Friday, December 5, 2008

157: Faith / Fate

We fully intended to go to Michigan for Thanksgiving. It was so important to me, especially since my grandfather passed away a year ago yesterday, and I wanted to stay close, to smother that grandma of mine in love for her strength in this sadness, but also because she's been one of the strongest female role models in my life, and she needs to know that, again and again.

But puttering in line at the ATM, my father leaning half out the window, smoke began to seep into Ryan's car, and it turned out, the clutch had burned out. I decided to stay behind in Green Bay, home of his parents and mine, while we hoped to fix it before we left on Sunday (which did not happen; it's been repaired in Green Bay and we have his mother's car). My father went on to Michigan, and I chose to remain behind with my husband.

And every day we went to my parents' house, where my mother had stayed back, taking care of the dogs and nursing a seriously gone-awry dental surgery. We brought over plates of food and took Madison and Lanie on walks around the neighborhood--Ryan taking Lanie, so he could run on ahead and back; me taking Madison, who was unpredictable and hobbling. Every day we went over, and we knew we were saying good-bye because she wasn't eating much more than hamburgers torn into pieces and the digestion was strange and painful. My father, who was away, vowed he would wait until she didn't seem happy to go on walks, until she wouldn't get up at all. Now she can't make it around the neighborhood, not a week later, sliding on the ice, her arthritis at its peak, and the quality of life has faded.

(But we'll always remember the day my father took her on a walk--what was it, last year?, when she was still limping but not so riddled with what is probably cancer--and she caught a rabbit and ate it whole--so impressive for an overly domesticated dog with serious arthritic issues.)

I suppose this is me thanking whomever it is that controls fate to have left us with a burned out clutch. I was able to have those last four walks with Madison around the neighborhood--in years, there will be houses built in the empty spaces, but for now, I'll be able to remember moving along the snowy grass, following the lead of a limping dog.

See you on the next side, Maddie.


Angie said...

My eyes are welling up.

I have been lucky enough to have never been around a dying or dead person/friend/animal/family member. I don't look forward to that day.

Leslie said...

Sweet memories and a sweet dog, too!

michelle said...

that was a beautiful post. losing a pet is incredibly hard.

sorry for your loss but i am glad you had those last few days with her.

lizardek said...

Never never never easy. HUGS. :(

EWH said...

I cried for days and days when we had to put our family dog down five years ago. They are family and it is just as hard to see them move on.

I believe in pet heaven, so I'm sure she is enjoying herself there (maybe taking long hikes with your Grandpa :-)).

KeLL said...

I cried when I read your post. I cried for the dogs you have lost. I cried for the beloved dogs I have lost. (I still cry when I see certain items that were Pumpkin's).
I dread the day Logger passes on. And I dread the day my dad's wonderful dog, Ali, passes on.
Losing a pet is like losing a family member.
Hang in there. And hold your own two puppies close.

Molly said...

Thanks everyone! We always want to keep those we love around us forever, but it's so good to know that we had this time in our lives with them. Madison and Maggie (our first golden retriever) are probably indeed taking long, meanders with my grandfather and laughing with Yvonne. xo