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Old Soldiers and Black Dogs.

Posted Jun 15 2009 10:18pm

fathersday2 A bitter-sweet weekend for me. My family celebrates several birthdays in June, two brothers, a brother & sister in-law, and my mom. Last Saturday we added an early father’s day to the list. While it was good to see everyone it was also a bit sad as mom’s absence was felt by all.

My brother came up from St. Louis with his wife and daughter. While they were here he went to visit dad at the nursing home. In the course of the conversation dad asked him, “Where are you from?” When Steve told him, “St. Louis.” dad responded, “I have a son that lives there.” Steve smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s me dad.”

That’s Alzheimers for you and dad’s has been getting worse lately. He seemed especially frail over the weekend. He was very tentative in walking even with what he calls his Cadillac (his walker) and often had to have a person on either side holding his arm.

While he may not know who we all are, he still knows that we’re connected somehow. He’s just unsure of the relationship. He enjoys being around family although with so many of us all talking I think he gets confused and can’t follow conversation too well. Still he likes just being around people and had a smile on his face most of the night.

I gave him a little wall hanging I found in a local hardware store. He loved it. The Army was his life and anything with that insignia and the flag makes him smile. That smile was priceless.

marley Dad is 88 now and Marley, my 18 year old black dog, is approximately the same age as dad in dog years. It’s a strange comparison I know but I can’t help but see the similarity between them. Marley is hard of hearing, can’t see well and has trouble walking, but he doesn’t appear to be in any pain and is always wagging his tail and happy to see you. He won’t be around much longer, that’s for sure and neither will my father. Both make me happy and sad at the same time.

I’ve never had a dog live this long. It’s almost as if there’s a reason why he’s hanging on. A part of me want’s to believe that when Marley dies, he’ll take my other black dog with him. Wishful thinking I know but the symbolism isn’t lost on me . . . an old black dog who’s lived a bit too long, one with a sweet disposition and the other not so sweet. The Yin and Yang of black dogs.

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