Mamela in Maine, July 2016

To the dog that hates karate
To the dog that could outrun the entire dog park
To the dog that loves Diet Coke bottles
To the dog that makes crazy alien noises when she even glimpses a Chuck It
To the dog who chased her ball into the waves
To the dog who loved Chrissy Field
To the dog who loved Fort Funston
To the dog who loved Laguna Beach
To the dog who loves Provincetown
To the sheriff always on patrol
To the dog who comes running every time she hears the popcorn machine
To the dog who loves to eat watermelon

Dear Laura,
I have nothing prepared to write, but I woke up thinking of you. Today is your birthday, and Linz went down south to be with Dare and Cin. And you. To be with you. I have been thinking about you a lot, and I am sorry to say that my thoughts often turn to the unfairness of this year, the illness, the suddenness. I will work harder to drop the anger.

On Saturday, February 27th, I left the hospital with a reluctant feeling of despair. I had been fighting the despair for so long, but for some reason I could no longer resist. I gave in to the maddening. Helplessness. Anger. My windshield wipers whipped almost as furiously as my eyes blinked back the burning tears. I had been diligently praying and waiting for a miracle, and I was sick of being denied. I cursed. I talked to myself and my God, out loud, not caring what other afternoon drivers would think if they happened to look over. Sadness wrestled with rage for dominion.

Waves crashing
Uncle passing.
Laguna Beach, where he lived and loved.
We watched a slideshow
of photos old and new, healthy and sick,
and I leaned forward
to whisper into my cousins' ears,
"Your dad sure was a handsome man."
Handsome, generous, and funny.
Stablein funny.
We loved our Uncle Jeff.
The next day, with no way of knowing,
Grandma Betty asked if someone had died
And no one was telling her.
Then she asked specifically after Uncle Jeff,
The very next day!

An ICU hospital waiting room is an interesting place. I venture to say that it is like no other place I have ever been to, let alone spent days at a time. This weekend, I spent hours in a nondescript, faded box of a room, with a door on each of the four walls. The elevator on one side, the restroom directly across, the sliding glass patio door, and the entrance to the hospital rooms. Every time one of the three doors opened, for the patio door remained locked, people's heads would turn in the direction of that subtle sound. It was uncanny.