Saturday would have been our daughter Ruth’s eighteenth birthday. Instead, it marks the ten years she’s been gone. What more is there to say? Except that I am still unable to comprehend her absence. Not a day goes by that I don’t imagine how she might look, what hurdles she might have overcome, what goals she might have held for her future.
Friends recently held a yard sale to raise money for a local school, Chop Point. Having just helped a family member move, I seized the opportunity to pare back some of my own clutter.
It was the simplest of feasts. My family gathered around my mom’s table in Connecticut to celebrate Thanksgiving. Sitting at the head, Mom reached for her camera in the flickering candlelight and snapped our picture. Satisfied, she was. So pleased to be sharing this banquet of gratitude together, despite her being too weak to cook and having no appetite. At 65, Mom had lost her strength and desire for food to cancer.
“Whatever you do, don’t get a golden retriever,” my mom said. “They shed too much.” For once, my preternaturally insightful mom was wrong. Not about the shedding. Sushi, the happy-go-lucky, 2-year-old golden retriever we adopted from a breeder shed like a kennel full of dogs. On Nair. What she was wrong about was the not getting her.