February, March, and April are particularly difficult months for me. February 12 is the day my wife died, March 13 is her birthday, and April 8 is our wedding anniversary. So I tend toward the morbid until those dates pass. Each year (it’s been five now since she died), becomes a bit easier, and something happened a few days ago that lightened my mood. It takes a bit of explanation. (Big surprise, right?)
My older son is single and has some physical and emotional issues. He and his mother had a rocky … no, that’s not being honest … a difficult relationship. He is something of a loner, and a score of years ago, we were pleased when he got a German Shepard/Husky cross, which he named Lieba. She was a lively pup of about seven months at the time. She became his friend, his companion, and at times, his connection with reality. He tended her needs, including walking for exercise, but she gave back more than she received.
Lieba was truly a wonderful dog. Gentle. Patient. Protective. Loving. She grew to be quite sizeable, and in her later years, a little overweight. She was my son’s constant companion, and often his only companion. When she was around eighteen, she developed cancer, and her decline was difficult to watch. She tried her best to continue to be his shadow, but when she began hiding in the closet, we knew the inevitable was near. The day he took her to the vet to end her pain, Betty and I were unhappy that she was disappearing from our lives, but mostly we were apprehensive over how our son would handle the loss of what sometimes appeared to be his only friend.
Shortly after Lieba’s death, our son picked up and moved to Texas, heightening our fear for him. However, he coped and built a life for himself there. When his mother died, I don’t believe my son actually dealt with the fact. Over time, his attitude toward her has mellowed, and when we spoke on the phone the other day, he planted a great picture in my mind.
“Dad, I’ve been thinking about Mom a lot lately, and do you know what I see? I see Lieba at her side, taking care of her.”
I don’t know what he could have said that would be more uplifting.
Thanks for indulging me in something so personal.
Next week: Another Flash Fiction Story
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