A Crack in the Heart

For some time now, Jenny has been on the decline.  She refuses her food more often and sometimes throws up.  She sleeps longer and deeper.  She is losing her sight and her hearing.  She gets diarrhea and has nocturnal accidents.  When she’s awake, she barks at everyone and everything invading her space.  Lately, she’s been limping.

Worried that her pancreatitis and kidney failure are worsening, I called Dr. Black who made a house call. She found that Jenny now weighs only 8.9 lbs (a loss of over a pound since her last visit}.  And her kidney blood levels are rising.

Remembering losses of other furry companions, and wanting time to prepare myself, I asked Dr. Black if Jenny was nearing the end of her illnesses.  I was stunned to learn that I probably have only about six more months to enjoy her company.

Funny, how the revelation I will soon lose my best friend changes my experience of her.  Now I live in the moment, holding her, stroking her, enjoying our closeness

Tonight, as the long day fades into night, I watch TV from my bed as Jenny lays her head on my lap and sleeps.  I gently stroke her back, letting her warmth soak into the mattress and my heart..

“Heart Gifts”

That’s what Karen calls them.  All the things she gives.  All the things she does.  I’m overwhelmed with all the love.  Don’t know how to handle it.

Karen arrived Tuesday with burgers from my favorite restaurant, Taylor’s.  The best burgers in town from a restaurant my husband and I frequented when we dated over 70 years ago.  She also brought vegetables from her neighbor’s garden.

Since Karen arrived, she’s made macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, guacamole, and cucumber salad.  She bagged much of the food for the freezer to use later.  She wants to know what else I’d like her to make.

She thoroughly cleaned my kitchen, including the floor.

She sees problems and solves them, went out and bought a small doggie bed and a shower curtain liner to protect me and the bed from Jenny’s nocturnal incontinence.

She bought a pole and humming bird feeder and another hanging feeder because she knows I love to watch birds, especially humming birds.   She put the pole in the ground, made the sugar water and hung the feeder.

She did laundry.

She brought me a lovely summer bouquet.

Karen won’t listen to my protests.  “I can do this while we visit,”” she says.

Late evening we sit on the deck watching day fade into night, breathing the sweet humid air and listening to the birds calling to one another through the dark trees. This is Karen’s favorite time of day.  Mine too.

It isn’t like she doesn’t need a rest.  Back in Arizona, she works 12 hour shifts as a doctor in an emergency room.

Karen is a beautiful, compassionate soul who  cares about humans and animals alike. She gives of her whole self.  I love her with all my heart.