My mother looked at me today
With sleep-blurred eyes and hair askew
Still in her nightgown at 11:30 a.m.
And waiting for someone to come turn off that awful movie on Turner Classic Movies with that one singer who just can’t act
Because she couldn’t reach the remote (my Mom, not the singer)
And didn’t care enough to leverage herself up off the couch to grab it
And she looked at me
After I silenced the offending singer/actress who couldn’t act
And she said,
And I said, “Of course, you should. You should be grieving. It’s right.”
But she didn’t seem impressed. She was still just stuck on the word.
“That’s what this is. This is grief.”
And she paused and pondered, sure she had discovered at least one of the answers to the mystery of life, at the ripe old age of 87.
Because her dog died on Saturday.
Or rather, I took him to the vet and had him put down because he was 16 and his kidneys were failing and he was not eating but drinking his water bowl dry every few hours and was frantic to go out and frantic to come back in, except when he would stare at the side of the house for minutes at a time as if he’d forgotten what he went out there to do.
And my mother can’t drive – she can barely walk with that knee of hers, so I took him, and I held him while he shook violently and whimpered in the waiting room and I kissed his head and told him he was a good boy and silently thanked him for being my mother’s companion these 14 years and who knows where he was before that and she rescued him.
So it was time.
But it was still hard.
And it was peaceful and I got to see him go, but she didn’t.
She only got to say goodbye as I took him out the front door, and now she says she keeps expecting him to walk back in.
She keeps saving that last bite of sandwich for him, that last lick of ice-cream. And then he’s not there.
And she has been sad since Saturday but today, Wednesday, she realized it, although I don’t know if she knows it’s Wednesday or even how long it’s been since he left.
And I hugged her and said I understood how it feels to miss someone and grieve.
Because I miss my Mom.