I met a dog named Maggie last weekend. I was unloading groceries from the car, turned around, and she was at my feet – no collar, just there in my driveway, looking up at me with eyes that said, “Hello, human. Will you help me?”
She was a sweet black lab like my recently departed Nina; my heart melted. “I’m in a rush,” I tried to explain. “I am already late.” She plopped down at my feet and rolled over – showing submission but also showing that sweet lab-ness, and not caring a lick about my plans.
“Ok, fine,” I told her, rubbing her ears. I took her out back, left some water, threw together a sign that said, “Found: Black Lab with no collar” with my cell phone and the words CALL ME in huge letters, posted it at the curb and ran off to my appointment.
When I got home, I let her in, and she bounded around the house as if it were hers. I sat on the floor and she nuzzled and played. When her owner came to get her, I learned her name. I learned that she had dashed off the minute her collar was removed in preparation for bath time, just as my old girl would have done.
Maggie and I hugged goodbye. It was great to connect, even for just a little bit, with the joyful feeling of being mom to a dog.
I met a woman named Sue last weekend. I had placed an ad on Craigslist, selling my mom’s walker, and she called and asked if she could come get it – no questions, no haggling, just “Can I come by in an hour?”
We started selling some of Mom’s stuff even before she passed – her spare freezer, some other household things. But photographing and posting the walker was different. It somehow made it more real that she is really gone, that she won’t need that walker any more, that I will never see her again.
Sue showed up on her way to docent training at Tohono Chul Park, a lovely oasis in the lovely Sonoran Desert. A woman about my age, with shoulder-length grey hair, she told me that her mom has used a walker for ten years, and that hers had simply given out. I told her that Rose had only begun using the walker 6 months ago, and now…
After meeting for only a few moments, Sue and I hugged goodbye. It was great to connect, even for just a bit, with someone who reminded me of the joy – and the hard work – of being a daughter caring for an aging mother.
Last weekend I met a group of warehousemen who were mortified that the deeply discounted sofa I’d bought was damaged. They offered to repair it and deliver it to my home for free. “We know it was as is when you bought it, but you couldn’t have seen that the arm was so badly damaged inside. We’re so sorry. We’ll do whatever you want us to do.”
I also reconnected last weekend with Andy the Egg Man at the Farmer’s Market, who talked with true affection about one of his hens, who follows him around as if she were a dog, who loves to be held, and who laid an egg 3 times the size of any chicken egg I’ve ever seen (I saw it with my own eyes!). He is thinking of naming her Suzie Q.
At our core, we humans need to connect as much as we need to eat and breathe.
This week, that connection is all there is in my life, as people are gathering from across the continent to be together, and to honor and celebrate and remember my mom. We will tell stories. We will laugh, and we will cry, and we will eat. And we will laugh some more.
We will hug hello and goodbye and many times in between. And it will be great to connect, just for a bit, to remind us of the joy we can find in each other that we simply cannot find on our own.