Dead vs. Not Dead

My son scratching Wilma's tummy.

My son scratching Wilma’s tummy.

Mrs. Bloomer, our next door neighbor, is awesome. She used to have an equally awesome dog named Wilma. When we moved in, Wilma was already quite old and we had to be gentle with her. Wilma and my son absolutely loved to play together.

One afternoon, I heard barking. At first I tuned it out, but then I realized it had to be coming from Mrs. Bloomer’s condo. With shaking hands and dry mouth, I called her while ringing the doorbell repeatedly. I could hear that the barking was coming from Wilma inside. A sobbing Mrs. Bloomer answered the door. I was so relieved that she was okay that the news of Wilma’s seizure didn’t register at first.

Fortunately, in Southern California, people are pet “caretakers” rather than owners. So it was easy for Mrs. Bloomer to find and call a dog emergency room. A hugely sympathetic vet rushed over to take Wilma in for testing. He comforted Mrs. Bloomer, told me the truth, and whisked an exhausted Wilma away.

Sadly periodic seizures became a way of life for several months. Eventually, Wilma endured one that lasted the entire night. Mrs. Bloomer made the hard decision to put Wilma down. It was a sad day. Everyone loves Mrs. Bloomer and everyone loved Wilma.

The new "System"

The new “System”

And that would be that if I lived in a community of my peers. But I live in a retirement community. Residents started thinking about their mortality. Ed heard Wilma whimpering one day and at first thought it was Mrs. Bloomer. What if?

Everyone agreed it would be a great idea to implement a card system. Each unit would receive a card. Each morning the residents should turn the card to “I’m awake!” so that everyone knows that everyone else is (wait for it…) alive. It was unanimously thought to be a stellar idea. Preparations were made. I asked if, being 40, we could pass. No of course not!

In the end, the system was not implemented. My theory is that there was resistance from the residents who think the “Slow” sign in the driveway cheapens the complex.

So when you are at home thinking about your neighbor’s fence being over the property line, that is what we are thinking about over here in God’s Waiting Room…

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