A Sour Present

Like a rock settling to the floor of the ocean, my heart rests in the bottom of my stomach. There is a reason. In just over two hours, Scotia will undergo an operation to remove a mass on her shoulder. What the lab results show will determine how long she has to live.

As I sit in bed, warm, her small body cuddled by mine, I sob at the prospect of what this point in time holds. I suppose that’s what my grief has given me: the fear of it happening all over again. Scotia is my world. Maybe that sounds crazy because she’s a dog.  But getting her was one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever made. She and I share a  long commitment to each other. I adore her wholly and completely. Now, just like that, she could be gone. How many more days together do we have?

Melanoma is one of the more aggressive cancers in dogs. Even if the surgeon gets it all, if malignant, the cancer will come back. It’s only a matter of time. A year or two at the very most. Maybe only a few months. I picture my life without Scotia. My heart sinks deeper into the pit of my stomach; my core flexes trying to stop me from screaming. 

Grief has given me foresight. I visualize the same grieving process. The emptiness. The lack of feeling. The misunderstanding from so many people. This blog, but on day 1 again. No one loves Scotia the way I do. It will be a lonely path. There are people who care for her greatly, but will not be as affected by her passing as they will be by my grief. Maybe that’s morbid to say, but I think that is what grief has given me, a sour present, one that has me realizing the worst can happen to you. In some cases it will. I am hoping this isn’t one of them.

All of this stems from a recent realization. I was on one of my many hikes. I got back to the car and had two missed calls from my brother. I love my brother, but the last time he called he told me we were going to see Marisa while she was staying at BC Children’s Hospital. She wasn’t doing well and it wasn’t looking good for her. When I saw his missed calls, I panicked. I called him right away, only to find out he had called me out of fear after hearing on the news a female body was recovered in my area. He thought it could be me. My friend thought my brother’s reaction was a bit funny to this negative piece of information. However, my mom said it all made sense. “It never used to be like that,” she said. When the sad, painful, shocking stories happen to you, you realize the worst is in the realm of possibility.  That is real and terrifying. The worst case scenario becomes the expected outcome.

So here I am, in my bed, cuddling Scotia, hours before surgery, with the knowledge that the worst could happen to me. A pessimistic haze, I suppose, has been added to my view of the things that happen to me, around me. A sour present from the hardest experience I’ve ever survived.

As Marisa would say, always be kind and remember to smile.

01.26.2021, 25 months since

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