Learning how to say goodbye is never easy…

It’s been a while since my last post! Quick writing update:  I’ve been editing my novel with my agent, and he is working his contacts now, hoping to find some interest out there.  Then the rejections can roll in…!  Trying to get further in my sequel (yes it’s a mystery series), and will make that my New Year’s resolution to finish in 2013.  Luckily my real job has kept me busy, along with my family, so it’s a good thing to still be employed and receiving a paycheck 🙂

It’s been a hard summer and fall, there’s no other way to say it.  I lost a dear friend to ALS which still seems unreal.  Another good friend lost her husband at the tender age of 33 recently too, and it’s so hard to accept such a shocking loss.  I’ve spent the last few years going to funerals for my parents’ friends and friends’ parents, but can’t believe now I’m having to watch my friends say goodbye to their husbands and wives.  I have been amazed at the strength they’ve shown, and the outpouring of love and support for them and their children.

I also helped my mom say goodbye to her beloved Pug Jessie, who is pictured here.  He has been such a wonderful companion to my parents, especially my mom who now lives alone since my Dad has been in a special Alzheimer’s assisted living facility.  My mom is a super active spry 83-year-old, and walking the dog each morning, afternoon and before bedtime has kept my mom young.  It’s been another wonderful example to me of how much animals give back to us, and all they want in return is a little love.  And in Jessie’s case, also a few scraps now and then 🙂  Jessie was also so loved by my dad, and it’s unclear whether he can understand or comprehend that he’s gone.  Maybe that’s a small blessing of his dementia, but I know the other residents at his facility will all miss seeing little Jessie strut around on his visits.

So I am ever thankful for all the human and canine loved ones in my life.  Even though I know someday we’ll all have to say goodbye, I will try to enjoy each and every moment until then.  And we are making the next few days extra special.  My mom has become motivated to travel again, and we are now taking a Murphy girls’ trip to Italy in a few days which will be a blast.  Compliments of my more than generous sister Kathy who is treating the 4 of us to a fabulous trip.

So if you hear there’s a shortage of wine in Rome or Florence….now you’ll know why 🙂

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Why we don’t put our pets in nursing homes…

 

 

On my recent visit with my father who has been residing in a dementia specialty nursing home for several years, I realized that often we are kinder to our animals than to people. Although he is not in much physical pain, his quality of life is pretty much gone. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. Seeing men and women who can no longer hold a conversation, recognize loved ones or eat solid food is depressing, to say the least. So I should be glad that he and others don’t know what is going on around them.  At times pet therapy does seem to help, and it is wonderful to see some sparks of recognition from other patients when dogs are brought in for visits.   

I’m thankful that we never let our animals suffer in the same way. I have had to make the most difficult decision in my life twice – to put down my beloved Cato, and then 2 years later Solo Mio – and both times, as sad as it was, it was also a relief. I knew I was doing what was best for my dogs. It was my selfishness that told me to keep them alive, but my heart and mind (with the help of my husband) eventually won out and we knew the right thing to do.

It seems ironic that we would treat our human family members worse than we treat our pets. I don’t know the solution, but I know how difficult it is emotionally and financially to treat dementia and other Alzheimer’s-like diseases (most dementia care is NOT covered by Medicare until you need full-blown hospital type care).  I remember hearing Nancy Reagan describe Alzheimer’s as “the long goodbye” and now I know why.