15 January 2006

Death coming

The noblest person I've ever known is dying. We dug her grave a few days ago, days blurring into 'when was that'. She's stopped eating now, and although our walks in the forest and on the beach are over, she now wants to walk around our home fields and forest and go to all the places she's known around here all her life. She is now visiting mentally her favourite games through life, her favourite places. She's picked up sticks and made new ones, and roused herself to leap, puppylike. She has dropped, watched, crept up like she would if I were a sheep. She has licked my back after a massage for the last time. She has carried her last note, waiting for it to be written, then waiting for the reply and carrying it back, dropping it into waiting hands. She doesn't know what is happening to her, but the eeyores do. She smells different. Her smells are leaving her, smells I've loved her whole life. Her head had five different regions of smell, all wild. Each paw a different smell. Each ear different. She smells like fresh air now, some purposeness hiding her smells from the coming. Her spine sticks up now above the great boat of her ribs. Inside, she is fat with cancer. Her fur covers all this, oblivious of the destruction inside.

What is art? She is art. Movement and form, and life.

Many many hours I've spent staring at her, awed by the beauty of her. The curve of muscular thighs, the asymmetry of ears, the long stretch of nose, its fine whorls and the change of colours from outside to in-, the clean curve of her forehead and skull. Beautiful honest brown eyes, liable to grow huge from excitement, but also able to stare with intensity for impossibly long periods of time, even for a monk. She can wait, still, endlessly with the patience of her heritage, actually enjoying anticipation.

But she is an individual.

She taught me the meaning of fun. She invented games. She is loved by all who've met her, but reserved and particular in her love. She taught children obedience and grace. Honesty, trueness, and forgiveness. All the guilt I feel about things I could have done better for her, I can look at and think, "But Rosie forgave you for that." Could I have, to another? Honestly, I have to say I'm less.

She thought it her responsibility to protect me and look after me and never let me get lost. She taught me the importance of word order, and she was the best waitress I've ever known.

She was never a smarmy companion. Once when she was little I watched a dog watching a woman and the dog had liquid eyes of love. And then I saw the liver in the woman's hand.

Rosie, true, honest, my love, my child, is here with me, as always. As always as can be.

Memory is such a tattered piece of lace, but the feel of her, the smells of her, the nobility of her soul are knots that only the beetles that eat me, will ever devour.

6 comments:

Vera Nazarian said...

*companionship silence and sorrow*

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute, Anna! Sad, loving, eloquent -- it also reveals how good it has been for Rosie, to spend her life with you.

Our pets confront us with mortality so clearly, once they're past their youth, we can only hope we'll remember the joy along with the loss.

Faren

anna tambour said...

Vera and Faren, I appreciate your thoughts so much; and you're so right, Faren.

Rosie is still alive, unbelievably. The powers of life in her are so strong. I can't imagine that she can make it through today, though she might again. Her eyes are still Rosie's as is her brain. She's not ready to go yet, and I think will not be able to walk today, but she's peacefully here beside me, still interested in this world.

Vera Nazarian said...

May her passing be gentle and peaceful when the time comes....

anna tambour said...

She died this morning, literally in our hands, feeling our love up to her last moments. Yesterday, when she was too weak to run, she dreamed happy dreams of running.

Vera Nazarian said...

Oh, Anna...

*sorrow*