The Art of Racing in the Rain~
I have just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I had given the book to my father for Christmas. I asked him the other night if he had finished the book. “Oh no”, he exclaimed, “ I am parceling it out. I don’t want it to end!” No further incentive was needed, I headed for the library the next day and checked the book out.
Unlike my father, I devoured the book in two hours on my flight to Phoenix. For those who have not read the book, it is a story written entirely from a dog’s perspective. If you have ever loved and lost a dog, it is a must read. If you have never had a dog, it is a must read!
A heart-wrenching story of love, loyalty, hope, and what it takes to be a true champion -- to stay the course even in the rain.
I closed my eyes allowing the story to melt into my bones and thought about my father and his champion race. How he waited thirty years for the love of his life to fall back in love with him. It took Alzheimer’s slow and agonizing progression to wind itself around the parts of my mother’s brain that held fast to her anger, unhappiness and the stories that no longer served her. Cell by cell this relentless disease dissolved those memories and left in its wake a heart, tender and open, to loving in ways she had long forgotten.
Dad welcomed her newly found love for him without anger, bitterness, or grief over time lost. He gratefully and happily accepted mom’s love and the opportunity to care for her. I watched them from a distance, much like “Enzo” the dog in the book, feeling privileged to witness their bittersweet race. They had three precious years before he had to move her into assisted living; where it is now raining in their final laps. I am cheering them both on for the love rekindled between them, for the compassion, and tenderness my father shows my mother each time he visits her, and for my mother’s grace and courage as she struggles to communicate in a world that no longer makes sense.
I pause in my reflection and ask, “How well am I racing in the rain?”