Miss Molly has trouble walking and Lord Murphy has difficulty breathing. Allergic bronchitis it is called. My husband let me get both of them as puppies when our son went into the Marine Corp to give me something more to love. I listen to him and watch her and my heart shudders at what I know will happen someday. Someday, but not yet.

Their love saves me sometimes.

It makes me recall other reminders of life and loss, me on the floor next to my pup Phoenix 10 years ago as she breathed her last breaths with me stroking her and looking into her beautiful eyes telling her it was okay and I loved her, over and over until she was gone.

She taught me not to waste the moments.

My Ruger being hit by a passing truck and me jumping into traffic and covering him as the blood flowed with such finality underneath him. I remember the woman and her son who stopped traffic for me. I remember standing in my kitchen alone and screaming until I was hoarse before I could pick up the phone and ask my husband to come home.

He taught me what joyous living looked like.

They day I flipped my car coming back from lunch, hearing the shouting and the pounding of running feet and the look on the man’s face when he peeled back the windshield and saw me standing there with just a tiny scratch on my face.

I learned that sometimes humans mistakenly value possessions over people.

Even further back to the hospital stay when my internal organs began shutting down and the pain of it taught me that the quality of life was more important than its length, then my father-in-law dying a year after my husband and I split and me sitting with him one night about midnight while his son slept nearby. I remember him smiling and talking in his sleep. He was a hard-working provider for his family. I remember crying that night for the dreams that made him smile.

I should have learned then not to give up living to make one.

I have been chased by dreams myself lately. I heard a story that keeps following me into the dark hours and won’t let go. It horrified me to hear it and now it’s a nightmare I’ve been having every few nights. Instead of being surrounded on my deathbed by my loved ones, I am surrounded by the things I didn’t do. They are people in my dreams, but I know each of them. I know what they are, and they are angry and bitter at my cowardice.

They are furious that they are dying with me.

The places I haven’t been, the people I haven’t helped yet, the love I haven’t spoken well enough, the words I haven’t written and the chances I haven’t taken. All of them staring at me in accusation, despair and …pity. It’s more than I can take, even sleeping.

I wake up sweating, but cold. It’s 3am and there will be no more rest. My heart is pumping and my hands shake as I sit on the floor by my bed and the pups comfort me, Molly putting her sweet head in my lap and Murph doing his Darth imitation in my face between licks of comfort.

We’re here now. We love you. Don’t be afraid.

If only we were that wise.


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