|Abby by the "Squirrel Tree"|
While I was deciding what to do with my life, I helped my mom out with some small chores here and there since I had free time. As my dad grew sicker, his healthcare demands grew larger. I would pick up prescriptions or some small items from the grocery store, for example. I would then visit for a while at my mom’s. I liked the opportunity to visit my Baby Girl. Of course she was happy to see me. She would wag her tail when I entered the door and then wait for me to walk over to pet her.
I’d go in the den where my parents often were and visited. Abby almost always found her way by my side and quietly lay by my feet, touching either me or the chair I was in. She didn’t make a big production of moving by my side. She would quietly toddle over to my chair and lay down. It was her way of establishing a connection with me and saying “Hello.”
Abby would occasionally want to go out front. She wasn’t as forceful letting me know compared to her younger days but she made her point. I’d stand out front with her and watch her sniff around. My mom said she did something different out front when I was there. Abby went much further down the hill compared to when I wasn’t there. Normally at that stage in her life, she stuck close to the house. The arthritis limited her mobility and she knew better than to go too far.
But with me there, she went ¾ of the way down the hill and would sit. She would stay there for 10 minutes or more. She would once in a while turn her head to make sure I was there and then keep staring out into the distance without focusing on anything in particular. She sat motionless.
I often wondered what was going on in her head. I speculated that she was thinking of her younger days when she was playing with me and her toys out front. She may have been thinking of the times she was roughhousing with Father or chasing Andy around. Of course, she could have been thinking about those squirrels she never quite reach. I’d like to believe she was thinking of the happy times.
Maybe because of all those fun times in the front yard, merely being in that front yard brought her to her “Happy Place.” Being out front may have brought her bliss. These moments were dwindling so I let them last as long as they could. The sun was setting on her.