Even though I played the scenario out in my mind's eye dozens of times over the past several years, I have to admit that it still felt like a swift punch to the stomach when Bryan and I realized last week, with shocking clarity, that Little Alex was really and truly nearing the end of his life. It's like a switch flipped; one day he was his crotchety old self, walking around the house, barking at us as we walked by his bed, begging for food -- and the next? Struggling to breathe, unwilling or unable to get up from his bed, losing interest in the doggie treats he's eaten with gusto for the past 20 years. 20 years! A literal millennia in dog years, and yet, Alex lived it. He was so old that I cannot remember a time when he wasn't a part of my life -- except now, of course. It's hard to reconcile, but somehow Alex slipped away from us last week, almost when we weren't even looking.
You know, I spent a lot of time over the past few years complaining -- ok, outright bitching -- about how much of a pain the dog had become. But, just like anything else, you never know what you have until it's gone. And when I think of his fuzzy little face, the click of his nails on the hardwood floor in our apartment in Queens signaling his approach around the hall corner, him tearing around the house on Como Avenue, I get a pang so strong it threatens to take my breath away.
So I hope, little dude, that wherever you are, you're young again, and able to run around on strong legs. I hope whatever pain you felt toward the end -- and which you tried so hard to hide from us -- is a fading memory. But most of all I hope you know that we loved you. Thanks for showing us just how strong a little doggie can be -- and for the rewards that come with caring for something so completely dependent on you until the very end. You taught us a lot, and the lessons will be hard to forget.
You know, endings are always hard, but you know what they say: one door closes and another opens up, wider than the last one you slipped through. Even though little Alex is gone, we've got so much around here to occupy our attention. And it's true that his memory is already becoming a bronzed, fuzzy-edged picture in my mind's eye. I can tell that the sharp jabs of pain will be softening in the days to come.
So! Lettuce! We have baby greens. I think in about another two weeks or so we'll be able to pluck enough tender leaves to make a proper salad. The radishes aren't too far behind, but when we'll see the zucchini, cucumber, green onions or bell peppers is anyone's guess. Of course, I'm assuming that the chipmunk I've seen casing our vegetable garden won't totally devastate the baby plants.
Here are a couple gratuitous flower pics to brighten what is an otherwise depressing-ass post. My pansy pot is going crazy right now, that's for sure. Below that is a shot of the "Cosmos" that I planted around the large rocks at the base of our driveway. And I'll be damned if I know what that last flower is, but I know that it's an annual and I know it's doing pretty well in my little garden!