The wind is banging at the window…wanting to get in. It always sounds so angry.
My dog is afraid of the wind. She hovers close to me on days like today, not content unless her flank is touching my leg. As I fix my hair for work, she sighs and leans into me, finding comfort in my sturdiness and warmth.
The wind jostles something on the roof and a metal ting reverberates through the attic and the bathroom walls. Nikko’s ears go back and she looks at me with pleading eyes; “make it stop,” I imagine her thinking.
I stoop and hug her close while stroking her ears. I tell her it’s just the wind, but she knows. That’s why she’s afraid: something unseen is rattling the walls and making noises she’s not used to. Something she doesn’t understand has changed her world and all she knows to do is seek comfort.
She acts this way during thunderstorms and fireworks, too. In fact, July is a terrifying month for poor Nikko with children lighting firecrackers in our alley and the empty hill next to our lot. She hears a snap and runs to my side with her ears back and her tail tucked underneath her.
We purchased a “Thunder Shirt” to try to help. A Thunder Shirt is a piece of cloth that gets wrapped around the dog’s midsection and secured with Velcro. It calms her slightly, but she still seeks our comfort and won’t let me out of her sight. She would be happier in my lap, but a 70-pound dog on my lap does not make it easy to write or breathe.
No matter what I do, I can’t make the wind stop. I can’t make Nikko understand that the wind won’t hurt her. All I can do is comfort her and let her know I’m here.
It’s that way with grief, too. It grips us, holds us hostage, and all we want is comfort. Cancer has claimed another life…a life I knew…a life I loved. Something I don’t understand has changed my world and all I can do is seek comfort with those I love. They can’t do much. They can’t make the hurt go away, and they can’t explain why, but they can hold me, and through their love give me strength.
Love those around you. Hold them. Tell them how much you care.
Good bye, Susan. You gave joy and love to those around you. Heaven is a little brighter now.