The Perfect Day

The dog was dying.  His owner decided to give his pet a perfect day.  i’d read this sweet story of how one man prepared for the loss of a beloved companion a few years ago.

Since then, i’ve given this some thought, and have planned to do something similar for my old pup, Mr. Pickles.  Rather than wait, i’ve thrown in elements of ‘perfect days’ for my dog as we go about the business of living – why give him just one?  Three weeks ago on a hot June day, Studley and i decided Mr. P needed to go out for ice cream…

He loved it…

Mr. P gets ice cream

Having a dinner of Mexican food and killer margaritas with my children, Studley, and his daughter, we discussed the elements of Mr. Pickles perfect day.  Discussing all the things he loves, we tried to lay out the things he most loves… Cheese.  Chasing a ball.  Chasing the cat*.  Naps.  Splashing in water.  Riding in the jeep.  Eating his own turds.**

i was interrupted during dinner by a call from my niece, DQ.  Mom had been admitted to the hospital earlier this week with fluid in her lungs.  Stepping out to take the call, i got some fairly grim news.  The lung cancer is probably back, and not treatable.  Mom was feeling rotten, also battling a staph infection in her blood.  We made plans to meet with a counselor from hospice.

Returning to the table, i kept the news to myself for a bit – not wanting to take a steaming shit on a really good time.  i filled my children in on the news from The Park when we got home.

The Boy:  Maybe it’s time to craft a Perfect Day for Granny…

daisyfae:  i’ve already done a bit of that… but yeah, we could do more!

In January, i brought Mom to visit when my sister, T and her partner came to town for a long weekend.  We spoiled Mom with attention, and food and entertainment.  Not to mention blessed quiet, which is in short supply in her current living arrangements.

Last May, i had her up for another fun-filled weekend!  Cooked steaks on the grill on a Friday night, then went to a local women’s league luncheon the next day, where she was showered with attention amidst a great deal of silliness.  Putting on two ridiculous Derby hats that i’d crafted, we went to a bourbon tasting – where she enjoyed a perfect mint julep.  Sunday morning, we brought her to the horse show, where she got to see her “baby” compete in the arena with all the other kids…

The prognosis for Mom isn’t great, but it seems the cancer is slow moving.  She’ll need more in-home skilled nursing care in the future.  But she’s not quite dead yet, and finding ways to give her elements of “The Perfect Day” is deeply embedded in my brain.

Derby Day

 * The Boy thought it would be most fun if we tape the cats back legs together, allowing Mr. Pickles a better chance to “play”.  Although Huey is a team player, i’m not sure i’ll go that far…

** Nope.  Not gonna happen.

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22 thoughts on “The Perfect Day

    • We just came back from visiting Mom in the hospital – she’s likely to be released tomorrow to go home. i have NEVER laughed so hard during a hospital visit! Mom entertained my kids, and the nursing staff, with some tales and exploits… and my spawn also got Mom giggling as well… The primary care nurse came in and said “This sounds like where the party is!” i’m thinking we have a lot of laughs left ahead of us…

  1. I’m sorry Daisyfae.

    I try to make every day a “perfect day” as tomorrow is not promised.
    Does it happen every day? Nope.
    But I found that the trick is to find the perfect moments within the shitstorm.
    Those are easier to find and much more valuable to me.

    Wishing you many perfect moments with all that you love.

    • As a culture, we are pretty rotten at accepting the reality of death. Knowing that it’s always around the corner, and that we never know when, is important to making, or even recognizing, those moments. i think you get it – probably more so than most because your losses hit far too soon…

  2. Sounds like the best way to go.And, while you’re dreaming up all these fun times, you are having some yourself. That’s always important.Like plugging a battery into a charger…Greetings to your Mom.

    • Mom is much better today – surprised she was not released from the hospital. Perhaps because she has the staff laughing so hard at her antics and stories? And yes, when it’s done with genuine affection, we gain as much as we give. Probably a bit more…

  3. Keep giving your mama and puppy perfect days. I was always glad we got everyone together the Christmas before The Boyo died. The picture of you and your mom in the hats is tres precious.

    • i’m striving for a few ‘good moments’ – if i wait until i can orchestrate ‘perfect days’, it may be too late! i remember your family Christmas, and it was so very good that you were able to make that happen… As for the hats, i was able to repurpose my bonnet for another event a couple weeks later. Can’t bring myself to tear that one apart just yet, but Momma’s “Peep-encrusted Bonnet” has been torn down…

  4. Wow! No offense but Mr. Pickles is looking kind of old. You could do something about that gray, you know.

    Look at you two. A chip of the old block, you are. Do I need to remind you about where the apple falls?

    • Stop talkin’ shit about my dog! i would like to note that your curly gray locks are quite fetching, sir! i’d rather see a man with naturally gray hair, than a guy with a lame dip-top dye job. As for my own hairs? Ummm… not quite ready to fly my silver flag just yet…

      Mom is a hoot! We had such a good time today at the hospital. i swear, it was the best hospital visit ever…

      • I’m glad to hear. Who deserves a big laugh more than your moms. Any other candidates come to mind?

        I was once very, very upset that my hair turned gray but I made peace with it and have decided it’s better that falling out.

        I haven’t heard from our Blogdaddy in over a year. Are you in touch? Hope he’s swell.

        • Other candidates? Every other sorry bastard on that ward today…. hospitals are fucking depressing, and visitors being quietly grim as they bring over priced flowers to the residents aren’t really helping much. We had a picnic – when they brought mom’s lunch, i sent the kids down to the cafeteria to bring back lunch.

          i track the blogfather quite closely — on the book of faces, my dear! your wife can tell you pretty much what he’s up to, what he’s reading, and what he had for dinner! Facebook serves a purpose… Saw him in December at his sister’s b-day party, too. Had planned to visit him in Barcelona this summer, but my calendar did not cooperate – we’ll likely make a trip next year!

  5. Hey, girl. So sorry to hear about your mama, but man isn’t it great when the family does come together and in such a wonderful, fun way? I wish it was like that all the time, for every family visit. I don’t mind a dog with gray in his beard, not at all. Wait, are we talking real dogs? So . . . glad to connect up with you again. We’ve been at this awhile now, haven’t we?

    • She’s still rockin’ and rollin’ – at least for the near future! i often say that she’s held together with the 65 years of tar and nicotine she ingested…. Gotta say that my dog (real one! 🙂 ) has been the best companion i could ever want! He looks rather distinguished with the gray, i think!

      Saw that you were back writing again and wanted to stop by! Yeah…. we’ve been out here awhile! Good to see you back! i keep thinking of just closing up shop, but know that there will come a time when i need to write for therapy again!

  6. I’m so glad to read all these comments and replies. It is true that we as a culture do not acknowledge the reality and inevitability of death. I think it is very important to try to have as much joy every day as you can pack in. sounds like your mother has gotten that down, I mean, parties in the hospital? How wonderful for you to have that memory too.

    The hardest part for you in regards to both your pup and your mom will be allowing them to move on into their next stage.

    • i have always seen endings… with every beginning, i always begin to prepare for the end. i have often been told this is depressing and morbid and a very sad approach to life (as if i could stop doing this…). i don’t think so. in fact, i think this has freed me to enjoy moments – knowing, and accepting, the transience of the good stuff. knowing that the bad stuff won’t last. this has gotten me through some rough times, and allowed me to truly appreciate the moment…

      You nailed the tough part. Learning to tell myself “It isn’t about me. They are the ones preparing to check out. i need to let them do it their way.” It’s not like i won’t get my turn someday! 🙂

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