Tommy died of old age, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to be okay with that.
The problem with old age is that you’ve been around long enough to really affect people when you leave. If one of the newborn bunnies had died, it would be sad, but I had a relationship with Tommy. The bunnies don’t even have names yet.
Tommy was loud, tired, gentle and very attached to Hazel. You remember Hazel? The sheep that the little boy who grew up to be a med student called about? That’s what happens when you stick around. You touch people. You affect them. And they miss you when you leave.
Tommy was my inspiration for volunteering at Green Chimneys’. He was the sheep that sealed the deal. I wanted to be there for the seniors, to make their lives a little easier. It was an honor to be take special care of that old guy.
He left behind a stall full of grieving old lady sheeps. Hazel and Phoebe walk over and placing their heads in my hands for me to do that voodoo that I do so well. Laverne keeps her distance. There’s something about accepting one’s frailties that allows you to open your heart to comfort from others. Laverne is just not there yet. Me neither. We’re both working on that.
A friend, a human friend, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer recently and I’ve been watching myself avoid visiting. My friend is dying of old age, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be, except I want to fix him. If I can’t, I don’t want to be there. I’m in training to be an end-of-life companion, a doula for the dying. It’s one thing to think about starting that work with someone I’ve never met. Or working with animals that are passing, but a friend? A friend is a horse of a different color entirely.