There are people who think I find coins because I am looking down all the time. However, the reality is that I never found coins until after my dad died eight years ago which is part of the reason I have felt so strongly that they are left by him. And in the two months or so since I stopped picking them up, I continue to see them, mostly pointing them out to my boyfriend Greg if he is with me. Last week I saw pennies multiple times: one in the dirt at Cleveland High School between the stadiumn and tennis courts where we had gone to play tennis and three at Hurricane's where we went for breakfast on Sunday.
Part of me still feels strange not picking them up but I had decided several months ago that I felt a little silly doing it now. My life has undergone huge changes, continually evolving in front of me, over these eight years since my dad died. I can't express how much I needed those coins during that time. They were the symbolism that held me together some days, the reminder from my dad (someone who was not very happily present in life here on earth) that he was still with me, that he supported me, and that everything would fall together again. While life isn't perfect, some major good changes took place this year (I'll be writing more about them on my birthday next week, December 12) and I don't sense the need to have the coins physically in my hands right now. I feel as if I am to leave them for someone else to pick up.
When my then husband and I went to the city animal shelter to find Chaco a sister in November 2003, I let him pick the dog. He fell in love with a yellow lab partly because while all the other dogs were barking, she wasn't. After all, who wants a dog that barks all the time? While he waited in line to reserve and pay for her, I went back to see her and guess what? She was barking right along with the others. And today at eleven years old she is still barking. For years I joked that she fooled him long enough so she would get a home.
Nestle has long past living her nine lives. In the ten years she's been with me she has: gotten hit by a car, almost gotten hit by another car, eaten a turkey, been attacked by Chaco so violently that she spent three months at the vet recovering, bit Joe so hard when she and Chaco got their choke collars stuck and Joe was trying to separate them that he had to go to the hospital and the bite got reported to animal services who then showed up and told us we had to quarantine her for two weeks to make sure she didn't have rabies, she taught Gidget all her bad habits, and she barks just as much as she did the day she moved in.
In my stairwell hang paintings of all my dogs by artist Kelly Jo Shows of Maine. Each morning I stumble down those stairs on my way out to run. And each morning I say good morning to my German Shepherd Daisy who died on this day.
I don't know why but I can't remember what year Daisy died. It was between 2008 and 2010. I could look up Gidget's vet records and I would know, notably because my then-husband and I got Gidget three weeks after Daisy died.
So much happened in those years and it all blends together in many ways. Daisy died of hemangiosarcoma, an evil cancer of the blood. One day in August a large mass popped out on her hip. We thought she had bumped herself against the patio furniture while playing with Hattie and we refused to believe the oncologist's report that she had terminal cancer.