The Ali-Mack Frouple

Mack once said that of her best friends, she knew Ali “the weirdest.” Although they were never elementary-school classmates, the girls first met all the way back in kindergarten at Dubois Elementary. After a few years, Ali moved to a new house and a new school and disappeared for a spell. A year or so later, Ali was assigned to Mack’s summer softball team. Those girls were reunited as giggling teammates on the Izzles and as friends over the course of several summers, although Mack teasingly disapproved of Ali’s affinity for the Cubs. But when summer faded, so did their friendship, as they lived in different neighborhoods and attended different schools. Yet during their preteen years, these two social butterflies had so many friends in common that they frequently ended up at the same birthday parties and sleepovers. Summer softball always reunited them. And an easiness between them ever fostered a quick resumption of their friendship after time spent mostly apart.

In August 2008, Mack and Ali were reunited for good at Springfield High School, and their friendship flourished. They were still leading somewhat separate lives due to involvement in different extracurricular activities and sports; Mack was so very annoyed that Ali chose soccer over softball! But for the first time, they were classmates. For the first time, they were reading and learning together. For the first time, they had a steady connection to each other. For Mack, Ali was one of those easy friends that luckily kept bouncing in and out of her life; and each time they bounced into each other, Mack became more attached. By the end of sophomore year, Mack bounced Ali into a Big-Mack, forever hug and “collected” Ali for keeps.

The British television show Skins, intellectual late-night discussions about television and books in Ali’s basement, and heart-to-heart talks about friend drama, travel abroad, and the future elevated the Mack and Ali friendship from high school buddies to best friends. Ali called them a frouple—two inseparable friends who completed each other’s sentences, accepted and adopted each other’s quirks, and married each other’s families. High school friends are the friends that help shape the adult underneath your awkward and uncertain teenaged skin. Ali and Mack bounced into each other for good at the perfect time; and they were so very perfect for each other. They accepted and loved each other unconditionally, but they opened their hearts and minds to learning from each other, as well. They served as each other’s best role models. Ali was a studious and goal-oriented model for Mack’s far too leisurely and haphazard approach to school work and to life in general. Mack was carefree and an unapologetic goofball model for Ali’s serious nature and more circumspect interactions with the world. By the end of junior year, I noticed a bond between Mack and Ali that had the character of a lifelong friendship. And I am certain that by then, Mack already understood that she and Ali would be silly old ladies together.

Since losing our Mack, I have mourned for my sweet girl, for myself, and for my family, but I have also mourned for Mack’s best friends. Life has dealt them a cruel and painful blow, and I feel such sorrow for them all. But where the best friends are concerned, I have shed the most tears for Mack’s dear Ali, and I have long searched for some understanding for the depth of my emotion in this regard. Over these past months, reflecting on my grief and grappling with the meaning of Mack’s death for all of us, a story of Ali’s personal loss continually pangs my heart. When Ali boldly applied for an adventurous study-abroad program in Budapest, Hungary, Mack was the only person she told; and when Ali learned of her acceptance into the program, Mack was gone. This story haunts me. It is a bitter reminder that life as we know it can change in an instant, and it illustrates the high stakes of our human connections. But it also reveals to me the significance of Mack’s life in the lives of the people who loved her.

Just weeks after losing her best friend, Ali bravely accepted the challenge of that daring study abroad. She knew it would be hard to leave family and friends during such an emotionally difficult time for her, but she went to Budapest for herself, and she went to Budapest for Mack. She embraced the experience with courage, with humor, and with Mack in her heart. I have no doubt that Mack’s spirit provided Ali with important emotional support during those months abroad, and I am absolutely certain that Mack was a constant, giggling whisper in Ali’s ear, reminding her to laugh too loud, drink too much, and have way too much fun.

