I am currently staring at Jake. I don’t know about others but after a cancer diagnosis, staring time picks up. Since Jake doesn’t know he has cancer, he probably just thinks I’m stalking him. He’s so vain, he probably thinks this blog post is about him.
I don’t think about his cancer all the time, he and I have agreed to just exist (ok fine, I decided for him). Every now and then reality knocks and I’m reminded our time is going to be cut short. I’m not counting months, but I know it’s coming. I watch that rear left leg falter and I’m reminded that sadness is looming around the corner.
Losing Jake, feels impossible on its own. Jake is my baby, I don’t know if that is because he is little or because he needs me so much or because he wears diapers or because I have to carry him. He is my little, big baby. Jake is also a connection to Melvin. He is the only living creature who loves Melvin as much as I do. There is the difficult reality that both Jake and Melvin will be gone. I’ve committed to letting Jake be an only dog for the time he has left so there will come a day that I walk into this house and there are no dogs. And that feels…well it feels a little impossible.
These moments, where all these realities collide, they don’t own the day. We are in fact, enjoying spring, finding reasons to laugh and living like cancer is not our roommate. I am operating under the assumption that I will be changing his diaper for many, many more months to come. Joy still owns this joint.
I’ve been working on a project with Melvin photos and videos. It’s a win, win – I end up with something special and it has helped me so much to go through our lifetime of photo memories. From the moment I got Melvin, I felt we were destined to be together. In going through the photos I realized that Jake and Melvin, were also meant to be.
Jake continues the completion of my life for me, but I think in order to complete Jake, I just had to get him (in this life) to Melvin. Not that being with me hasn’t been spectacular (doy!), and obviously as Jake’s ONLY CARETAKER I’m needed, but Jake’s greatest joy, was always Melvin. It is so evident in the photographs. Melvin gave him calm, and confidence and purpose and love. Melvin made Jake whole. Even the behaviorist said that, Melvin healed Jake in a way we will never understand.
I was Melvin’s joy. Melvin is Jake’s joy. They are my joy. No matter what happens, we won.
When Jake’s time does come (in hopefully 55 years), it will be so bittersweet. He’ll be leaving me but at that very moment, he will see Melvin. And for Jake, that will be everything.
These boys, they give me strength, even when they are breaking me. Love is strange and strong and for us, always worth it.
Lastly, life lessons can occur at any hour of the day. Jake poop’d in the middle of the night last night. I leapt up to clean up and ended stepping barefoot into it. I started laughing hysterically. I don’t know if was insanity or truly a commitment to love, but I realized these moments, even the crap moments, our life is unfolding. Life doesn’t wait for us to live it. You have to march forward, through the poop, and keep giving it all that you have. Hold on tight, cause it might just be glorious!
My new cuff bracelet…
Jake’s new outdoor bed (still too cold to go outside) and I think the mat being there (it goes outside too) is poetic. We say ‘nope’ to cancer!