Hard times should come and go. But sometimes hard times linger and only grow worse. When there is long-suffering the initial hard times Are looked back at fondly as being the good old days.
New angel, Sabrina's family has seen enough suffering to equal the quota for an entire sub-Asian village. Four years ago Sabrina’s father Ward suffered a debilitating stroke. Sabrina's mama Dolores and papa Ward had promised one another they would never allow the other to be placed in a home. But when you're young, you have no idea just how horrible a debilitating illness can be, and the enormous effort it takes to care for a soul who can no longer do so for themselves.
The worst part of Papa Ward’s stroke was that it stole his memory. His body was the same. To Sabrina and her littermates, he smelled the same. But he was no longer there. Something had stolen his body and was using it.
Each morning Mama Delores would dress Papa ward. She would make his food and feed him. She would take him wherever he needed to go. As the years progressed, Papa Ward lost control of his bodily functions. Sometimes he knew he needed to go to the bathroom but not what to do when he got in there. Inevitably there would be a big mess. Other times he would soak through his Depends. Hollywood spends a fortune on screenwriters who develop horror stories. For both Mama Dolores and papa Ward this was beyond any horror they could imagine.
To add to the problems Sabrina and her two littermates Tori and AJ were getting older with their medical concerns. There was arthritis, Cushing's disease, kidney disease, dementia, ear infections, and those little everyday things that lead to vet visits and more debt in what would become a forever growing mountain of bills.
Sabrina and papa Ward grew worse in tandem. Both had dementia and interrupting Mama Dolores’ few hours of sleep a night. Papa woke her with his yelling and setting off the electric mat on the floor that signaled Mama Delores that he was wandering off, and Sabrina did so with her late-night pacing as she tried to identify something that would trigger her memory.
There comes the point during every caregivers’ service when they realize they can no longer properly tend for their patient. Each day Ward became more confrontational, His incontinence grew worse, and He had to be helped wherever he went. Being in Mama Dolores’ care became detrimental to both their health. It took her a long time, to decide to put Ward in a care facility so he could receive the treatment he needed. But she knew she had no choice.
Papa Ward was put in a hospital while they waited for a bed at home to become available. But hospitals want money. And one thing ward and Mama Dolores did not have a lot of was money. There also was a question of insurance coverage. Mama Dolores’ head was spinning. They never had children, so she had to face this problem alone. With the help of a senior attorney, Papa was finally placed in a home. But everything came with a cost. It was More money than Mama Dolores had.
There was also the guilt and sadness. Mama Dolores could keep herself busy during the day but the nights were long and lonely.
Sabrina did everything she could to extend her time with her mom. She knew she was needed, but her heartbeats were long past the expiration date. One day last week Sabrina was no longer strong enough to withstand the Bridge’s powerful pull. She could not walk and would not eat. Everything pained her. And she was exhausted. Momma Delores knew she had to let Sabrina go. We were left to wonder How much heartbreak one soul could take?
All the pups at the bridge knew what happened to Sabrina and her parents. Being angels, we had received a lot of prayers for Papa Ward, Sabrina, and their pack.
Like all dogs, Sabrina wanted to get back to her mom. She insisted Mama Dolores needed her urgently. But I had something to show her.
We went back down the steps and then followed the river to a particular Grove. I told Sabrina to wait. I would not be far away.
Suddenly, before her eyes, a dark shape resembling Papa Ward appeared. He stroked Sabrina and said how much he missed her. Sabrina had waited so long for this moment. She asked her papa if he had passed.
“Not yet,” he said, “But part of me has. When you lose an arm or a leg, it comes to the bridge to wait for you. When you lose your memory, it comes here too. And that's all I am Sabrina your dad's memory. I can't cross the bridge yet because I am not whole. So I wait here. Would you like to wait with me?”
Of course, Sabrina did. And that is where I left them with Papa Ward little more than a shadow softly petting Angel Sabrina's head as they waited for better days