So once again we see that Mack collected the best and the bravest of best friends. We can see how Mack enriched the lives of her best friends, too. And, perhaps equally important, we can see and pay homage to the magical power of friendships in life and for an eternity. Just ask Ali, she’ll be bouncing to the beat of the Ali-Mack Frouple many, many moons from now when she’s a silly old lady remembering a cherished best friend.

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Brand new Springfield High School Graduates, June 2012.

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Mack’s Best Friends: M-Maggie-Margaret

They met when they were toddlers; and very different toddler characters, they were. Mack was quiet, physical, and sporty. Maggie was talkative, dainty, and artistic. But their parents were friends and would soon become Springfield family, and so these toddling happy girls were destined to be linked together. Oh, but never mind that the start of their friendship was engineered by their parents. Never mind that they were so dissimilar. Those little girls were fast friends for fun, alacritous allies in mischief, and fierce and faithful champions of each other. Although their membership in our Springfield family of close friends was a given, M & M existed on a best-friend spiritual plane of their own making, and they forged their forever bond with each other on their own unique terms.

Together, Mack and Maggie were soccer teammates on the Fireballs, enthusiastic consumers of Thai food, and co-conspirators in epic kitchen messes, which sometimes resulted in edible cookies but mostly just ended with flour fights, colorful frivolity, and cherished memories of time spent with each other. Together, they paid homage to middle school fashion by sporting side bangs and skinny jeans, were confidants about boyfriends and girl drama, adopted each other’s pets as their own, kept each other’s secrets under tight lips and behind poker faces, and shared a smart sense of sarcasm and zany humor, with no end of inside jokes between them. Apart, Mack and Maggie attended different elementary schools, engaged in vastly dissimilar extracurricular activities, and attended to different personal interests and priorities. Yet they always made time for each other, made a habit of lunch dates at Taste of Thai (their favorite restaurant), and frequently schemed up opportunities for engaging together within their overlapping but varied circles of friends.

Much of the bond between M & M was in their hearts for only the two of them to see, but as a mother who watched them grow from six-year-old Fireballs into brilliant and beautiful young women, I think I know something of their friendship. First, I attribute their forever connection to acceptance and unconditional love. They took each other at face value, as they were, never judging or reprimanding when one of them made a poor decision, never pressuring the other to meet somewhere in the middle of the differences between them. Instead, they always preferred to provide unyielding and unquestioning support to each other and to be comfortable in any differences that might otherwise separate them. Yet I also think they viewed each other from a unique perspective, vastly different from all of their other friends. For example, to Maggie, Mack was Mackenzie; and to Mack, Maggie was Margaret. It was almost as if they took each other more seriously, respecting each other for what they would ultimately be capable of as adults when they left nicknames and their childhood homes behind them.

Second, these two girls each possessed an infectious affinity for childhood, each ever embracing her inner Peter Pan. Together, they were professional finders of fun in even the simple and mundane activities of life, like drinking sodas after school or trekking to Walgreens to buy junk food. When Maggie turned nineteen in 2012 just weeks after the girls had moved away to college (both in Missouri), Mack tweeted: “How the fuck is @maggieerickson 19? Can we just be 6 again please?” And Maggie was equally annoyed at being so old. But Mack & Maggie were both committed to keeping childhood with them into young adulthood and beyond; and that shared affinity was made all the more powerful an influence in their lives because they had shared childhood together. This past December, Maggie graduated from the University of Missouri, and I know exactly what Mack would have said to her: “How the fuck are you a college graduate? Can we just be 6 again please?”

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Perhaps somewhere in the ostensible contradiction between their adult-level of respect for each other and their shared affinity for childhood fun is a useful clue for all of us about how to forge friendships that really matter. The friendship between M and M, Mack and Maggie, and Mackenzie and Margaret was truly one for an eternity. Mack was a brilliant collector of best friends; and her best friendship with M-Maggie-Margaret is another beautiful testament of her gifts in that regard.

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An example of their silly, inside joking: a random word game they carried on in social media and in text messaging

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in St. Louis, summer 2013

Oh, how I wish that these girls were six-years-old again, and that we could all relive those wonderful Springfield years together.

