Lately I’ve been a real homebody. I’m not alone. My old guy, here, only wants to go out in the cold when he has to. This means we will be dealing with big dog smells, scratched up floors, flaky dog skin, and furry carpet all winter. We also have to be careful not to leave shoes and small things on the floor that he can trip over since his sight is poor now. Of course if he’s in more, the little one will be too. I don’t want him to feel left out.
I’ve always been a bit of a slave to my pets, waking from a dead sleep as a girl to turn on a steady drip in the bath tub (had to be the bath tub) for a suddenly thirsty cat each night, so it won’t be too hard. But I find myself going a little further than usual in my care of Mo. As his eyes get glassy and his legs more shaky, I am drawn to lay down by him on the floor more often or to take more short walks with him so he still feels a part of things. This is my way of making the most of the time we have together. I always took care of Mo when we were both younger, but something about being good to him now when his walk is a little off kilter and he tires so easily has made a deep impression on my heart.
Aging has been on my mind for a few years now and maybe Mo is getting my early response to it. Maybe this extra consideration is really my way of considering my own aging and that of my parents and grandparents without getting too bogged down with sorrow. I wonder will I be looked on with fondness even when I can no longer give the things I used to? Will I find compassion and patience in my children? When I think of times that I lacked patience with them, I can’t help but think I may see it reflected back at me one day, or at least may deserve it. I want to age with grace and gentleness, leaving behind no undone task of love, but it’s harder for us than for trusty old dogs. We question our purpose and the circumstances that befall us too much as our bodies give out to submit to the process of aging with ease.
Of course my heaviest thoughts are of my own parents and grandparents. Am I being as thoughtful and supportive as they need me to be as their bodies weaken? Am I spending the extra time with them, going on short excursions together since longer ones are too tiring? Am I finding new ways for us to relate where previous ones no longer apply? I hope so. I really can handle the eventual passing of my loved ones. I won’t like it, but I can accept it if I can be with them the whole way. I never want to think that I missed an opportunity to make this passing as beautiful as possible for people who lived a beautiful life.