Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Slice of Life: Phoebe's last day

On Tuesdays, the community of Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Join the incredible community by writing a snippet of life, or even join with just a comment or two. Everyone is welcome!

Last night, I drove my mother and her dog to the vet. "I know it's the right decision," she said from the back seat where she held Phoebe. It was. I envy dogs the privilege of being able to end life just before it gets too miserable, and Phoebe had reached that point. 

Phoebe came into our lives just after my father fell down the stairs and sustained a traumatic brain injury that changed all of us. She'd been with us for all fourteen years of my father's struggles, and then some. Maybe part of the challenges she always had to be a good dog--and she had plenty, may she rest in peace--were because she lived through such a long struggle that had nothing to do with her except for being the backdrop of her existence. Throughout Phoebe's life, we lived with constant fear and anxiety. Sometimes those feelings were tidal waves--my father did a lot of falling that involved blood and ambulances and emergency rooms, as well as his regular blood checks that were stressful as well. But most of the time the fear and anxiety were undercurrents that waxed and waned below the surface of our daily lives. 

As we drove home, just the two of us, we talked more about my dad than about the dog."It's so hard to remember all the good things," she said. I know exactly what she means. My father was an amazing dad, and it's hard to push aside the more recent and more painful memories of him. Driving home last night on the dark wet roads, we reminded each other of smilier (I made up that word) times. Of his crazy hat collection, his propensity for learning new things, his books and magazine articles, his generous and thoughtful gifts, his passion for practical jokes and for laughing.

Maybe, in some strange way, without Phoebe, it will be easier for us to access the times we'd rather remember.

My OLW for 2017 is brave. It would have been easier for me to write about an interaction with a student yesterday, but being brave means being vulnerable and writing more about what matters. I have plenty of time and space to write about Noah. Today is about Phoebe and Dad.

All good things,