Saturday, July 25, 2015

Waiting, while trying not to....

Our dog and cat are getting old. Luke, the cat is already old--he's 14 or more, probably more (but I have this confusion about linear time...) and he throws up a couple of times a week and sometimes goes to the bathroom (poops mostly) in places outside his litter box. Plus, he drinks lots and lots and lots of water, which probably means his kidneys are in trouble. And I clean his litter box daily and their is so much pee (from all the water). However, he looks like a much younger cat and moves with grace and speed. So, who knows.

Bela, our dog, is 11. He weighs about 50 pounds, which means he's not a big dog, by any means, and smaller dogs live longer. He has some arthritis and his legs shake from time to time and he sometimes has trouble getting up if he's laying down. But he too seems younger most of the time and barks as much as he always has and is frisky.

Thing is, I worry about them, knowing (hoping) we'll outlive them. No one would take them if we died first--that's the worrying thing--because Bela is a bad dog and Luke is a pain. But beyond that, I worry especially about Bela because my wife, Bern, loves him more than she loved the other 30 or so pets we've shared combined. She loves him so much it frightens me. I'm more an 'animal person' than she is but her devotion to Bela is so overwhelming that I feel stress walking him because if I was the cause of him being hit by a car or something, I'm not sure Bern could forgive me.

It's just odd, worrying about creatures. My fiend John told us tonight that a person he worked with years ago (John is a psychologist) told him recently when they ran into each other that he knew he's been a better therapist (John's former client is a psychologist too) for having worked with John--though he didn't realize it at the time. Here's what he said to John: "when someone loves you, they teach you how to love."

I can't think of a more endearing and wondrous thing to be told. John's voice broke when he told us.

That''s the thing about animals, I think. They love you so unconditionally, so purely, so cleanly, that they teach you how to love.

Luke and Bela have been with us for over a decade and they have taught us a lot about love. But, old as I am, I know cat years and dog years are different from my years.

I try not to think about it, how we will lose them as some point to death. But sometimes I can't help myself. I think about life without them and sigh.

They have taught me a lot about loving. They truly have.

You don't like to imagine losing such a gift.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.