us.

Sue said...

so sorry bout your Snickers, as I type thru tears..again..

thanks Jim, beautiful...

Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

Our old girl Nickie the Poodle will be taking that last ride sooner than later we fear. she has diabetes, pancreatic problems and a host of other issues brought on by being diabetic. she has been blind for five years, cuz of the diabetes, but still gets around pretty well..for a 15 year old dawg.

I hope I handle it as well as you just did Jim. Cyber hugs going your way sweet man. ;-(

Leslie Parsley said...

Jesus, Jim. If I were still a drinking woman, I'd be sobbing in my beer right about now. As it is, my keyboard is about to short out. And through it all, I'm chuckling beneath the waterfall.

I lost my best friend of 14 years right before Thanksgiving last year, so I can relate all too well to everyone's pain. I wish I could say that in time it gets better but I'm not sure I would be being completely honest. Lucky has the place of honor filling up the screen on my desktop and I talk to him every day.

What a beautiful/touching/witty way to tie two such lovely creatures and your poignant memories of them together. Hugs.

susan said...

That was a beautiful story and one I wished you'd only made up. Pain and loss are very real though, but without them we'd never understand love and compassion.

okjimm said...

Thanks all... for the kind concern and comments. It was a tough deal... and life goes on.

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