|Babe waiting for Norma Jean to come home|
It was a hard choice, that of trying to help by forcing a needy creature into my sister's life, or allowing her to grieve for awhile over her losses before attempting to rescue another dog. She's always had a dog, with only a few weeks between the loss of one and the adoption of another. But this was different. Pete, her life partner, had helped her through their shared loss with each one, until now. Norma Jean is the only one left behind, and I could not bear to think of her walking through that empty house, alone, once I left to come back to my own life. So I insisted, and she didn't resist.
Babe was in need of a lot of TLC that first week, and gradually as she began to recover, it was obvious to me that she would fill an important role in Norma Jean's life once I left. And the other dog she is fostering, Chester, a 9- or 10-year-old chihuahua, is resilient and will be fine whether she allows him to be adopted into another home or if she adopts him herself. She doesn't need to decide right now.
|Chester, whose original owner died|
But you know, they are Babe and Chester, not replacements for the loss of another dog, Moose, that Norma Jean grieves for and still misses every single moment of every single day. She was ready to lose Pete, because they had had years and months to prepare for the moment he died, and all the necessary words and farewells had been shared between them, and his expected passing was peaceful. He even told her how glad he was that she had Moose, what a comfort he would be for her. It was not to be. In that cruel instant when he ran after a rabbit and into the path of a speeding car in front of their home, all that changed. She screamed helplessly as all the pieces fell into place and ended Moose's life.
We are all still grieving over the loss of our beloved Pete, that goes without saying. We Stewarts will gather in a week's time in Texas to laugh together and share our memories of him, and Norma Jean will be brave and strong. Her daughter Allison and her granddaughter Lexie will be there. We will all be there, but Norma Jean would have traveled to Texas with Moose in her arms and would have stroked him as she allowed the tears to fall. It was not to be.
Did I do the wrong thing by rushing the introduction of these creatures into her life, thereby skewing the grieving process? I am consumed with dread, now wondering if my desire to have my sister not be alone caused a ripple of pain in the universe that would otherwise have healed up much better without my interference.