With a spoken expletive I set down my book, throw the blanket to the side, swing my legs off the couch and walk over to let him out. My husband laughs or shakes his head because he knows it frustrates the hell out of me.
After I let the dog out I can’t really relax because at some point he will scratch at the door to come back inside. Sometimes it is just after a few minutes. Sometimes he meanders around the yard sniffing, exploring corners he has surely explored before. So I sit, half settled in and wait.
The year after my dad died I couldn’t settle. I wandered. Sometimes I would walk for hours with my dog. We walked and walked heading nowhere, getting lost while I tried to find myself. If I had to guess, I would say these were Milo’s favorite days. Providing companionship to his owner, fulfilling his life’s work…and walking. He loves walking.
After months of these long walks the need to wander began to dissipate. The parts of me that had scattered with my father’s death began to fall into place. The feelings of restlessness were being replaced with some sort of contentment. I was settling in.
But then, the doctor called. My mom held her phone while I listened on speaker. He said “I’m sorry to tell you this Mrs. Crosby; the CAT scan shows a tumor on your pancreas. This is why you’ve not been feeling well the past few months.”
She and I stood in my kitchen, breathing slowly while trying to take this in. “What does this mean? So what will happen now?” My mother asks.
“Well, we can forward this onto your doctor. You can meet and discuss next steps. Do you have a doctor you’d like us to send the results?”
“Yes!” She says with confidence. “Send them to Dr. Kaplan. He was my husband’s doctor.”
It was like the dog scratching at the back door. Life had just settled down.