My dog Carson salivates profusely as I bite into my flavorless sandwich: mild Swiss cheese stuck between two slices of overly dry white bread. I would let him know that his overzealous salivating, and inevitable dripping, are unwarranted for this occasion. If only.
If only, he and I could have a heart to heart right now. I would tell him that the world feels like it’s coming to an end. I would tell him that I am grieving for the comfort of chaos and dysfunction that was the norm in my childhood. I would tell him that this silence is deafening.
Carson nestles closer to me, and plops his heavy head on my left foot. He is my ball and chain. He anchors me to life. He is there when the sun rises and then, when it falls. He is with me at all times in my safe place. A place where I can let my tears come and go, as they please. A place where I can let the ache inside me take over with no end in sight. He watches over me with no judgement. He is my rock.
I hear Gail’s voice.
“You are a rock, Sarah.” Her voice becomes weaker and less coherent from the morphine. Until finally, she says: “This is my last call. I’m so tired. I know you get it. You understand. I’m ready to go. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for understanding. I love you so much. You know that, don’t you?”