Friday, October 28, 2005

The Death Thing

Between bites of roasted lemon and rosemary chicken this evening, I wept copiously.

The forewarning had been an extremely tenuous moment while preparing the pan-fried couscous side dish during which the longing for my large, San Francisco kitchen with walk-in pantry and oven vent was so overwhelming that I had to remind my cramped-in-the-kitchen-of-ant-armies self that these longings are for objects. And objects are insignificant.

But the dinner weeping was not over an object of desire. The dinner weeping was over Death.

Yesterday, I finally worked out the mystery behind the faint, blood streaks marking our beige, tile floors. No, my 12-year-old Retriever was not experiencing a rejuvinated womanhood nor had she tread on glass.

Her hind leg, so stricken with arthritis that it pains her to fully lift it while on our excursions, was being dragged along the pavement to the point of filing the nail into non-existence leaving a bloodied stump stood in its stead. Of course, she didn't complain or refuse to go on. She simply continued with us to the beach and playground and park, dragging that leg along, happy to be with us on an outing.

This is the second time within a 6-month-period that I have been reminded of mortality vis a vis my dog. The first came when she was unable to stand up to follow me outside one crisp, San Francisco morning. I wept then, too.

Between sobs and bites of chicken this evening, I mused to Tonny how we mortals think we control everything. How we believe we can change the world, increase productivity, carve out a future.

But over death, we have no say. There is nothing I can do to stop my beloved companion of twelve years from slowly winding down before my eyes.

Not coincidentally, the first suicide bombing since our return to Israel took place in Hadera two days ago. I instinctively knew the first one would leave me forlorn. You mean that even though WE are here now, there will still be suicide bombings? Wait a minute. Didn't everybody read the fine print before signing on?

And just how in the hell do parents go on living?

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