On the Other Hand . . .

Last weekend I played piano at the funeral of a 44-year-old man who died suddenly of the flu. Apparently it was the Swine Flu. His mother, Johanna, sings in our church choir. It would be bad enough to lose one son, but this was the third son who had died. Her husband also passed away a few years ago. She does have three daughters and some grandchildren left, but she lives alone. I can’t even imagine how anyone can bear so many losses. At least we who have never had children will not have to deal with losing them. That is a blessing of sorts.

Most people who don’t have children band together with friends or family to be their companions and their support. Johanna is doing this. But her pain is immense. Let’s remember her in our prayers.

Sadie’s gone

This has to be short or I’ll start crying. We had to put our dog to sleep yesterday. Sadie’s cancer came out of remission and had reached the point where she was fighting to breathe. It was time to end the suffering. The actual dying was easy, thanks to a kind vet with wonderful shots that gave her her first restful sleep in months. It’s a cliche, but she looked so peaceful. The hard part is facing the empty house. I keep thinking I hear her, that I will see her around the corner, that I need to open the door for her. Last night as I started gathering her food, her pills, and her blankets, I realized this has to be what it’s like when you lose a child, your only child. Suddenly you don’t need all these things, and the center of your existence is gone. Are you still a mother anyway? Am I still a dog mom?
Now all I have to hug is a stuffed bear and a husband who can’t stop crying. It’s time to share my mothering energy with him. While Sadie was sick, I’m afraid I put her first every time, just as I’m sure I would have done with a child.
We will get another dog eventually, but she–or he–won’t be Sadie.