Mack’s Best Friends: Justice

By the time Mack was ten and fully immersed in competitive basketball, she knew every player her own age and she was very aware of all of the best older players in the region. At tournaments, she enjoyed watching elite older players, and on the drive home she talked about them, analyzing their shooting styles, ball-handling skills, and prospects for playing at the college level. But after one tournament in the summer of 2006, in Bloomington, Illinois, it was a younger player who caught Mack’s attention; and all the way home she could not stop talking about her. Mack was in awe of this younger player partly because her approach to the game was so different. Mack was a pure point guard, a methodical executor of an offensive game plan and a skilled passer, who was more tickled by a slick assist than by hitting her own deep, three-point shot. In contrast, this younger player demanded the ball, relied on her athletic instincts, and was fast and fearless; and Mack respected her athleticism and full-throttle style. But mostly, Mack connected with this player’s joyful exuberance, as she saw a kid who shared her own passion for basketball and for life. Mack not only wanted to play ball with this player, but she wanted to make her a friend, too.

That player’s name was Justice; and little did she know in the summer of 2006 that she was in Mack’s sights, hand-picked for Mack’s impressive collection of best friends. But when Justice arrived at Franklin Middle School as a seventh grader in the fall of 2007, Mack—the big, confident eighth grader—immediately scooped up the new kid in her long arms and “collected” her right away. Justice probably did not know what had hit her; and it took about two minutes before those crazy girls became two peas in a pod. Mack made friends effortlessly, but I never saw such a fast and easy friendship as the one between Mack and Justice. They were soul sisters from the start and had more fun than any two girls in the history of American middle school. Together they were loud and joyful, took advantage of every second to breathe in and experience the world around them, and left a trail of mischief and merriment in their wake. Some of my favorite life moments were spent driving between our house and Justice’s house on the opposite side of Springfield with those high-spirited and noisy girls in my backseat.

In that first magical year as friends, Mack and Justice were still very different basketball players, but that was about the only real difference between them. They were both confident and mentally tough, cheerful, unfazed by popularity and preteen drama, smart but lazy students, witty and sarcastic. In the hallways at school, on the volleyball, basketball, and track teams, and after school and on weekends, Mack and Justice were joined at the hip. Justice became a part of Mack’s eighth-grade friend circle, and Mack spent time with Justice’s group of seventh grade friends as well. And, finally, those girls got to play some basketball together—at Franklin basketball practices (although Coach Bitner would not let them guard one another because they giggled way too much) and on a winning Gus Macker team one summer.

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Mack, Mariah, Corrine, and Justice

But most of the growing-up memories Mack and Justice made together had absolutely nothing to do with sports. They teased and pushed one another, looked out for each other, and accepted each other unconditionally. They were just kids together, acting like fools, making messes, and laughing…so much laughing…loud, hysterical laughing. I could fill a dozen or more blogs with Mack-and-Justice stories, but I will now offer three that reveal something of the nature of the relationship between these special kids.

Good-natured teasing: One weekday evening as I was preparing dinner, Mack came rumbling down the stairs and into the kitchen. She called for my attention, turned around, and bent over slightly, sticking out her rear end. She pointed to her butt, wrinkled up her brow, and asked: “Is my butt big?” I chuckled and told her that she had inherited some booty from my side of the family. Mack smiled and said, “Dang, I guess Justice is right. Today she was behind me going up the stairs between classes and super loud she yelled ‘Mack! You got some cakes!!’” Mack and I then laughed our big asses off; and Mack forever acknowledged that she did, indeed, have some cakes. It was a favorite expression she employed whenever she was shopping for a new pair of American Eagle jeans. Mack and Justice were always able to engage in such teasing, and I always admired that about them.

