26 June 2008

Timmy seems to be failing again. He just paces or sleeps and never seems happy. It is an existence that I wish on no one. Sometimes I grab him and try to steady him and hold on to him and this may or may not settle him down when he seems agitated. He reminds me so much of the elderly people me and Gustavo visit in the nursing home. Some of them seem ok with just existing, and others seem really not ok and not happy to still be in their bodies in this world and they're ready to be done.

But we make them wait it out. Keep them clean and fed and as comfortable as is realistic. Could you imagine, just having to pick out a day and time and decide that's the day when your life needs to be done with? Like scheduling a tooth cleaning. Because it's not getting any better and really only going to get worse. I don't know if is this a burden or a privilege that we can do it with our animals. I haven't picked out a day yet. It doesn't quite seem to be right.

I think about this old man we visit, who can still sit up in his wheelchair, and who tries to talk sometimes, but just breath comes out his mouth and tears always run down his cheeks. His skin has all these lesions. He can just move a hand enough to run it across the dog's fur.

I know one of these days we'll go to the nursing home and he won't be there any more, but so far, he is. Just sitting there. He has had enough breath to whisper me his name and that he loves dogs. Someone managed to get a clean shirt on him, and all day he sits there in his checkered shirt, waiting.


Anonymous said...

That old man in the nursing home, I wonder what he would say if you asked him if his life was worth living.
During the last year of my mother's life she was very confused but seemed to know just enough to know that she no longer wanted to live.
I wish out dogs could tell us what they want.

Elf said...

The choices are very personal and very hard. Wish I had something more helpful to say.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is this: I didn't know how I would know when the time came, but when it did the way I knew was that nothing I could do brought comfort to my dog, who was uncomfortable enough to beg me to help, and that's after a lifetime of keeping any complaints she might have had to herself. That's how I knew.

The old man...you are such a good writer. Thanks, and if I am ever in his situation I hope someone brings me a dog to stroke too.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think how silly (or worse) it is that I love dogs. Sometimes, people even tell me the same. I need to borrow Donna Haraway's book from you so I can tell them why they are wrong, scientifically. Meanwhile, I'll take heart from that (yes, beautifully written)sentence of yours, and wait out my own life, however long or short, whispering my name and acknowledging that I am a human being sustained by my love of dogs.

Urban Smoothie Read said...

i think we humans shld have every right to make decision for ourselves...no one can stop us, if we decided to go on..

but if dogs could just do the same...

i might be even too selfish to let go