The Thing About Hearts and Limping Dogs


And now here we are … I have a limping dog that needs to see the vet, and a husband with very difficult heart and lungs, and kidneys that can’t decide if they’re in Stage III or Stage IV disease, and then, there’s my own heart that refuses to accept any of it. I’ve no idea at all about my own kidneys … or my heart that catches my breath and flips and flops all the time … or my dear liver that’s been drinking in all this wine of late.

I’m deeply suffering from what some might call Pre-Grief. It’s unremitting, and as wide and unpredictable as any ocean might be.

It’s ridiculous. There’s nothing to really fuss about, yet here I am fussing away like a two-year-old in full tantrum. I’m sorry, but this is what a sensitive-hearted wife does. She simply fusses beyond reason, and I’m really, really sorry about it all. It makes me cry. It makes my heart sadder than sad.

I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know what to say. It’s all so very silly, and I’m so very embarrassed by this response to something beyond my control. Still, this is what I’m doing.

I can’t seem to help myself.

Lately, I’ve been researching palliative comfort care (not to be confused at all with hospice care) for a man who sees no reason for any of it. We talked about it tonight … he’s happy. He goes to the book store for tea and magazines. He goes to the library where he reads the local newspaper. He catches up with his golfing buddies as they round the 9th tee. He is fine. He’s happy. He doesn’t care about his terrible and frightening symptoms. “I’ve lived a good and long live. I’ll die when I die,” he says. He’s happy.

It appears I’m the one who needs the palliative care. I’m the one who needs to find comfort. It’s said that caregivers often suffer more than their caregiveree. I’m beginning to notice the truth of that.

Maybe I’m just another limping dog who doesn’t know what to do until someone takes me to the vet.


4 thoughts on “The Thing About Hearts and Limping Dogs

  1. Love you, dear Auburn. Your precious spirit makes you vulnerable to these bone deep sorrows and while I wish you could be spared this pain, it is part of what makes you so beautiful. Love you.

  2. Oh, to be human and able to project into the future—both a blessing and a curse.
    I can’t imagine you doing anything less than what you’re doing and feeling Auburn.
    Your tender heart can do nothing else.
    Keeping you close in spirit.

  3. Oh, Auburn, I have been where you are. I have been the caregiver desperate for arms of comfort and with a spirit hungry for some form of nurturing, some tiny scrap of assurance. We caregivers are all hearts and limping dogs, you know. We need our vet visits, the ones we don’t get because we’re too busy helping someone else. Your Dan is a gift. He’s happy. He’s living his life just as he wants to live it. What a blessing that your tender mercies have given him that option. You and your Dan are in my thoughts always.

  4. I don’t know if any words I have would be helpful or just intrusive. But this is the only perspective I have and I love your words so I hope there’s a place where the way we think fits together nicely and mutually. When I was a child I nearly died, and I understood that I was likely to die then, and everyone around me was upset. They had religious beliefs and they tried to be brave in front of me and and there was lots of effort involved. I believed then what I believe now – we all get the chance to get on the ride, and the only guarantee is that the ride will end. We all want it to be when we’re 120 after a night of dancing and great sex, but the only guarantee is that we will all get off the ride. There is no “before their time”, no unfair ending, nothing but the ride and what you manage to put into your own consciousness and into the world around you while you’re here. I think your Dan is getting it right, and I think that deep down you do have the same perspective. None of us want to lose what we treasure. But we’re all temps.
    I’m very glad you write. Thank you.