Ah, Max. I miss you.
(This column, well, it’s special to me. Max was our oldest son’s dog. Clint brought him from Texas after he and his wife split up. Clint’s been missing for over 16 years and our one live tie to our son passed away on Mother’s Day.)
I think we sometimes set ourselves up on holidays, hoping for the best so we’ll have terrific memories. Now and then, something less than wonderful happens and our hearts are heavy, for a time anyway.
Kenny Chesney has a song whose first line goes, “sunny days seem to hurt the most” and when I first heard that I thought, finally, here’s someone who gets it.
It’s hard to be considered weird just because you prefer cloudy days. But there are more of us than I realized. We’ve discovered that part of the reason we feel this way is maybe because there are things going on in our lives that make it impossible to live up to what a sunny day expects of us.
Take this past Mother’s Day. I started celebrating a couple of weeks before when the lilacs bloomed. Their delicate scent always brings my mom to mind, and I never pass up a chance to find a way to get to a lilac bush every spring. Hubby bought me one a couple of years ago and it’s getting bigger, but it has a ways to go before it can match the one mom had.
That gorgeous bunch of lavender would swing and sway in the wild and windy spring storms we get in Illinois that would send a fragrance through our home that no one has ever been able to duplicate. Lilacs and mom, two beautiful creations that were here for too short a time.
I kept the small bouquet from our own plant until it withered, dried up and its petals dotted my kitchen table. I finally threw it away last Saturday.
The day before, our wolfpuppy Max started feeling a bit under the weather. She’s always had a touchy tummy, and we’d been through this before so we just kept an eye on her while we went about our business. She appreciated that because she needed her space, as most dogs do.
On Saturday I treated myself to a few hours at a bookstore. It was fun and relaxing, even if I didn’t get a lot of work done. Just being in a coffeeshop surrounded by books and magazines is enough for me. If you remember, and how could you help it, the weather over the weekend was perfectly lousy. It was cold, rainy, windy and generally unpleasant.
One would think that I would be happy with that, but that isn’t true. I really do prefer sunny days now. It’s fun to smile, laugh and enjoy life. It’s hard to do that with cold rain drizzling down your open collar.
By the time I drove home in the monsoon, I was a bit discouraged. It was an odd feeling, kind of like when you know something isn’t quite right but you don’t know what it is.
Max was not eating, only drinking, and she slept a lot. Usually she is up in our faces, getting tidbits and the last bite.
Sunday came and we went to breakfast. We came home and Max greeted us, her tail wagging a little less than usual. I was finishing the Sunday paper when she got really sick, so we headed for outside. Once there, she went into a seizure and hubby and I went a little crazy.
Surprisingly, Max popped up from the step and waited for us to bring her inside. We did that, but headed straight for the veterinarian. Suddenly it didn’t matter if it was Sunday or Mother’s Day; all that mattered was Max.
A preliminary outward check showed that things looked okay. We agreed to bloodwork, and left our Max to stay the night so she would get the proper care.
It had to be awfully painful for the doctor to make that call on Sunday evening. Max had passed away, he said, and he was sorry. I sat, stunned, and wondered two things: How could such a gentle man, who loves animals as much as he obviously does, deal with this type of work? And, how would I tell hubby that his little buddy was gone?
These last few days have been unforgettable, though I pray that will change. Funny, laugh-out-loud memories are inside of all of us who knew Max and someday we’ll bring those out to share. For now, though, we’ll try to get through each day until the pain subsides a little.
Gary Allan has a song, too, that I can relate to. It’s called, Life Ain’t Always Beautifuland the ending goes something like this: Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.
I’m going to remember that. Well, that, my mom, lilacs and Max. Three beautiful, unforgettable pieces of my life that were here for too brief a time.