If not daily, it’s weekly now that death comes near. This week I find out a good friend has a friend who has been brutally murdered. It came completely out of the blue. They don’t know who did it. They don’t know why. Just a life cut short in a seemingly random act of violence. Tonight our neighbors are having a Christmas Party. It’s the first Christmas Party I can remember going to in well over ten years. As the time for the party nears, my mother calls with news. The news these days is pretty much in the same vein. The news this time is that someone I have known my entire has just been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. They will be released from the hospital on Monday to go home and have hospice take care of them from there. Zoe’s weird foot thing is back. It’s swollen. She’s in pain. I’m giving her antibiotics and pain medication. The receptionist at the vet’s office says “I hope Zoe feels better.” All, I can say is “Yeah…. well,…”. She tells me everyone has been an Eeyore today. The weather sucks. People are stressed from the holidays. There’s a woman there picking up dog food for her aging diabetic dog. We commiserate. I say “Well, Zoe’s 12 now. So…” We all know where this ends. There’s no need to complete the sentence.
I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know how to react. The way I see life now is it’s only temporary, for all of us. The denial most of us experience in our youth, is completely gone. I know it’s only a matter of time before we will have to let Zoe go. I don’t want her to suffer. I had to make the decision to euthanize Chloe. I’m dreading the decisions that are coming up. Every morning when I look at Zoe, I take that day as a gift.
We go to the party. It’s at the house of one of Shayna’s best friends. Lots of people here have kids our girls’ ages. They are talking about the last high school years, choosing colleges, the kids driving, all the things we will never have with Shayna. In spite of that, we have a good time catching up with neighbors and enjoying spending time with people we’ve grown close to over the years.
It’s time to get ready for church now. I’ll head upstairs and get Zoe. I’ll probably have to carry her down the stairs to the deck. Her foot is so swollen and painful, she can barely make it down on her own. She still wants to run around. So, we have to keep her in the mud room to keep her still. Hopefully, the antibiotics will work again and we can buy some more time with her.
Time. They tell me it’s an illusion. But, it sure seems real. It’s the one thing here that is in truly limited supply and we have no idea how much of it there is or what it will bring.