Well-placed loyalties: After just one year of attending school together at Franklin, Mack went to Springfield High School; and a year later, Justice went to rival Southeast High School across town. They competed against each other in basketball, and they each embraced the ferocious spirit of their respective schools. Mack was a true Senator. Justice was a true Spartan. And those girls talked a whole lot of smack to each other. But even though they were competitors and lived their school rivalries, they remained fierce supporters of one another, often cheering for each other from the bleachers when they were not in direct competition. They had only been school chums for one year, but their friendship not only survived the school separation, it grew stronger during their high school years. One year at the boys’ basketball City Tournament (which is a huge deal for school spirit and town sports’ rivalries in Springfield, just so you know), Mack made a “dangerous” decision to sit in the Southeast section with her friend. When I questioned her intent, Mack said something like: “City is so much fun, and I just gotta do one with J.C.” Justice provided a Spartan blue t-shirt and Mack joined the Blue Crew on one of the three nights of the tourney, only to be caught “blue” handed yuckin’ it up with Justice in a photo that was posted on the school district website. Some people were appalled that Mack would cross that line, and her basketball coach was horrified by the photo, but when Mack saw it, she shrugged her shoulders and without any tone of apology at all, she said: “oops.”traitor

Friends for Life: Mack and Justice worked hard to spend as much time together as they could over the years. Justice was a frequent weekend guest in our home, Mack hung out in Justice’s basement during the summer, and they included each other in various outings with their own friend groups.  Yet sometimes their busy teenager lives interfered, and weeks might pass between face-to-face visits; and then Mack would get lonely for Justice (or vice versa) and say, “I need me some Justice time.” What always amazed me about those girls is that no matter the distance, no matter the time, together they were always at ease. It was as if no time had ever passed at all. Even after Mack went off to Truman State, we moved to St. Louis, and Justice went to college in Kansas City, the girls enjoyed an easy and comfortable friendship that never faded. They really were two peas in a pod. They were life friends. They were sisters.

Many people we meet in life pass by us with little notice. Others play an important role for a time and then fade away. If we are lucky, we will know a few that grab onto our hearts and stay forever. Justice was one of those friends for Mack. Mack was one of those friends for Justice. And that is a beautiful thing.

p.s. I am so very grateful that Justice was a part of Mack’s life, and, in some ways, I now believe that Mack collected Justice not only for herself but for me as well. Justice’s spirit and strength at Mack’s memorial service brought me some solace in those terrible first days without Mack. Her random text messages over the past year have been precious to me, providing humor and support. And the way that she has chosen to honor her best friend by living a good and joyful life is an inspiration to me and should be an inspiration for us all.

Justice’s beautiful and funny eulogy to Mack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9e2NIGnbww

#Projectmack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKd5NWQm9ss

And some social media exchanges that make me smile:

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Cousins’ Weekend

In the McDermott family, Cousins’ Weekend is a cherished family tradition that has had a magical impact on the personal connections that eighteen McDermott cousins, now ranging in age from five to twenty-seven, feel for each other. In 1989, Bill and Dianne, Mack’s paternal grandparents, took the first two McDermott cousins—babies Jacquie and Savannah—to their Wisconsin cabin for a weekend; and that trip became an annual event around which five McDermott families planned their summers. Mack attended her first Cousin’s Weekend in 1995, and for the next eighteen years it was a highlight of each summer for her. During those weekends, she became a strong swimmer, failed at water skiing (the only sport she never conquered), lived on hot dogs and chips, fell in love with all of her cousins, and became the magnetic ringleader of the little ones.

On the south bank of Fish Lake, just two miles or so southwest of the Wisconsin hamlet of Hancock (population 417) the McDermott family cabin sits nestled among giant and fragrant pine trees. The humble, two-bedroom, wood-frame house, which is perched high up over the lake, accommodates the large and boisterous McDermott clan for one long weekend every August. There is a multi-level deck, a long wooden staircase down to the boat dock, an inflatable pier, a tree house, a private loft for the teenagers, and a small patio and yard. Therefore, the large group can spread out a bit, but it’s always crowded, ever noisy, and a raucous good time. Now in its twenty-sixth year, Cousins’ Weekend is a chaotic, full-blown McDermott party to which nearly all of the some thirty McDermott clan members make annual pilgrimage to central Wisconsin to share food, to spend time on the lake, to take impromptu walks and bike rides, to loudly talk over each other, to tell bad jokes and to laugh, and to roast marshmallows around a small fire on the beach at night.

