As I’ve written here before, my Grandmother Nellie was a tough old bird. Things went her way or else. This worked fine as far as where her furniture was placed or what to have for dinner, but it didn’t work so well with the people in her life.
In high school she dated Lawrence for several weeks, until he was late to pick her up. Then she dumped him. Lawrence’s younger brother Walter asked her out and learning his lesson from Lawrence, did everything demanded of him — for the rest of his life.
I imagine things went pretty smoothly for Grandmother, until my mother was born. Children are notorious for not following our plans for them. Instead of marrying for money as demanded by Grandmother, she married for love; a poor farmer and a Catholic one at that. She then proceeded to have way more kids than proper society (or Grandmother) accepted.
Mom battled her weight her entire life with Grandmother berating her at every turn. When Mom was diagnosed with cancer and told her chemo treatments would be harsh Grandmother sent a get well card. She’d written inside “At least now you’ll be able to lose that extra weight you’ve been carrying around.”
She probably did love my mother and she tolerated her husband. But she adored her pets – at least, as long as they behaved. One week she’d mention that Fluffy had a cold. The next time we talked she’d tell me how cute Tabby was.
“Tabby? I thought your cat’s name was Fluffy.”
“Oh. I put Fluffy down.”
When Tabby jumped up on a shelf and broke one of Grandmother’s precious knickknacks, the cat disappeared.
A dog she’d had for years that peed on her rug? Gone.
My dad used to joke that he was afraid to sneeze around Nellie in case she decided to put him down.
Now I’m in the position of having to make that terrible choice with our dog, Lola. Not because she’s a nuisance, but because she’s in pain and can’t get around.
We met with our vet this week and he says it’s close to time and explains how lucky animals are that we have the power to put them out of their misery. I’ve always agreed with that philosophy but have never had to put it into practice.
The power, I’ve discovered, is now a curse that haunts me as I look into Lola’s brown eyes and I beg her to tell me if she’s ready to go. I do love her. In fact, I love her enough to kill her
I pride myself on being nothing like my Grandmother Nellie, but I wonder. Am I really?