Dogs don’t wait…

…to accept what is.

My old dog, Sandy, is almost thirteen. We walk together nearly every day on the trails at the base of the Sandia Mountains for which he is named. These days his walk can wobble. When a jackrabbit crosses his path, he speeds up to a teetering trot, still on the chase. In those moments, I think of his younger days when he could almost catch the racing rabbits, his strides long and fluid and so, so fast. But he doesn’t turn to me and lament the bygone days. He seems to love every minute of every walk we take. He doesn’t fret over his evermore frequent stumbles along the path. He just rights himself and goes on. And his joy makes me joyful. Such important lessons this wise, furry teacher has for me – take pleasure in every walk, savor every meal like it was the best I ever tasted, and lean into every sweet caress from someone who loves me.

Deb’s Parents

My father suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s a long, slow journey that he and our family have taken for years, with him progressively getting farther from us. My mother struggled hard against it, against the reality of losing the man she’d spent almost 60 years with, even though his body was still present. She was angry. All the time. Until she found out she was terminally ill. When that news hit her, she looked up at me from her hospital bed and said, “This won’t be so hard on Daddy, will it? He won’t really know.” And just like that, the anger that had consumed her for years, flowed away. She accepted what was, even embraced it, both his reality and hers. Weeks later, she died at peace.

I knew a couple, married long and loved each other deeply, but lived largely separate lives under the same roof. There was an unspoken, mutual agreement not to talk about the disappointments in their past, the barriers to closeness in their present. Until they found out she was terminally ill. Though it was a time of great physical pain for her and emotional pain for him, they opened their hearts to each other in a way they had not been willing to risk before. The last years of her life were a time of richness in their relationship. She died at peace, and some years later, he did too.

But do we have to wait to know our days are numbered before we accept what is? After all, our days are numbered. We just don’t know what that number is. I’m going to try to live my life more like Sandy. Not wait.

What are you waiting for?

 

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Showing 25 comments
  • judi Pringle
    Reply

    great pic of Sandy, I never connected the meaning of his name…

    • Deb
      Reply

      Yes, in November 2003, after three days of waiting for Jerry to weigh in on taking the puppy home, or not, he looked over at me and said, “I guess that’s our puppy and I think his name is Sandy for the mountains he was born near.” I wanted that sweet puppy so much, Jer could’ve said “I think his name is Paper Bag…” and I’d have said okay.

  • Doris
    Reply

    Thank you, Deb:
    Such a lovely story about your mother and father -there are many lessons for all of us here. It is so calming to want what you have, forgive everyone everything, and love. PEACE

  • Maureen
    Reply

    So many farewells…
    I have a story for you. I hope we can catch up in person soon.
    Thank you for your beautiful writing, looking forward to more!

  • Angie
    Reply

    Hi Deb, This is so well put together. Your writing is thought provoking, clever and interesting. John and I look forward to following you, and “rocking” with you.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Thanks Angie!

  • Anna
    Reply

    A well written, and timely piece for recent events in my family. Thank you for sharing!

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      So glad they were the right words at the right time for you. Stay tuned!

  • Sharon
    Reply

    Wow. Your thoughts, so beautifully expressed in your writing, leave me a bit breathless – and proud to call you “cousin”. Keep up the good work, cuz.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Thank you, Sharon.

  • Carol
    Reply

    Beautiful! A reminder to live in the moment every chance given to us.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      So important, and so easy to forget to do. Thank you, Carol.

  • Julia
    Reply

    I didn’t realize your mother had passed- my condolences and I’m so glad for both of you that she was at peace.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Thank you, Julia.

  • Irene
    Reply

    Looking forward to following your thoughts here. I’ve always had an interest in geology so I’m hoping you will interject some tidbits on the fascinating mountain formations in the area. Peace, Irene

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Will do, Irene, stay tuned!

  • Yvonne
    Reply

    Good piece, well said.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Thanks!

  • Anne
    Reply

    Such depth and wisdom in your eyes and heart. Thank you for doing this blog and reminding me of the value of being present for life each moment. So helpful in these times of fear, anger and disappointment.
    Our dog Fannie Lou died this year and I have so missed her daily lessons in life—to say nothing of her role as my personal trainer.
    Your parents raised a phenomenal human being.
    We will get together in the new year.
    Anne

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Mom and Dad would’ve been so glad to hear that – thanks!

  • Kathryn MILLER (Kate)
    Reply

    What a lovely connection you make between Sandy, your Mom and Dad and accepting what is. I hear your voice as I read the words you’ve written. Yes, “What are (we) waiting for?” I look forward to reading more. I am loving what you’re creating here for yourself and others.

    • Deborah Green
      Reply

      Thank you, Kate.

  • Bambi
    Reply

    Congratulations, Deb, on “officially” stepping into your writing life and on your new blog site, (I somehow missed your email until today.)
    These three short pieces are great – full of passion, heart, and courage – and the photos and entire layout are deliciously pleasing. I love being a part of your readership and I look forward to more of your work. All the best – Bambi

  • GERRY L STIREWALT
    Reply

    Deb … This story brought a lump to the throat of this seasoned “tough” field geologist, and the thoughts you expressed are so much on the mark in regard to not spending too much time waiting when one can love and experience life and nature and friends and family and … and … and. That list is endless as I count my many blessings, one including having known you for so very long and noting all the successes you have had in life. May this new creative direction be the same. Gerry

  • May
    Reply

    There is certainly a lot to know about this issue. I
    really like all the points you have made.

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