Thursday, August 4, 2016


Dear Angry Woman on our doorstep.

I understand your disappointment when you arrived with your two teens at my husband's business, only to discover it was closed.   Through the window, I saw your expression of shock turn to anger.  Yes, the Shop was suppose to be open by that hour.  Anyone else might've huffed a little or called to leave a message.  You did not.

My empathy ended the moment you sent your son to our front door.

If it was up to me, no one would've come to the door.  But Hubby wanted me to be fair, to explain the closure was temporary and he'd be back to normal hours tomorrow, even if he didn't feel normal. Plus having just gotten out of the shower, he wasn't fully dressed and I was.

I opened the door to find a young man with an earnest and hopeful expression.  I softly asked if I could help him.  His answer was, "I saw the sign on the door and all.  But can't you just open up for an hour?"

I replied in a calm, slow manner, because honestly, I didn't have much strength left in me after the morning we'd experienced.  I politely replied, "No, I'm sorry.  He's sick.  There's nothing I can do for you." 

Junior stared at me, as if I hadn't heard his demand in the form of a question.  Then he turned to look at a woman who I assume was his mother.  Great, I thought.  Mom will talk him through it.  Great teaching moment on how we can't always have what we want.

Mom glared up at me and screeched, "We drove three hours to get here!"

I hadn't slept well in two nights.  I was emotionally exhausted.  Hubby had thrown his back out the day before and so he had my problems plus one.  Again, in a voice soft and weary I repeated, "I'm sorry.  He's sick.  There's nothing that I can do for you."

Before I could offer the reason for Hubby's illness, she screamed at me sarcastically, "Yeah, I bet you're sorry!"  As she stormed off, she began punching a number into the phone in her hand.

Junior looked from her to me.  I shook my head sadly and simply closed the door.

Hubby heard it all.  He was shocked, but told me to let it go.

Fifteen minutes later the Shop phone rang and Hubby answered it.  While the vehicle was gone, he figured it might be the family trying to reason with him, since I was useless.  It was Dad.  In an incredulous voice, he shared that his wife and children had come to make a purchase, but he'd been told the Shop was closed.  Tears in his eyes, Hubby calmly explained that while he knew the man's family was upset at their "wasted" trip,  we'd just had to put down our wonderful Lab of 12.5 years and he was simply too distraught and distracted to be in the Shop.  (The one where the dog went to work with him, every day).  Hubby added, "We'd literally just come in from burying that dog out back when they arrived."

Dad replied with a sarcastic sneer, "You're closed because your dog died?"

Ah, the Compassionate Family.

Hubby tried to apologize again, saying he hoped the family would come back another day so he could set the daughter up properly.  He got a grunt in reply.  I'm sure "Dad" thought he could talk some sense into Hubby.

Today Hubby asked me to help send an e-mail the woman who'd been so angry at our door.  I had to read it twice, then take a deep breath.  Not only did she proclaim her disappointment after traveling 2 hours (hmm, told me 3) she was furious that no one had thought to change the message on the answering machine.  Because she had called and the hours were listed.  The sign on the door didn't matter to her...we should've changed the message on the machine.  The kicker was, "And that lady at the door was so rude to us!"  (Um, that would be me.  The one who'd cried so hard she could barely speak above a whisper).

She'd sent the e-mail five minutes after leaving our driveway.  I have a feeling she thought we'd see it and change our minds.

Hubby took the high road.  He apologized, adding that we'd lost our beloved dog of 12.5 years and had been burying him not 5 minutes before they arrived.  That had taken a toll.  He's a better person than me.  I know "Dad" probably shared his call with Mom, and they both rolled their eyes.  Hubby added he hoped they would return so he could help the girl.

That's why I love him.  In the face of ignorance, he can let it roll off him.  Me?  My reply would've been different.

"Dear Angry Lady,

I'm sorry, but we just received your e-mail, 24 hours later.  Unlike most Americans, we do not have a cell phone in our hand 24/7.  When you arrived at the Shop, we had just laid to rest the best buddy man could have.  It appears you were fortunate enough to have children.  We were not.  Therefore that DOG was a member of our family.  He went everywhere with us.  His manners were impeccable and he charmed everyone he came in contact with.  The fact that he became ill so suddenly and the only "cure" was to let him go, was heartbreaking. 

