Archive for July, 2020

Love Does This

(For Donna Eden)

“Love does this”.  That is what I heard Donna say before I put my head down from the phone and wept.

I have said something like this before myself, not understanding at all the magnitude of what I was saying.  Once I said my Golden Retriever absorbed some of the evil and badness in our home, having horrible seizures each night, taking the focus away from the sorrows and illnesses which permeated the last months of my marriage to Eli, but I am not sure I understood what I meant.

When Donna told me about “David taking it – he took his grandson’s traumatic head injury”, and then she said, “Love does this.  This is what love does”,  I could barely contain my skepticism as she began the telling of the tale.  But less than a third into it, the authenticity of her words rang so deep into my blood and brain, I listened without needing to, knowing the story myself, realizing the outcome before Donna’s words registered in my hippocampus and whichever parietal lobe registers awe and recognition of that kind.

I love David.  I love his absolute simplicity.  I love how difficult he can be, yet how deep and delicious his soul and truth appear when I remove my projections and see him honestly.  So it was with humility and tenderness I listened to Donna tell me about her husband, my friend, who stepped out of his need to tend to his own wellbeing so completely that he would literally give his life for the grandson he loved with all his heart.

Donna tells the tale about a bus crash in a foreign country.  David’s 4-year old grandson, who he loved and was connected to in a way which sometimes defies description, had received a severe head injury, but rather than go to a hospital, David went into a kind of trance state and suddenly informed the group that the little boy would be “okay”.  The ambulance was sent away.  Yet on return to the United States, it was discovered that David was clearly deteriorating.  He had been unharmed in the accident, yet it was found that he had a traumatic brain injury, a subdural hematoma, and was close to death.  He was bleeding out.  Through a series of energy medicine and western medicine miracles, he was saved.  He had, quite literally, “taken it” from his grandson.  Now, how can this happen?  It cannot happen, right?  This is impossible.  Or is it?

Lucky Girl, my little Pomeranian Poodle mix, did this for me last week.  I know how grateful my little dog has been for the almost 17 years she has spent with me.  I know how she loves me, and how she has loved and been devoted to my daughter, Cameron.  She has been a mighty healer, this little doggie, this six pound Hercules.  And having rescued her as the runt who was left by her Mama, who did not have enough milk for the five dogs she whelped instead of the three promised by the vet and for which she could only care, I nursed the runt myself, waking every two hours to give her a little bottle, keeping her warm on pads and using my own body to nurture her.  I was her mama, and she was my daughter, and she has never let me down.  She has always told me how deeply grateful she has been for her life.  She has been a deeply devoted little doggie.  She has spent most of the last five years in the crook of my arm.

I have nursed my baby for the last year with the congestive heart failure which killed her Mama five years ago.    Lucky has been hanging on, alternating between good days and bad days. Congestive heart failure can be slow going sometimes.

 The night before the Launch Party for my book, First Kill All the Lawyers, I was terribly depressed and frustrated.  Cammie was giving me grief about coming to the party – driving up from San Diego.  It was incomprehensible – how could she even consider not coming?  Theresa had called her, I had talked to her, and she was still giving me grief.  She was tired, why was I making her come?  What about her?   I had never seen her like this.  Something was terribly wrong.  She could not be this self-centered.  As Theresa pointed out:  this was her mother’s day.  She was to suit up, show up, work the room, smile, be supportive, and never let anyone know anything could possibly be wrong.

I went to bed the night before the party quite early.  I had surrendered to the fact that my daughter, to whom my book was dedicated, would not be at my launch.  As usual, I put Lucky on her bed in the kitchen around 10:00 p.m., because her coughing would eventually wake me up.  She suddenly was in bad shape.  Her coughing was different; it had a different texture and quality.  I became worried.  I held her for quite some time until she calmed down.  She had not eaten for several days; not unusual, but difficult because I could not give her any medication unless she ate her food.

Something woke me at 5:00 a.m. with a start.  I knew Lucky was in crisis.  I ran into the kitchen to find her gasping for breath, making a terrible noise in her throat.  She was drowning.  I held her and called the emergency vet, driving the 20 miles at 6:30 a.m. to euthanize my little baby girl.

At 7:09 a.m. on May 4, 2014, I held my baby in my arms while she died.  Her adorable little face was looking into mine, and I said goodbye.  Then I held her for a long, long time, the little dog who had stayed by my side through the profoundly difficult last 17 years of my life.  I thanked her again for her service, for her devotion.  I thanked her for her love and devotion and service to Cameron.

 Euthanasia is the most profoundly beautiful, sane way to say goodbye to suffering pets.  I have said goodbye to 7 pets this way now.  Each one is more beautiful and important than the last.  I grieve and cry, but then I realize the hours of suffering I have spared my little precious child.  It is absurd that we cannot give this to each other as humans but can give this to our animals….

I cannot remember the next hours of this day, but somehow I collected myself enough to show up at the gorgeous, catered event my friends threw for me at 2:00 p.m. in their beautiful Los Angeles home.  About twenty minutes into the event, I felt a warm hand on my arm.  I looked to my right, and saw the most beautiful face I may have ever seen, that of my daughter, Cammie. Rather than a true seeing, I experienced an energetic ‘seeing’ of this love that beamed from my daughter’s face at me, so huge and lovely it almost knocked me down.  It was one of the few energetic experiences of love I have had.  It was almost an indescribable event – I had little recognition of my daughter save for the absolute experience of a love which had no depth, width or breadth.  It was a love of such profundity I believe I held my breath for a long while.  There was a beam of light coming from Cammie’s eyes directly into mine – at least that is what I “saw” – and this love, this extending, uncomplicated love, held me in its’ embrace for the rest of the afternoon.  I was unaware of my daughter, but felt held and supported in this love all through the day.

When Cammie had to leave, she stood in the book signing line and said she had to go.  She had the most beautiful little smile on her face.  The photograph of her shows her hand on my head as she says goodbye, as if in blessing.

Something has shifted in my relationship to my daughter, and it feels like it has shifted forever.  Some great congestion, some complication in our relationship, some stuck place, well, it is gone.  I cannot seem to find the feelings I had before.  I love my daughter the way I loved my little papoose girl who came home from Lenox Hill hospital 25 years ago, all wrapped up in my arms.

And this, I believe, is what love has done.  This, I believe, is why Lucky Girl chose to die for us on this day.   Lucky Girl “took it” as Donna would say.  Because this is what love does.  This is what love did. 


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