Although she generally steered clear of large and loud gatherings, Mack enjoyed the hell out of Cousins’ Weekend. She loved the water, tubing, the late-night card games, the walks to the neighboring campground snack bar, listening to her Uncle Brian play guitar, organizing various ball games in the yard, teasing her grandpa and her uncles, and sharing her electronic devices with the youngest kids and teaching them tricks with a basketball. Mack adored each of her crazy cousins, and the feeling was mutual. And although it is probably wrong for me to say it out loud, let alone to put it into writing, Cousins’ Weekend never officially began until Macko arrived. The younger cousins would eagerly await her arrival, as Mack was frequently delayed by a basketball tournament, and there were always squeals of delight when their tall and smiley big cousin walked through the cabin’s front door.

This weekend, the cousin gathering at the McDermott cabin is underway. It is the same chaotic, fun, and magical time it always has been. Mack’s grandparents and father are there, as are three uncles, two aunts, and fifteen McDermott cousins. Those rambunctious cousins are swimming, boating, playing silly games, and laughing. Cousins’ Weekend is about fun and time together, after all. Yet there is also a dark little cloud that has settled over the cabin and the lake and the woods. Macko is missing and, in many ways, Cousins’ Weekend will never be the same again.

But it is absolutely true that Cousin Macko would be so very happy to know that the tradition continues and that far too many people are crammed into that cabin, together once again, catching up with each other before the summer ends and all of them are busy with their own lives. Mack would be excited to know the little ones are learning how to water ski. She would chuckle to learn that Grandpa Bill is still trying to shake the older kids off of the tube into the cold water behind the boat’s wake. She would be happy that hot dogs and toasted marshmallows are being consumed with reckless abandon and that someone (probably Cousin Sam) is telling a very bad joke that has made everyone laugh and at least one little cousin fart.

But Mack would want her cousins to know that Cousins’ Weekend was “da bestest,” that they were all—each and every one of them—important to her, and that she always enjoyed her time with them, even though it was often too short. And, perhaps most importantly, Macko would want her cousins to know that much of what she understood about people and the world around her she learned from them; and she gained most of that useful knowledge during those magical meetings with them at Fish Lake in the middle of Wisconsin.

Cousins’ Weekend, 2005 (Mack is in the middle in white t-shirt, sporting her corn-row braids)…

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Cousins’ Weekend, 2011. No doubt, Mack is telling one of her uncles “what’s up” as Kevin and Grandma Dianne look on…

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Here is Mack (in a blue tank top) leading the pack of kiddos in the yard and on the beach…

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Fun on the inflatable pier and slide. Mack’s back is to the camera, as she gets ready to jump into the lake…

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In this photo, Sam is hanging on tight to Macko to keep her from leaving…

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And, finally, a picture that for me sums up the value of Cousins’ Weekend. Here Mack is on the right with Kelty on the left, and little Zachary sandwiched in between his two adoring and fun older cousins…

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The Power of a Photograph

Dear Mack,

This would make you crazy, I know, but I have surrounded myself with pictures of you. They give me some comfort throughout each day without you and provide a warm sense that you are still with me and watching over me. Ok, you can stop making fun of me now, young lady. But seriously, I wanted to tell you that there is one photograph to which I have become particularly attached. And, more importantly, I wanted to tell you why I love it so much.a favorite photo 2

