Hi my friends. I had such poignant things I wanted to say today, and now I’m staring down the barrel of a clock, needing to call a car in about five minutes to take me to the airport. I’m going to read at my alma mater, Grinnell College, as a part of the Writers@Grinnell series, and I’m very excited and a little bit nervous about this; what it will feel like, how it will go.
But none of the poignant things I wanted to say were actually about that. Paul is ok: I feel as though I should clarify, since this is a sad dog comic. He’s in a holding pattern, feeling a lot better but still wearing the cone, his eyes are a mixed bag. We’ll see.
Around the same time Paul started getting sick, however—a week or two after, truth be told—my friend Lyndsey’s dog got sick as well. We texted each other from the emergency vet, or just after the emergency vet, or while we were sleeplessly sitting at our kitchen tables, worrying. Strudel, her dog, was only 7, and a very good, slightly neurotic dog, with a penchant for eating…private things that shouldn’t be eaten. So, when she was sick to her stomach recently, Lyndsey had every reason to think that was why.
Unfortunately, Strudel was sicker than that. She ended up being diagnosed with lymphoma, and passing away a few days later. I saw her just last December; Lyndsey and I had a very luxurious friendship day of lying in bed for four hours with the dog, who sometimes liked to bite my calves, but allowed herself to be petted, and tried to take up all the pillows. Lyndsey gave her a wonderful life, and I cried when I found out what happened; I’m sure that Lyndsey has cried more.
I wanted to say something about how Strudel still feels alive to me; my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s cat who died recently also still feels alive to me; how if I do not see a death, it feels distinctly unreal to me, as though the person or creature is still out there, and they’re just a bit beyond my reach. Maybe that’s so. I wish I had a little more time to say all these things, but I need to leave—right now, and so I will just have to say that. There is never enough time. You never get to love as much as you want to. But it’s a worthwhile endeavor to try.