I'm not normally a superstitious person. I've broken many a mirror, stepped on cracks, followed a black cat. Last Monday morning, I left on my way to work and heard a strange wheezing sound from our front yard. Tucked under our monkey grass border was our neighbor's shih tzu, Cookie. I instantly knew that Cookie was dying. And as my husband carried her over to our neighbor's house and knocked on the door, I sadly looked at her lolling tongue, dirty, foamy mouth and the labored rise and fall of her chest. It wouldn't be long for Cookie.
I went on to work with a heavy heart. As I creeped into my office later than usual, I noticed that the rosemary bush on my desk—an impromptu Christmas tree—that had been green and bushy on Friday was now thoroughly wilted. And not just wilted, but black. Another rosemary we had bought at the same time was on our mantel at home and showed no signs of a similar descent. I sighed and slipped the dead, dreary plant under my desk, out of sight.
When I arrived back home in the evening, there was no sign of Cookie, so I assumed the worst. (And our neighbors still haven't mentioned Cookie's demise.) About an hour later, my cell phone rang. My mom told me that my grandma, my MawMaw, had just had a massive heart attack. Is it true that things happen in threes?
Now almost a week later, my MawMaw lies unresponsive in a coma in a hospital in South Texas. The prognosis, which started out as possibly hopeful on Monday night, is now without hope; she retains involuntary functions such as breathing and heartbeat, but there is no sign of higher brain function. And yet, while the body still lives, there is little to be done, except in the slow, painful choices of passive euthanasia. Remove the ventilator. Stop the medications. And then wait.
And wait. And wait.