Sweet Passage: Part One

“…So their work is mostly us, their families. They stay close, pay close attention, watch over us, and are always available to us.”

Book author Jon Katz wrote those words in a post last week about smaller dogs.

I smiled as I read it, and I also cried some as well.

My 14 year old corgi Maddie had just passed away last Monday.

It seemed I’d become Maddie’s purpose over the years after a brief stint as a breeder dog.

And she handled her role with grace, love and compassion always.

I often felt she’d become my own unique caregiver over the last decade as I dealt with the loss of both my parents and husband from Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

She’d calm my constant rage with the cruel disease by simply offering her belly for scratching or even a soft ear that would just listen.

Sometimes it was a just a big, wet button nose to kiss.

Maddie’s whole face wore joy so well, even in her final months.

She radiated happiness in her pet stroller as we’d navigate around the lake in the sunshine.

And Maddie looked even happier as we’d stop at the nearby bakery for free sugary smells and fresh samples.

Yet she was also very content just keeping an eye on me from her cozy dog bed in the kitchen in her final days.

After all, she still saw it as her job till the end.

Those big round eyes were so full of soul, yet often they were mixed with just a little mischief.

No wonder everyone loved Maddie, both man and beast.

The morning after Maddie passed, my Chi pup Rex was blue and refused to eat for the first time.

And my Yorkie Tucker, hid under the bed.

He’s never done that before either.

Yet this week we all seem to be moving on.

I know Maddie’s in a good place. And as I told the rest of the canine clan this morning, “Don’t worry, she’s still watching over us.”

I like to think they agreed as we looked up at the sky while walking out the door into the beautiful day before us.

State of Confusion

I live in a state of confusion.

But a much wiser woman gave me some solid advice earlier this year after my husband passed away.

And her message was simple.

Life would be easier once my financial affairs were in order, and to have fun as life is short.

In hindsight, I’m not sure those 2 conflicting priorities should ever sit in the same sentence.

For months now I’ve been trying to clean up three small small estates. Beside’s my husband’s, there’s one for Mom and another for Dad.

I’ve been wondering if there’s even a dining room table sitting below all those forms and documents anymore.

I do know I haven’t eaten on it since Christmas.

But tonight, I decided to opt for the “hey, life is short” part of the equation.

In Minnesota that means taking advantage of gorgeous days whenever one breezes through. And this afternoon our fall temps rose all the way to 70 degrees.

That is big stuff out here in the snow belt.

We’ve already dipped deep into our annual season of confusion with young gals wearing shorts with their UGG boots and fur trimmed mittens.

And the guys are still going shirtless some days, flexing their tattoos down at the town beach with their thick wool caps pulled tight over their ears.

And their eyes.

Now I had no plans myself for any shorts or shirtless activity but I still drove down to join them after work, parking my own purple parka in the Subaru.

Though I admit I did strip off my morning wool socks so I could wear the flip flops I’d filed in the car trunk, right next to the snow brush and the estate form I’d misplaced.

After our group admired the fall colors and plentiful sunshine, we all bought chocolate ice cream cones to cool off.

And then some steaming hot cocoa to warm ourselves up.

I guess we really are confused out here.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Signs on the path

I encountered conflicting messages on several signs near a stoplight this afternoon.

On my right, the one at the Lutheran church proclaimed: “Be happy, be heathy”.

But on my left sat others, as part of a Halloween display.

The setting was a small grave yard, with tombstone signs advising, “Rest in peace”.

The irony was jarring.

Yet later on a relaxing walk below falling gold leaves, I found a message in the earlier sign paradox.

I know for sure my husband and parents who’ve passed from Alzheimer’s and dementias are now at peace.

And they’d all want me to be happy and healthy, which I am.

But I did keep my walk brief to go home and fill out more paperwork.

As I’m well aware I will be calmer once their three small estates are finally completed.