Sunday, December 21, 2008

Marley & Me

Greetings from the mountains.

We are already enjoying our time away. This afternoon we spent time lunching in the local town, then perusing the local art galleries trying to secure some last Christmas presents.

We arrived to the house late this afternoon and have been relaxing ever since. My book of choice for the next few days is Marley & Me.

I was reading another book that I just couldn’t get in to, when Marley & Me sucked me in. The book is written by John Grogan, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Page three he writes about his childhood dog, “My mother would later tell me, ‘In fifty years of marriage, I’ve only seen your father cry twice. The first time was when we lost Mary Ann’ – my sister who was stillborn. ‘The second time was the day Shaun died.'"

Nothing like connecting with me in the Preface. He goes on to chronicle how he and his wife secured the newest member of their family, Marley. And how Marley goes through the highs and lows of their marriage with them. Marley for me is a cross between our two cats, Cierra and Kenzie. All the weird, quarky Marley moments attributed to Cierra and the sweet, tender moments attributed to Kenzie.

I’ll digress for a minute to say those girls have been my lifeline these past nine months. I read blogs of women of have experienced the loss of a child and say how they couldn’t go on without their living children. I feel similarly about my cats, to the point I said to Tim last week, how do people come home with nothing to love on…no child, no animal. Let’s just say our girls have gotten their fair share of attention these past few months.

The similarities between Grogan’s story and ours are uncanny, down the murder that occurred feet from their home right before they moved into their first house. A murder which no one, the seller, the agent, or the inspector, spoke of until they moved in. Our story involved a young girl. Sparing the details, I’ll share that I used to look out our back window those first few weeks and become very upset. It was February and Tim would always say to me, “You’ll plant some flowers in the spring out there as a way of honoring her.”

Grogan goes on to tell of the excitement of their pregnancy and how Marley rejoiced with them. And then how Marley grieved along side them when they lost their precious baby to a miscarriage. Animals are uniquely sensitive to our emotions. Recently Kenzie had a lot of bloodwork done. The doctor said, “I want to check her blood levels against what we saw in March [their bloodwork following the plant consumption after Cara’s death.] It showed that Kenzie was very stressed.” “Yes,” I said quietly, “that’s when we lost our daughter.”

I remember those days following Cara’s death. At one point with a room full of people, Kenzie, who under those circumstances would normally have made her presence scarce, climbed in my lap, as if to say we need each other now.

One more Kenzie story before I sign off. Our beloved cats are banished to the laundry room in the evenings, because their hyperactivity seems to display around 2:00 am. On the weekends, whoever wakes up first, will let the felines out for their breakfast and morning frolicking. Kenzie, who is not content until both of us are up, will go upstairs to meow at the bedroom door until the sleeping spouse arises. A spouse who is greeted with a glimpse of Kenzie’s tail flying down the stairs which communicates, “we are all up now, let’s play.”

In the months following Cara’s death, we noticed something strange about Kenzie. We will both be awake, and yet Kenzie will still be upstairs crying. A couple of times I have gone up there to tell her that everyone is up, and I find her outside the nursery.

As we sit in our mountain cabin each devouring our books, we occasionally stop to reflect how we are ready to know our next chapter. We have lived some beautiful chapters already, the story of a pregnancy filled with love and anticipation followed by pages of heartbreak in burying our daughter and finding life without her. She is very much a part of our lives. We are three. But we are ready for the next part, the story that continues to unfold for our family. What does it hold? When will we have some direction? Some indication of that which we so desperately long to have?


Carly said...

This post has silenced me. What beauty.

I came in to say thank you for sending me love in a comment on my blog.

I will come back to read more of this story and learn more about your sweetest baby.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Carly x

Leslie Parkins said...

I agree with how keen animals can be to our emotions. I'm thankful you have so much love to come home to (and I feel the same about Grant and I). We listened to Marley and Me a few years ago on audiobook and we cried so's difficult to go see the movie but I do want to see it. On a side note, I'm glad you got those kitties a new bed, they seem to be enjoying it!