Nora wasn’t crying about Hoover. Her face showed worry, she would talk about it. She knew there was a chance he could die. But she wouldn’t cry. This went on for weeks.
The day we found out our cancer surviving dog ate a sock and would die without surgery, you could tell she was gravely concerned, but she trooped across the street to play Candyland at the neighbor’s while we went to talk options and she did not cry.
It’s not like she hasn’t seen us crying over this, we’ve talked about our sadness and explained our tears. It was like she was reserving judgement on how upset she needed to be, or maybe she felt the need to be strong for us.
That evening after surgery to remove the sock, when things started to look better for H-man, she said matter of factly, “I thought he was going to die today.”
“Me, too,” I said.
“Me, too,” Ben said.
Hoover has made a great recovery since then. Once he came home and started to seem like his old self, we got a report from school that Nora had a good cry during aftercare about Hoover. I was so relieved.
And it made perfect sense. She was doing exactly what I do. I hang on as long as I can, asking questions, analyzing the situation, worrying, but holding on. Then, when I know enough to know I’ll make it through, I throw myself in Ben’s arms and cry it all out.
We’re not completely out of the woods yet. There is still processing to be done. Naturally, jokes are one way to do that. Gemela, our friend and Nora’s aftercare provider, relayed the following doozy Nora told earlier this week:
Nora: Here’s a sad joke. Knock, knock.
Gemela: Who’s there?
Nora: Three legged-dog.
Gemela: Three legged-dog who?
Nora: My dog has cancer.
Not exactly a knee slapper. More like a gut punch. But it’s all part of the process.