In a Former Life

Woof, Woof

oh happy dog…

There’s no doubt about it. Woof. I would have been a dog. I will be a dog again. Not only do I like attention but I like giving attention and making humans happy. I’m very loyal and I DON’T have attitude ( like those cats do.) Nope, dogs love people to pieces, we will follow you, lick you, give you kisses and stare at you for food. Just one thing, do not ever betray us. Do not ever hit us, or be mean to us…we don’t like that and it is not in the Dog Code Of Honor. We like those in the “Dog Lover’s Unite” program. I would like to come back as a happy dog with a loving, indulgent family preferably with kids. I want them to get me as a puppy, if possible, and I want to grow up with them and I want them to grow up with me. I will protect them, love them and keep them in my heart forever. That’s what dogs do, it’s what we love to do. Really.

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Move Over ESL, Cranky Is My New Language

A housecat named Princess who highly disliked ...

Image via Wikipedia

It was one of THOSE days. You know the kind, when nothing goes right, annoying things happen and no matter what you try, it doesn’t help.  Made a decision, did you? Guess what, it was the wrong one. It was the day of Cranky. I spoke Cranky, I lived and ate and breathed Cranky. If I had a cat, her name would be Cranky.  I felt irritable with life’s problematic surprises and unexpected twists and I felt very out of control.

My children doused the only piece of furniture that I love, my green couch, with water guns. No, my children are not 4 and 6 years old, they are 16 and 18.  Need I say more? The couch, that I picked out, and the multi-colored  square rug beneath it have always made me happy. Why? Because it was the first thing that I bought with great strength of style and character; I was so sure about it and didn’t waver; to me, it was my own tiny corner of the Museum of Modern Art, at home.

Later that day we drove to a restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday. He got lost again and again. Nor did he have the directions with him, he didn’t NEED that, we had been there twice before, silly me!! When I suggested the GPS, he scoffed. He also made an illegal red turn with the (driving) teenagers in the back seat of the car. I was fuming. Dude, what the HELL were you thinking? You’re supposed to be the role model here. At that moment, fuming and cranky became first cousins.

Once seated in the restaurant our daughter, a vegetarian, asked for the chef’s special vegetable plate and we all knew she wouldn’t touch it. She played with her food and moved vegetables around that included: cooked kale and spinach, and fennel and she ate about two bites for 21 dollars. Before she ordered we suggested she order A SALAD  or pasta but she refused. She knew better and at practically 17 anything we suggest is useless. I even said she might want to tell the waitress the vegetables that she DID like but apparently my idea was stupid. Of course it was.

My husband and son shared a steak the size of a lobster pot, it was so large and bloody, it was hard to even take a glance at it.  I decided to have three appetizers: a buttery bibb lettuce salad with a light yogurt dressing  which was lovely, an appetizer of braised ribs ravioli, sweet and soft, the texture of the braised meat contrasting the delicate ravioli casing.  The red velvet cake I chose for dessert was extremely disappointing and tasteless. For those of you who know me, a dessert I don’t like is equal to a symphony of crankiness.

The heel of my left foot throbbed horribly with pain when I walked, the jabbing pain even woke me up in the middle of the night. Not being able to walk comfortably is crankiness personified. I have iced it, wrapped it, rubbed it and have tried at least ten different shoe and old, peeling orthotic combinations, nothing helps.  I’ve had this before and once it starts it takes a long, long time to go away. It’s a stubborn, stupid, painful, cranky, old ailment for cranky, old, me. It’s not enough that I don’t have energy? Now, I can’t even walk comfortably.

I’m tired as hell and just want to lie on the bed, since every bone and joint in my body is not just aching with pain but screaming with it. There are no medications to heal it, or relieve it, it’s something I have to live with every single day and night of my life. I am trying to stay awake and of course I fall asleep, the lights on, the computer on my stomach. I wake up two hours later, annoyed with myself.

The day and night have not gone well and I was glad it was almost over. I couldn’t sleep after my unexpected two hour nap so my night and day hours were confused. I glanced over at my dog who was sleeping happily at the foot of my bed and I watched her breathe and smile in her sleep.  I look at her with love and feel love. My dog is the anti-cranky.

Permission

I am a newborn foal, a furry white rabbit with pink eyes, an adorable black, white and tan 6 week old puppy curled inside a warm hand; a 19-year-old dying cat. I am someone’s life-long companion and friend; I give unconditional love. I have meant more to some people than most friends. I am a pet.

The 19-year-old cat was laid to rest a few days ago. She was a well-loved cat who slept with her owner and gave her happiness every day, all the time and especially when times were tough. They were each others comfort. When the cat lay dying, her mother/owner gave her one last precious gift. She ended the long journey with pain and put her out of the miserable, uncomfortable life she had known for many years. It was probably the hardest thing she has had to do in a very long time but she did it for me and I know how hard that must have been. Letting go of someone or something you love is never easy. Never.

I know; I speak from experience. Letting someone go is sometimes the truest test of love.  I gave that permission to my dad when he lay dying in the hospital and was just clinging on by a very weak thread so delicate it was almost like a fiber. I talked to his nurse and told him to give my dad a secret message that included it was “okay to let go” and that “we would all take care of each other,” my mom, my sister and I. He died 20 minutes later. Do I believe he heard the message and felt it? I do; I have to.

The pain of life is like a current that runs through all of us. Sometimes the current is low, sometimes it’s very high. We need people, friends, family, pets, something to believe in to help us get through the challenges and the losses we face in life. Life changes so fast it’s hard to keep up, but we have no choice but to try;  it’s hard to do it all alone.  No matter who we choose to love, no matter what. Sometimes, we all need a little help and mostly, not always, it is ours for the asking; and it is ours for the taking.

We are buoyed by our loved ones when life is down, and when life is up, we sing together in joyful harmony. Life, though, is not just about the good times, really, it’s about how we cope, who we lean on and who we love. It is about joy and sorrow.  It is knowing when to love and knowing when to let go. It is hard and painful and exuberant and joyful, every day there is some surprise.  Just try to “ride the waves” a friend once told me, up and down and never, let go, until you have to and you will know,deep inside, when the time is right.

For my friend: Michal.  In Memory of Dusty.