Isn't that what parents do?
I still think that must be the case... and yet, it isn't here. Not right now. Not for the past few days, anyway. We told the kids on Friday that Zadie was at the end. But they already knew.
Her blindness combined with dementia combined with incontinence and an inability to go on walks anymore...
And yet, for the past week, since we knew that our days with Zadie were numbered, my kids have been the ones comforting me.
Just like they did with Cooper when he passed three years ago. I actually just typed "two years" before realizing it was actually three years ago... it doesn't feel like that long. I still miss him. I still dream about him. I still include his name in things... I still can't believe he's gone.
I can't believe they're gone.
Last night, I whispered all of the things I remembered about her life, starting with the beginning when we first met. I was about to turn twenty-one. I was a child. So was she.
"Do you remember?" I asked her.
She couldn't hear anymore. And in the last six months had gone completely blind, but she looked at me and she listened. I swear to god she did.
Zadie has always been an empath and mind reader... when I was sad in my early twenties (and also mid twenties and late twenties and early thirties and mid thirties) she would get sick. Violently sick. She would throw up if I was crying. Like clockwork every time. Before I met Hal she spent every night asleep at my feet. When Cooper was dying, she sat by his side and licked his eyes.
She let the kids pet her and hold her and carry her around the house. She let them dress her up like a lady and wherever I was writing, she would follow me and plunk down at my feet.
I've cried buckets over the last few days... the kids have been incredibly resilient. Maybe it's because, in the same way I feel the need to rally with smiles and high fives when they're down... they want to do the same for me.
Archer sat with me in the hallway and let me cry in his arms over the weekend and when I looked up to see if he was crying, I saw that he wasn't... he just smiled, instead. Patted me on the back. Let me cry.
When I asked her what the village was, she said, "it's where all the dogs go when they die..."
I don't remember.
***I have no poker face when it comes to this stuff. Not in front of my kids, anyway. I am snotting all over myself and I dgaf because this really fucking sad and I am sad and it's okay to be sad and Fable just painted me a picture of a rainbow and a smily face as I was writing the above sentence and thank you, Fable. I love you. Fable. I love your rainbow.
"Cooper is waiting for her, mama. He's waiting for her at The Village."