I was waiting for my stepfather to come home so I could get off dogsitting duty--he's been a little later than usual because Meko's been spending weekdays at the vet--but here's my mother home early instead. She comes up to me and says, very quietly, "Meko had a seizure and died this afternoon. They waited until George went to pick her up to tell him, they wanted to tell him in person. He's taking it really hard, obviously, so I wouldn't say anything about it to him." He's already in their room, quiet. George raised Meko and Sam from puppyhood; they became our stepdogs, as we like to say, when he and my mother got married. Sam's totally the family baby, but Meko--well, sometimes I feel like I cared more about her than anyone (after George, obviously; she was his baby). I always tried to be patient with her because I knew she wouldn't be around forever, and I was the one who took care of her during the day, and always made sure to pet her or call her by name when I passed by, make sure she didn't feel left out. She's about twelve or thirteen years old, and my mother's been gloomily predicting her final days since... fall 2005? We were shocked, as you may recall, when Lucky--a healthy, nine-year-old English cocker--passed before she did. So Meko lived on, diabetic and mostly blind, to bump into furniture and pee lakes at a time and Tell You What if you got in her way. She had a great smile--I was sitting with her on the couch yesterday, she was perched on top of a pile of throw blankets, grinning away while I petted her. A few minutes before, she'd been barking at Shelby to get out of her way. She was actually at the vet this week because she didn't eat one morning after having her insulin, so when we did finally get some food in her, she threw it up. Added to this, all she wanted to eat was the puppies' kibble, so when I picked her up and she bit me--it seemed to hurt her--I thought that maybe it had upset her stomach, given her gas or something. And that's what the vet thought, too. And there's nothing to say that it wasn't, and that she died of something else she didn't even feel coming. I was actually wondering why she was spending all the other days this week at the vet, since she seemed to be fine and it was probably an unnecessary expense, but it meant that I only had to corral three dogs instead of four, so I was okay with it. And then today she doesn't come home at all, and I don't really know how to feel. Or rather, I do, but I feel a lot of different things at once. I'm glad that she's not half-buried under all these illnesses and bodily failings anymore. I'm selfishly relieved for my own sake that we won't have to clean up after her anymore. Of course, I then feel guilty for feeling relieved. I feel sad that I won't ever see her again. I'm sad that she died at the vet's and not at home. I want to cry--I am crying--but I can't quite understand why; my brain doesn't quite understand why I feel things that it's already rationalized away. On the other hand, I'm so incredibly, incredibly relieved that she died at the vet's, in a comfortable cage in the quiet hospital wing--she always shook in the car on the way to the vet's, but Mom said that this morning she didn't shake at all, she seemed happy to go; I wonder if she liked the hospital side, if it was like a vacation for her--and that I wasn't the one who had to find her. Because God knows I've paid my dues on that front.
This is totally off the subject, but I don't want y'all to miss this, so: dvoid_03 sent me a link to a today-only free download of "PageFour, a tabbed word processor and outliner for creative writers. Where other word processors were designed with the business user in mind, PageFour aims to meet the needs of a different class of writer. It’s rich feature set includes Print Templates to make printing your manuscript as easy as possible, as well as Snapshot Copies and fully interactive archiving." Enjoy.