Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Seasons come and seasons go, but love never dies.

Max and I are trying to adjust to a new season in our lives, one without Mom.

Gwendolyn Edith Minor passed away on August 3, 2011 in her home, surrounded by her loving family. Even now, it's hard to write those words. Mom, dead; really? She's not there anymore and we're trying to figure out life without her.

For me, it is a huge void. Mom moved in to the house next door in 2004. So long ago, yet it seems like just yesterday. Her first few years were filled with getting her settled in to a new home, after more than 50 years in our birth home in Shreveport, La. She fell in love with her new Atlanta life; her new home, new neighbors, new church, new experiences. While she held on to the memories of a life well-lived in another place and time, she embraced the new one with enthusiasm.

She also fell in love with her grand-dog.

Never one for dogs in the house, my Mom grew to love Max. She said so, just weeks before she lost the ability to speak. She said, "I love that dog almost as much as you do." If by chance I came over without him, the first thing out of her mouth, "Where is Max? I've got something for him."

He loved her, too. She was the person who fed him chicken every night under the table. She was the reliable presence, always there, even when his mommy was away. He would keep her company when I went out, or traveled out of town. Upon walking through the door, he made a b-line, down the hall, straight to the back of the house, where he would sniff her out. He could usually find her in her bedroom. During the last weeks of her life, spent mostly in bed, he was her constant companion.

After the morning walk, after breakfast, Max headed for the door to go to work. His new job, therapy dog to an ailing "Grammy." Back to her room, he would sit by her bedside, or lay down under the bed. It got to the point he didn't even want to go on the walk in the mornings. "Never mind, lady, just let me go see about my Grammy." There he kept vigil all day, until I forced him to come home at night, only to repeat the routine the next day. Max Minor, reporting for duty. What a good and faithful boy he was.

In the end, nothing Max could do, or the doctors, or his uncles, or his mommy, could keep her here any longer. God called her home.

For a few days, Max was inconsolable. Wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep. He laid around in a hapless heap, pining for his Grammy. Just like usual, he headed straight to her room. But she's not there. Where is she? She's always here. Oh well, we'll come back tomorrow to see if she's returned.

While we revamp our routines, Max and I are rediscovering old joys. Long walks in the park; leisurely days in the country. He's almost back to his old self. Time heals all wounds. Or so they say.

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