When I was born I had thick black hair and gray eyes. As the years went by, my hair turned dark brown as did my eyes, and when I stood outside it looked like I had red hair. Of course, that wasn't enough for me, I wanted to be a blonde. My mother let me dye my hair when I was in my teens, but she would only let me use browns or black, no blonde.
I remember the first time I told another person "no" when they fully expected me to say yes. There was a moment of silence before I said it, a moment of truth for me to see what I was made of, and then bang! Before I knew it the word "no" just rolled off my tongue, and suddenly I felt very powerful. My heart slowed down, and I stood a little taller, squaring my shoulders as I did. Mildred, the woman to whom I had just told no, had been using me for a long time. She left her two toddler sons with me for what was supposed to be an hour, and turned into four hours. She always had some emergency and needed me to watch the boys. I have raised my children, and I am not very maternal anyhow, so the last job on earth I want to tackle is babysitting.
I have struggled with my dog for the past 13 years regarding her diet. She has a very sensitive digestive system and is always having issues if she eats the wrong thing. She was never happy with dry food, only wet food, so I fed her Purina and Alpo and any other food that was supposed to be good... until she stopped eating it. She was seven, and she had blood in her stool and would not eat, so off we went to the vet. She was diagnosed with colitis, and I was told she was allergic to grain. I began making her food at home, using hamburger well-drained, carrots, and brown rice. She did well on the food, but she was gaining a lot of weight.
When I received a diagnosis of congestive heart failure two years ago, I did not know how to respond except to ask the cardiologist how long I would live. She sort of looked down, and then told me that if I had cancer that was as bad as my heart condition, she would advise me to put my affairs in order. News like that has a huge impact on anyone, but the truth is we are all going to die. We just don't know when. At least I have a vague idea of when and how.
The new Star Wars movie had just been released, and was playing on the television when my mother called from Durango, CO to tell me my father was in the hospital, and that she would keep me updated. I began packing a suitcase while the Italian man I was living with was in the shower. I was afraid of him but could not get away because he wouldn't let me work, have a car, or have my own money. So, I stuffed everything I could in a suitcase and shoved it under the bed, then lay down and pretended I was sleeping.
I knew she was getting older when she didn't have the energy to play in the water anymore when she went to the park. I noticed she was not walking so fast when she took a walk, but would slow down and take her time. She slept more, and then the panting and the problems with breathing started. When things started to change, I didn't pay any attention to it, because we had just moved to a new place in another town. I felt it could be that it was warmer where we move and her dark hair attracted the sun, causing her to get warm and pant. I was more focused on her arthritis that was causing her problems when she would try to get into the car or jump on the bed. Her back haunches would give out and she would fall, always embarrassed that she was not able to make the jump.