My sister died three years ago. It was a very sad time for me, loaded with lots of “issues”, mainly being that my big sister was schizophrenic/alcoholic and try as I might for most of my life, I just wasn’t able to take care of her. For most of her life, most of her family wasn’t willing to try. I tried. She actually made it thirteen years without a drink. (She gets that credit, not me.) But then there was that day when she didn’t. (I don’t get that credit, but have taken it on anyway from time to time.) It was pretty much a downhill full speed ahead train wreck after that. I had to walk away before she took me with her. So, when she died, it marked the end of a long grief process for me.
In spite of all the drama, I knew she loved me. She used to say that if there was such a thing as reincarnation, the only way she would come back is if she could be my dog. My dogs have pretty good lives, if I do say so myself. I consider it quite a compliment that she agreed. Deb had an exceptional IQ of about a gazillion. She used to read the dictionary, which led to one of my nicknames for her, Webster.
So, on this one particular day three years ago, just shortly after she died, and just shortly before the Bon Voyage party I was throwing in her honor, I was feeling very, very sorry for myself. Thanksgiving was on the horizon and I did not feel the least little bit thankful for anything. I was waiting on the mail to be delivered, hoping and praying the ink cartridges I’d ordered would arrive so that I didn’t have to drive 60 miles to try to find some. That meant that I couldn’t get out bright and early and get the day going. That meant I had time to think about how totally awful I felt.
One thing led to another, and I just started praying. “I have a big fat whole in my heart where nobody loves me” I explained, as though God, His Great Omnipotence, needed my personal assessment of the situation. “I need a new friend, some one to love me, some one to fill that big whole. And I mean really love me, too, none of this other relationship crap I’ve played at, I mean really love me.” That should get the point across to Mr. All Knowing. I went on – “I don’t even care if it’snot a man – I don’t. I’d prefer a man, you know, but I just don’t care. I want love. Real love. And I don’t care if he’s white. He can be black. Or brown. Or spotted for all I care. I just want love.”
I cried for a while. And after a while, I did feel comforted. Time had passed and the mail was likely delivered. I dried my eyes. I looked at my sister’s picture and said, “I miss you, Webster.” I blew my nose. “Hmm,” I thought, “Webster sure would be a good name for a dog.” I laughed and left to check the mail and get on with the day.
Where I lived at the time was way out in the wilds of nowhere on the edge of the national forest. There were about fifteen homes in the area, but none more than about a half of a mile from where we kept a community mail box area. I checked my box, and there was a little key for me to go over to the other area where they put any packages you get. Yeehaw – my ink arrived. I walked over to the package area and checked for my box number. Some little movement caught my eye - I looked down, and there, huddled by the post was a teensy, weensy, little black puppy!
“Webster” I exclaimed. Then, I thought I ought to check – yep, he’s a Webster. I went straight to the vet to have him checked out – he weighed three pounds. He was so tiny. Nobody was sure how old he was, but the vet estimated he was probably six weeks and could get his first shots. As it turns out, he wasn’t six weeks. Probably more like three. By the time he finished his final little boy shots, he weighed a whopping thirty-five pounds. Today, he weighs a whopping one hundred pounds. I best as I can tell, he’s probably part lab, part great dane. He’s huge. Tall, long legs, great big huge head, a tongue that hangs out the side of his mouth as he runs across an open field. He truly believes that everyone is much happier if he has his mouth wrapped gently around your arm.He complains loudly, much as my sister often did. He has the nastiest, silent but deadly farts, much as my sister often did. In the final analysis, he’s everything I could ever want in a dog. Instead of missing my sister, I was able to fill that time with watching a puppy grow up having a total puppy blast in the wide open spaces of the north Georgia mountains. As for that big fat whole in my heart where nobody loved me, it’s been filled up and then some