You know that thing where your person is really late coming home, and it’s raining and dark, and you have the nagging feeling that Something’s Wrong, but you push it away so you don’t look like an anxious worrier?
Last night, my two business partners and I were in the country, at J’s house, having a little retreat. J’s husband was late coming home from a late vet appointment. And it was after 10, and we’d had dinner, and were reading Medicine Cards, and I got Crow (all about shape-shifting) and Elk (all about stamina), and we had Seinfeld on to distract J from the phone not ringing, and then the phone rang.
What happened became clearer later, after we arrived 25 minutes south of town to find five or six emergency vehicles, flashing lights, people crouched by the side of the road over a blanket covered figure. Wet black road, rain, an animal running in front of the car, a swerve. Ditch, tree, creek, the old dog lost in the water with a fractured leg for some unnamed time. J’s husband okay, but severely banged up, head and eyes and back. Cops very intent on restoring order, getting everyone out of the road before another crash happened. Some local hoser trying to get J to let him tow the car himself and save the towing fee.
Both dogs, the younger shocked one and older injured one, into the back of my car, and J and I off to the vet another half hour south. More rain and dark roads. D and J’s husband off to the people emerg.
A vet with an eastern european accent and peaceful hands on the ears of the younger dog listing the injuries, the cancer prognosis J’s husband had just heard at the vet. Decision to be made, phone call to shocked husband in triage, tears, hands on rough wet cold elderly sweet doggie while he passed.
I once worked with paramedics in this area, and we described the work they do as bringing order and reassurance in chaos. Thinking today about how their appearance is a stick in the unfurling line of messiness, yanking the chain to a halt from further unfurling, but no real peace. The peace and ease only come with time, with endless, tedious phonecalls and decisions about insurance, rental cars, moving the dog’s bowls out of the kitchen, watching the other dogs walk around looking confused. Bruising that has more swelling to do before it can start subsiding.