That is the tree underneath which Dolly and Buster are buried.
Today was the day.
The vet came out and we laid the dogs up on the table and he gave them their shots and I held my hands on them until they quit breathing and that was all. I told them they were good dogs, I kissed them, I told them to go on now. And they did. They were born together, they died together, right there, together. As peacefully and easily as the first sleep they took at their little mama's titties after they were born. And I was there for that moment, too.
I cut Buster's sleeping blanket up into two shrouds and wrapped them in tidy bundles and Mr. Moon dug their grave under that tree and there they lay.
Of course I cried. Of course I did. What sort of a person wouldn't? And the vet was so sweet and he kept saying, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," and I kept saying, "No. It's okay. Thank-you."
And he said, "Not that it matters but I think you all made the right choice."
"It matters," I said. "Thank-you."
And then I had to rush on out of here to go to Kathleen's.
She has decided that she is through getting treatment. Done with that part of her life with cancer. And she asked hospice to come today to meet with her and her husband and some of the ladies who will be helping. Carolyn, Pat, Marcy, Jan. All of us whom I know from the Opera House, which is, in fact, where I met Kathleen.
I got to the meeting late and Kathleen was on the bed, regal and funny and sure and lovely. All of us ladies sat around the bed and her husband was there too. The nurse asked the questions, answered questions, did her little exam, we all chatted and some of us (mostly Kathleen) cracked jokes and Kathleen signed the papers and thus, this dance has begun.
Bless hospice. Bless them. Bless them. Bless them.
They will probably send someone out this very evening to do a "tuck-in." They are on-call every moment of the day and night. They will handle all of her medical needs and probably a lot of other kinds of needs too.
And we ladies, ah, we shall bring food- and all Kathleen wants, as far as we could pin her down, is yogurt and fresh fruit. And oh- maybe some pinto beans and cornbread? I think we should cook Bug food as well. And we will. And perhaps we can help with a little laundry, a little tidying (although Bug appears to be an incredibly tidy man), maybe even a little napping with Kathleen. Her bed is very large and comfy. Whatever. Whatever needs to be done.
You can read what Kathleen had to say this morning HERE.
All of her life, Kathleen has been the one to do for others. No matter what was needed, there she was. When I was in the midst of my most horrible anxiety, she would come over and sit on the porch with me, telling me stories that I didn't even need to follow, just talking as if I were normal, and then she coaxed me to her house to make soap and then she brought me chickens and...
And I can't even imagine what all she's done for others. It's not like she really talks about it. But. Now it is time for her to do us the favor of letting us help her.
When the hospice nurse asked her today what it was she mostly wanted, Kathleen said, "Peace."
I hope we can help her with that. But I also hope we can make her laugh. I know she'll make us laugh.
That is not in doubt.
It's been a day. And now I'm washing rugs and pillows, throwing stinky things away. I gave the last of the dog food (not much) to the chickens. I am going to soak a pot of pinto beans tonight.
And it's odd- as sad as some things have been today, there has been relief and there has been release. There has been acceptance and there has been laughter. There have been I-love-you's and kisses.
Here we are. Let's wring all the goodness and joy out of that we can, okay?
Let's not be afraid to cry and for god's sake- let's not be afraid to laugh.
Let's not be afraid to ask for help, let's not be afraid to offer it.
Let's not be afraid.