Friday, October 3, 2008
Tanya Writes About Mourning Marley
I came down with a viral respiratory infection on Monday and keep saying I'm sick as a dog.
But it isn't true. I'm not as sick as my Marl was. She had to die.
I'm approaching the second month without her. Often when I come downstairs in the morning, I say Hi Marl, like I did for ten years. I just expect her to be lying on her favorite rug.
Now, for most of those ten years, she and the boy black Lab Seau, and the yellow girl Tawny (RIP May 2004) slept in the room with my hero and me. When he was at the firehouse, she slept on the bed. But when his ordeal started, that harrowing chemo, the snorts and sneezes and panting and farting and running against the wall just got too much for him. So we put up a baby gate. And now because of the grandbaby, it's still in place. It was a good idea; neither dog needed to run up and down the stairs any longer.
...There's a long concrete breezeway between our house and the fence. Every time I came out to load the recycle bin, Marl would wait at the end. So I'd kneel down and call her, and she'd come running with kisses. It hurts so much now just to take out the trash!
Somebody might say, what are you on about? She's just a dog.
Well, she wasn't. She was my baby, my comfort in the empty nest after our babygirl went off to college. She had a cute way of cocking her face, like she really was listening to you. And she knew when it was dinnertime; she'd come to me with a little throaty whine.
But others might say, after what you and your hero went through already this year, losing a dog to cancer was just another blow you didn't deserve.
And I kinda think those people are right. For the last couple of years, Marl had to drink purified water due to an unrelated condition. These days, I can barely walk through the grocery store without crying. All those months of buying nausea food and constipation food and Popsicles for my hero...and now the bottled water aisle too...
I do have my sweet boy dog. He's the one with ultra health issues. We actually thought we'd lose him first. But he's the independent one; we adopted him when he was about five. Marl was the cuddle-muffin who always had another dog in her life. She wouldn't have lasted long without him.
So I guess this was a backward sort of blessing.
A couple weeks ago, the grandbaby saw a dog on a Natgeo show and called out, "Morley. Morley." Oh the pup looked so much like her, black with a white muzzle. Marl always had that whiteness around her mouth; she looked like a gramma dog since she was about two.
Last weekend in the local paper, the "Pet of the Week" was a black Lab mix, Nico, with Marl's same goofy ears. As soon as I looked up, my hero said, no. Seau is enough for now.
I asked him if he misses her, and he said of course, but he knows not quite the way I do.
After all, she was my baby.
I worked on my roses one of Marl's last days on earth; she and Seau laid under the tree, on the soft grass of a perfect sunny summer day.