We literally had just come into the house after burying our boy out back, next to his Dad, Smokey.  Now that's two former "co-workers" my husband has lost and whom he must pass every morning on his way in to work.  My husband, by the way,  threw out his back the day before.  So he had pain piled on top of pain.  And as we made our way to the house, he asked me to go turn the Shop sign to "Closed", so no one would wait for him.  I decided to add the sign taped to the front door, in case the one in the window was missed.  It took everything in me to write it out and honestly, a three year old could've done a better job with printing.  Changing the answering machine message never even entered my mind.

So when you sent your child to my front door, I started not to answer.  Hubby was just out of the shower and since I can't do his job, I didn't want to have to explain that and disappoint someone.  But Hubby wants his customers to be happy, so he asked me to answer the door.  For the record, I did that for him.  Not for you.   Had I known what was coming, I would've walked away and pretended I couldn't hear him...because I was crying.

But I wiped my tears and tried.  Granted, I was not enthusiastic.  But I was not rude.  Rude would've been to offer a verbal reply when you screeched at me...and oh boy, did I ever want to.  What kind of Mother offers up that kind of example when their child doesn't get his way?  I feel sorry for you.  Which is why I did what my loving husband asked and opened the door to you.  To explain.  Even when you didn't want to listen because it wasn't what you wanted to hear.  I feel sorry for you twice.  It's obvious that "Dad" the caller has no compassion either.  Sneering at someone who opens up about their loss while apologizing for inconvenience caused to you is not a man.  I hope your children will find some example of compassion in their young lives before they become demanding.

In closing, kindly remember.  Life is filled with surprises.  Some good, some bad.  We will be disappointed some days and victorious on others.  I hope you find some fulfillment in your choices.  I have.

I have the love of a good husband.  I had the love of a good dog.  That's what counts in life.


The rude woman at the door whose heart was breaking but who tried to be kind anyhow."


Thom Robinson said...

OMG. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for both of you. I was in tears reading this. I hope you both are doing better and always keep every memory of him with you. There are no words to ease the pain. All I can say is be strong. My thoughts are always with you.

e ho Ľomaha me ka maluhia Beau. Aloha Hank Bully and Thom.

hope said...

Thanks Thom...I just needed to get it out. I'll never understand selfish people, even if I'm not hurting. We'll be okay. Tears come and go but memories last forever and that boy was our comic relief. :) Funny, I find it comforting to look at him on my mouse pad...there are 3 photos of him and the words, "All you need is love and a dog." I've had both. Hubby and I were talking and he said he didn't want another dog because this hurt too much. Between Bou and his Dad Smokey, we've had a chocolate Lab in the house for 17 years. I replied that in time, we will because we're dog people...and they need us too. He said wryly,"Let's get a tortoise. They live to be'll outlive us." I joked that by the time another dog was to pass on, maybe we'd be getting senile and it wouldn't hit as hard. :) Or we'll have the only dog with a pet tortoise. As long as we can laugh, it's okay. But your words meant the world to me today. Thank you. Hug Hank extra hard for me and give Bully a belly rub.

Ponita in Real Life said...

I can't believe how cold hearted those folks were! They were the rude ones, not you. I am so sorry they caused you both more pain and anguish at a time when your hearts were breaking.

And although it is so hard to lose the pets we cherish because their lives are so much shorter than ours, I put money on you getting another dog eventually. Once the sharpness of the grief dulls, thoughts of another pup will creep in. You can't keep a dog away from a dog person. They keep us honest and I think make us better people. Each one occupies a corner of our hearts; so much so, that after sharing our lives with many dogs, our hearts are more like theirs, open and unconditional, than like a human who has never known the joyful love and enthusiastic slobber of a happy dog.

While I love dogs, I am more of a cat person, and have only been without one for 2 weeks in my entire life. And I don't ever have just one, because they are also in need of companionship when I am at work. Plus they are live entertainment and keep me amused. All the pets I have had, the cats, dogs, horses, birds, and turtles, have all been family.

hope said...

Ponita: her reply to Hubby was she "totally understood but I was just so frustrated at having traveled there." Um yeah. Tough day for you. *insert eye roll*

Oh, there will be another dog. Sadly, I'd tried to "plan" ahead of this and we'd bred Bou with another Lab,but she didn't take. (Weirder yet, she had a "false" pregnancy). But Hubby's not ready yet, as a lot of the housebreaking would fall to him and working in a shop alone, that might get difficult. I understand that you don't "replace" one pet with make more room in your heart. I asked today how long housebreaking took and Hubby answered without hesitation. Told him I refuse to keep giving back vacation (we can only carry over 45 days: I now earn a month off a year and always lose a week). I figure I can take a couple of weeks to welcome another 4 legged kid. I just have to wait for Hubby to catch up to that. Thanks for helps!