Heading downstairs Jim stopped me and asked me, “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to see Porky,” I replied. I loved spending time with our old Collie. His white and reddish brown and golden hair was so soft. I often would go curl up next to him in the laundry room of the house on 10th Street. He was my protector and defender from those little, mean dogs that the neighbor there used to let out to attack me every time I went to play on the swing set. As a grown up, I now realize those little dogs were just excited because I was outside in the yard. From a child’s point of view, however, they were a pack of little, vicious monsters trying to eat me as they clawed at me and nipped at me. They didn’t do that when Porky was outside. No, they wouldn’t come near me then. He would growl and bark and chase them off! Although, he couldn’t chase very far being tied to my swing set. That dog was my hero.
We had just moved to the new place. It was a big fancy house with no yard for a swing set. I have no memory of the laundry room in that house. I don’t have any memories of where I slept there at all. It was the big house on the corner of 7th Street and Beatty Ave. As I recall, Mom said it was haunted and I remember we moved because my little sister couldn’t sleep. I remember Mom going to the hospital to have her. I remember Mom trying to calm her down and rock her all the time. Poor kid never got any sleep until we moved from there.
Anyway, I digress, why should us moving into the new place stop me from being able to spend time with our beloved family pet? So I told Jim, “I’m going to see Porky.” I started to open the basement door.
“You can’t do that. He’s not there,” Jim replied.
“What? Where is he?” I was so serious when I asked that question. I was about 4 years old and had no memory of taking Porky to the vet to put him down. I remember the station wagon ride. Dad was driving. I remember Jim holding Porky because Porky was getting old and had a hard time moving without being in pain. Porky was originally Jim’s dog from childhood. Porky was probably around 17 years old. His original name was Sport. Jim was too little to be able to say Sport…it came out Porky and so Porky it was from that day forward.
“He’s in Heaven now,” Jim replied.
“In Heaven?”, I asked all wide eyed.
“Yes, Jesus came down and took Porky to Heaven to be with Him. He’s not in any pain anymore,” said Jim. Well that settled it for me. If Jesus came down to take Porky to Heaven to be with Him then he certainly wasn’t in the basement anymore and I didn’t have to worry about poor Porky anymore as Jesus was taking care of Him. Whew! What a relief for my childlike mind and heart back then. I have certainly missed Porky over the years but Jesus had Porky with Him and I was alright with that. That is how my brother, Jim, introduced me to death. It was a positive because it involved Jesus and Jesus loves kids. That’s how I understood that.
Grieving the death of my brother and both parents however is another story. It is very difficult to realize that my two sisters and I are the old generation now in our family. I don’t feel old and I don’t think I look old but truth be told I have already outlived Jim by several years now. He was 13 years my senior. He too was my hero just like his dog. If I became inconsolable in my younger days, Jim knew exactly what to do or say and life would turn right side up again.
As an adult, I miss when we stayed up all night playing Rummy 2000 while drinking pot after pot of coffee and the times he would call me late at night while he was trying to stay awake to keep the wood burner stoked so his kids wouldn’t be cold getting dressed for school in the morning. We talked for hours about cooking, woodworking, gardening, and sometimes he simply read me the JC Whitney Catalog from cover to cover explaining what each car part did in relation to the others and how much they cost. Yeah, I miss all that. No one can take Jim’s place.
Semper Fi, Jim. My love for you knows no bounds.
I am very pleased to offer Bereavement Photos created from your favorite photo or image of your loved one. Over the years I have had requests for this but I did not have the skill set at that time in order to make it happen. Very pleased am I to be able to now say yes to your requests. Call 740-630-7280
Love and Life,