My family always has had dogs. I remember, as a kid of maybe 9 or 10, the feeling of hearing that Reggie, a dog who had been around longer than me, had to be put down. She was old and sick and it was time, but it was just so awful that it had to be time. The night before she was taken to the vet, I remember sneaking downstairs in the dark to sit with her. It just didn’t seem real. The next day somehow I convinced myself that it wasn’t real. Looking back I don’t remember why I did this. I suppose Reggie must have had a slightly better morning than normal, or, more likely, my parents said something that I took completely out of context to mean, “It’s okay, we don’t have to take her to the vet today after all.” Whatever it was that convinced me, I suddenly felt light and carefree again. It was a normal day after all. I went upstairs to play Nintendo.
But because it wasn’t really a normal day, one of my parents eventually came upstairs and told me to come say goodbye, because it was time to take Reggie to the vet. All the awfulness returned. I said goodbye, and the rest of the day passed in a tearful blur.
I learned something that day about the hope I put into the spaces of time before difficult things have to be acknowledged. It’s nice to have those pockets of hope and mundane happiness, but sometimes that’s all they are — Small pockets of time, quickly gone.
I’m not saying there isn’t reason to hope that my sister will get better, but I recognize a pocket when I am in it, and that’s what this is. As predicted, Ann’s biopsy results did not come in today. They will come in on Monday. Even though the wait shouldn’t make a difference, I’ve felt lighter today. I talked to Ann on the phone a couple of times, and she seems to be feeling okay as well. It’s not like we didn’t talk about the bad stuff. We did. But we talked about our kids and all the mundane things we normally would talk about, and it was nice. Ann and I have always talked a lot, and I guess it feels good to fit in a few more phone calls before we hear her prognosis.