Troubling Thoughts

Asher ReflectingIt’s been almost two months since Mama left us. I miss her wild and quiet ways. She moved like a coyote and always had a far away look in her eyes.

The day after Mama died we learned that Shiloh has a cancer that will take her life. How can that be? It’s like all these bad things piled up on little Shi and she can’t ever get a break.

Me and mom watch Shiloh running around in the yard. We know it hurts her to run because she’s so crippled in her back end. Her knee joints don’t bend and her rear feet point out like on a duck. She does her best to keep up with me but she’s like a caboose that got left behind the train.

When I think of all the bad stuff that happened to Shiloh I get really sad. She was born crippled and being locked in a crate for a long time made it much worse. The person who adopted her and Mama from a shelter died leaving her with nobody to care for her. She nearly starved to death and was rescued just in time to save her life.

Shiloh and Mama caught a break when the nice people in California took them in and then brought them to Asherpark. But after a year and a half Mama died and Shiloh learned she has cancer.

One evening I was feeling kinda sad about how life turned out for Shiloh. She must have known I was thinking about her because she came over and sat down beside me.

“What’s wrong, Ash?” she asked.

“I dunno Shi. I feel sad when I think about all the bad stuff that’s happened to you. You’re the nicest little mutt and you don’t deserve all this bad luck,” I said.

“Maybe you’re looking at things the wrong way, Ash.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“If you turn things around you see things differently,” Shi explained. “I could have died when Mama and I were strays at the shelter, but somebody adopted us.”

“Yeah, but then that person died and you were locked in a crate and almost starved,” I blurted out.

“That’s true,” Shiloh said, “but I didn’t starve. The sheriff took me and Mama away from the bad man and the rescue group came and took us to a safe house where we could start to heal.”

I was listening real close and trying to follow her logic.

“Keep talking, Shi,” I said.

“Ash, for every bad thing that has happened to me there have been twice as many good things,” Shi said.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. It was breaking my heart and I just had to say it out loud.

“But you’re gonna die soon, Shiloh. It’s so wrong and it makes me crazy!” I practically shouted.

Shiloh was quiet for a few moments. I was afraid I’d been too honest and regretted what I had said. Then she looked me straight in the eye and smiled.

“We’re all going to die, Ash, even you,” she said. “I may not have a lot of days left, but I know they will be the best days of my life.”

“You’ve only known love, Ash, and I’m happy for you,” Shiloh said. “Mama and I weren’t so lucky. We had a lot of hard times and there wasn’t much love except what we felt for each other. I’ve known more love in my two years at Asherpark than all the earlier years of my life.”

“But aren’t you angry that your life will end sooner than it should?” I asked.

“Not really,” Shiloh said. “I’d rather have ten days of pure joy than ten years of misery.”

I was still thinking about what Shi said when she shook her toy and pranced around the room.

“Life is good, Ash. Be grateful for what you have and you’ll always be happy. I am.”














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