Watching, Waiting, Talking

It is hard, watching someone get old. Watching as even the simplest movements get harder and harder. Watching their frustration as they can’t do the things they have been doing for so long. Watching them waver, and stumble, and weaken.

I have been watching Opus very carefully this past week. I am trying to be there for her if she needs it. Mostly she doesn’t. Mostly she just sleeps.

Sometimes, The Bubby of old comes out, and she comes to me and demands something. But even then, it is hard for her. Her once lusty bellow has become a weak mew. She cannot lift her head up to look up at me without losing her balance. And she doesn’t come to me that often anymore.

When she does, I am trying to take advantage of it. I cuddle her. She cannot tolerate much of a cuddle anymore. It is hard on her old bones, hard to balance on my lap, and she’s nothing but skin and bones anyway so I imagine after awhile the petting becomes somewhat uncomfortable. But I try to anyway.

I talk with her. I explain to her what will happen. I tell her our routine for the day — waking, breakfast, napping, lunch. All the things she normally does. I tell her that she will get a visit from the Doctor. She will be coming to give her a needle. It’ll sting a little bit, but if she just relaxes, she’ll get drowsy and then fall asleep. I tell her that after that, the Doctor will give her one more needle. And after that, she can sleep as long as she wants to. Nobody will wake her. No noisy baby will bother her, or bothersome Duncan or Lucy. Her old bones won’t ache anymore. Her stomach won’t bother her. Her hearing and eyesight won’t be a problem. She can rest.

I tell her how much I will miss her. She looks at me with her old, old eyes. I hope that she understands.

I tell her that I do not know what will happen. She knows me well enough to know where I am coming from.

I want to believe in Heaven, and that I will see her again. I want to believe in capital-H-Heaven like I was taught as a child. I really do. I want to believe it, but I mostly don’t. But I hedge my bets, just in case. I tell her that if there is a Heaven, to go and wait for me there. I tell her to keep the divot in the middle of the bed warm for me. I want to believe I will show up somewhere one day and she will be there, demanding to be fed and petted and doG knows what else. I tell her these things.

She looks up at me with her old eyes. She knows me well enough to know that I haven’t a clue, but hope.

I want to believe in some sort of reincarnation thing. I want to believe in some sort of lifeforce that does not leave. I want to believe that when she dies, her life force will stay on and maybe stay with me. I want to believe that maybe she will be here to comfort me and love me as she has done all this time. I want her to stay with me because I need her.

I tell her that I hope she doesn’t feel like she is no longer needed. She saw me through my entire adult life so far. She saw me through bad choices, bad boyfriends, bad jobs. She saw me through a good relationship and showed her choice was final by sitting on the candidate, the Big Damn Hero. She saw me through a horrible miscarriage, and through long, tiring, demoralizing infertility treatment. She saw me through adoption, and the arrival of That Baby in our lives. She saw me through to a family who could now rally around me and take care of me.

But I still need her. I have no clue about motherhood. I didn’t have a mom. I don’t know what moms do or be. I am flying by the seat of my pants here. I haven’t got any idea how to deal with what motherhood will bring. I need her to comfort me on my bad mommy days. I need her to enjoy dance parties with That Baby and me. I need her to cuddle after a long day of parenting.

She looks up at me with her old eyes. She knows me well enough to know that I need her, that I will miss her. But she knows me well enough to know that I will think of her instead of me. She knows me well enough to know that I will let her go.

She’s ready to go. She needs to go.

It’s been a tough week. But we’re getting to a place, after all the waiting and the watching and the talking, where I think we will be okay with it. We will not be without tears. But we are getting used to the idea.

17 thoughts on “Watching, Waiting, Talking

  1. I don’t know what to say, but huge hugs from one struggling Mom to another. Somehow, along with Opus, the kids “get it” too. They know we love them and struggle some days, but they love us anyway. It’s called unconditional love, and it is the best thing in the world.

  2. Know that we are thinking of your family and of course Opus.
    BDH was not brought up with animals but it didn’t take him long to fall in love with that fur ball called OPUS and of course her owner. I’m sure she will be missed.

  3. Dammit, stop making me cry all over my keyboard.

    Sigh. As I said years ago when I had to make the same call for my first dog – sometimes being a grownup sucks. Royally.

  4. Oh Cinn….I’ve been off my computer for a few days and just getting caught up on my blogs. As I sit here bawling my eyes out I just want you to know that I am praying for you as you go through this difficult time. Opus will be in a much better place….free from pain….and one day you will see her again!


  5. Oh my. My husband just asked me why I was (am) crying (bawling, actually). In fact, several times, I tried to read to my husband some of your post. I couldn’t get through it.

    I’m sure Opus will understand you are doing the best thing for her. And she’ll have a lovely, peaceful last sleep.

    Karen T.

  6. I tried to post a comment yesterday but failed because I was crying too much. Thinking of you guys and Opus.


  7. This is my first visit to your blog. Wow, you are a powerful writer. I am so sorry to hear about your beloved Opus. It sounds as though he was a best friend to you in many times of need. It will surely be a difficult week for you. Take care,

    I’d love to add you to my private blog, if you like. My email is

  8. what a beautiful post… I cried so much it took me 2 days to read the post. My husband also wanted to know why I was crying (twice). We have been there – 1 old dog, 1 young dog and 1 super old cat. My thoughts are with you.. you did the best thing. Opus knows that too.

    My husband pointed out that you wrote this incredible post that echoed every feeling we have had in the past and all we have ever been able to say about the topic is “it sucks”. Thanks for writing it 🙂 It meant a lot to us and hopefully has increased our vocabulary.

  9. oh, I didn’t know a big yellow smily face would appear when I wrote that post! It looks so blaringly garish amongst the other sentiments!

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