Saturday, December 30, 2017

I am not my father

I am not an anxious person.

I am, normally, one of the calmest people you'll ever meet.

I used to be much more like my father. Virgil worried and fretted and was anxious all the time.

Early in our marriage, Bern would say to me, "don't be like Virgil".

I'd be worried or fretting or anxious and she'd say that.

She hasn't said that to me in years.

I am calm and 'present'.

But our so old Puli is making me like Virgil.

We just took him our to pee, Bern and I. It takes us both and a flashlight for the last pee of the night. Never mind that he sometimes pees and even poops in the house, something he's never done before.

Steps are a problem for Bela. And our house is full of steps. Four steps off the front porch. Seven steps off the deck. Thirteen steps up the front and back--though the back steps have a turn nine steps up.

So we 'help' him on the steps, coming up. Sometimes Bern uses a vest with hand holds to help him down the steps. Down is easier than up, but not much.

He eats and poops and pees fine, once we get him down the steps.

But he's always hungry, making our eating a nightmare, throwing him bread with hemp drops on it while he snaps at our hands whenever we move.

And when one of us is cooking, he's there snapping and waiting for what will never come.

And he won't leave my side, most of the time, almost tripping me a dozen times a day.

And he has turned me into Virgil.

I fret and worry about him always.

I'm anxious for him, always.

Mostly it is my grief about him that does all that.

He isn't the dog he was for 13 years.

He is anxious and frightened where he was always alert and aggressive.

His personality has changed.

And I grieve for the dog he's always been. And I'm anxious and worried about him.

My greatest fear is he will hurt himself and be 'put down' in pain.

Bern thinks he'll die in his sleep.

She is optimistic and hopeful.

I fret and worry and become Virgil.

We love Bela so. 13 years is a lot of life to share. His senility and disability jars us so--but in such different ways.

Bern is hopeful. I fret.

So it goes.

And he goes on. Loved beyond knowing and so limited.

I miss him and love him and fret for him all at once.

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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.