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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lessons out of order.


When we retired, we asked Brian, our youngest, to take back Wooly a mix breed Terrier/Malamud he had raised. Our children's pets were still around while our children had grown and left the coop. Our eldest had a dog named Snoozy since he was ten, our daughter a red cat named Red since she was eleven,  and Brian had Wooly for his tenth birthday.

One of the saddest moments for Brian was finding out that Wooly had incurable cancer. Losing her was one of the hardest blow he had ever experienced.

When we moved to Oregon, we had hoped Brian could relieve us of Wooly for a while at least. It was time for us to travel, to readjust to each other, to find a new way of life away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.  Brian was in graduate school at that time, with a house and room mates, and  a yard for his dog. He didn't hesitate at all. We gave him the option of bringing Wooly back to us once we were estabished in our new digs. He chose to keep her with him.

After he graduated and moved to a new job, now with a cat in tow, he kept talking about getting a house so he could get a new dog. He did, get a house, and get a dog.

After Brian's death, we had to decide what to do with his new dog and old cat. We knew his beloved dog would be too much for us. Young and full of energy, she needed not just a yard, but hours of intense workouts, things Brian had provided with pleasure. Fortunately, a young neighbor offered to take Butters in and she trotted off after him with enthusiasm.

Newkie, the long haired cat didn't have any takers among Brian's friends and neighbors. She had been mostly an indoor cat, we knew, and easy to care for. She came home with us after the funeral.

And here she is, examining her new digs, wondering around the property and hardly venturing further than the perimeter of the front yard. In the early morning, she whines to be let out, only to discover that the weather here in Oregon is decidedly different from her Southern California drought. She doesn't understand rain at all, finding refuge under the eves if she feels even one drop. But, she has adjusted to a different environment, that of quiet readings and quiet computer work. She sits right by my chair most days, at times, attempting to see if her paws can make the same pictures come up on the screen. I know she had not dreamed of such life, just as we never envisioned a time without Brian.

We look across the lake regularly, Newkie and I, and we absorb the  unanticipated calms after each storm. But storms do return; rather, storms will gather from afar, from places anticipated and unanticipated, will cut a major swath in our psyche, whether we want that or not, and will continue to do so.

Only we, Newkie and I and Brian and all the people and animals we have loved, we are just temporary witnesses to events we wish we had been smart enough to see coming, or lucky enough to avoid.

17 comments:

Linda said...

It is always so difficult to lose a pet, I empathize, being an animal lover myself.

Maggie May said...

We have had many pets over the years and most of them we really loved. (In fact all of them). Photos bring back happy memories.
Maggie x

#1Nana said...

Everywhere in the past few days have been messages about cancer and death and loss and the uncertainty of life. lThe universe is sending me messages again.

Tom Sightings said...

Nice, evocative post. I think you and Newkie have a future together.

Kitty Cat said...

I am ever so happy that you & Newkie have become such kindred spirits. Newkie is very lucky to have you to love her. :)

Kerry said...

What a thoughtful gorgeous post. How can we ever know what is around the corner? You and Newkie share the same lifeboat, under circumstances that were unimaginable.

The Broad said...

It is astonishing how in our hours of greatest need, comfort does seek us out in unimaginable ways.

Helen said...

You write beautifully of all things big and small ~~~

Munir said...

It is hard to see what is coming. If only we knew things ahead of time we could plan so much. Even the best planners some times have it very hard.

Vagabonde said...

Newkie sounds like a nice natured cat and must bring you much love. We have two cats. I showed some cats video to the youngest one, Mitsuko, and now when I go on the computer I have to close the door because, if not, she jumps on my lap and wants to watch videos. You can go on YouTube and write “videos for cats to watch” – there are several good ones.

the walking man said...

One lesson you still teach, teacher, is the necessity of being able to take in the horrors of life, stay sane, and adapt. I'd wish you to have none but gentle storms from this point forward but I think we both know, we still have to be flexible enough to adapt to reality.

yaya said...

Your post made me want to reach out and give you a big hug. Life's lessons can sure knock the wind out of our sails but that's not anything you don't already know. Newkie is a sweet cat and lucky to have you to love her. We're going to try and get to Oregon in August and I hope the storms are kind by then!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"rather, storms will gather from afar, from places anticipated and unanticipated,"

So very true. Deeply sorry for the loss of your son. I can't imagine and think it continues to be a great trial. Pretty kitty cat. Hopefully she and you will be very happy together.

Retired English Teacher said...

Tears. This is beautiful. Neither of you envisioned the life you have, but you have each other for comfort. We do take comfort in these small wonders.

Velva said...

Life proves everyday it is a series of "gives" and 'takes'. My heart swells for you everytime you mention losing your- I now the feeling is impossible to describe for a parent.

Your writing is inspiring. I always learn something about life through you.

Take care.

Velva

Friko said...

We derive comfort from unexpected places. Perhaps having Brian’s beloved cat keeps a small part of Brian around for you to cuddle.

dianefaith said...

This post wraps around me. No words.