I picked up this cute little metal frame at World Market; it looks a little antiquey and it has a small metal hook tied with a rough-hewn rope. It is a two-sided frame. On one side, I placed one of your wallet-sized senior pictures. I adore this picture, because it is so casual and shows you wearing your favorite Chuck Taylor high tops. In the photo that I placed on the other side of this little frame, you are all dolled-up ready for prom, and I am a privileged interloper in the shot. The two photos provided the contrasting images of you that I deliberately sought; one casual and one fancy, together in a convenient portable frame. This frame I carry around with me like a security blanket. It spends time in the kitchen when I am cooking, sits on the arm of my favorite leather chair when I am reading or watching a basketball game, and spends the night on my bedside table.a favorite photo 3

Lately, I have noticed that it is the prom picture side that I choose to more frequently display; and this is the picture that has become so important to me. I noticed myself getting lost in that photograph, and I determined to give some serious thought about why I was finding is so compelling. I stared at it for a long, long while, and I embraced the powerful way in which it encapsulates so many of my memories of you.

My dear, sweet Mack, I love this picture of us because:

  1. You look absolutely beautiful. Even though beauty was not important to you and it is the least important reason why you were so special, I always thought you were beautiful. Gorgeous skin. Adorable freckles. Silky smooth and shiny hair. Statuesque physique. Here you are in this photo without a speck of makeup; and here you are looking absolutely perfect. You said you felt uncomfortable in that dress, but you do not look awkward at all. You were a natural beauty.
  2. It shows the ridiculous size difference between us that you always found so amusing. I think I might have been standing in a bit of a hole here, but in the interest of full disclosure I will remind you that you were wearing flat sandals so you would not be taller than Abhinav. Yet even if I would have been standing on that concrete ledge next to my feet, you still would have towered over me. This picture reminds me that our size difference made your special mom hugs possible. I loved it when you would rest your chin hard on the top of my head, squeeze me, and call me a “small huggable person.” You did it the day your dad took this photo, just before you left our front yard for dinner and the prom.a favorite photo
  3. You are holding your damn phone! Even there, all dressed up for prom, the phone is present. I am pretty sure I did not notice you were holding it when we took the picture. Surely, I would have chastised you and made you put it down for two seconds. But now, seeing it in this context, it makes me smile.
  4. Our favorite family hosta plant is bursting out of the ground behind us. It was only spring and there it is already well on the way to its annual takeover of the flower bed. We used to laugh and laugh about that stupid plant, because you said it epitomized our silly employment of the term “from the Pleistocene Epoch” for everything we saw that was abnormally humongous. You made me laugh, Mack. You even made hostas funny. I loved that about you.
  5. In this photo, I am one happy mom. Being your momma bear was a tremendous joy and watching you grow and participate in the important events of your life were the happiest days of my life. You and Sissy were my best accomplishments. You and Sissy provided the most important pleasures in my life. I am so grateful for the experiences you gave me; and I am grateful now for photographs like this one that help me relive the best twenty years of my life when I was the mother of two precious girls.

N. P. Fizz

I think you can tell a great deal about people by how they care for and treat animals. And if I am correct, which I frequently am, and loving animals really is an indicator of the size and character of a person’s heart, then Mack’s heart was as big and as pure as any human heart has the capacity to be. She swooned for animals, big and small, and she absolutely adored all of the pets we had over the years. Our family cats, dogs, rodents, and even fish commanded her full attention and undying love. She never got tired of them, and she was never too busy to scoop them up or lay down on the floor to wrestle with them. Mack carried on full conversations with our pets, shared her bed and her pillows with them, missed them terribly when she was away, and demanded her friends to interact with them and to love them as well.pugs

Our family’s pair of Pugs, Napoleon and Josephine, came to live with us in October 1998, and from their arrival onward, they were a wonder and a delight to Mack. They were just puppies when we adopted them, about a year-old I believe, and Mack was smitten. I think she mastered her fine art of hugging on those two little, spoiled pups. Mack never showed favoritism with our pets, but she and Napoleon always had a special bond; and after we lost Josephine too early at the age of just ten, the friendship between Napoleon and Mack deepened. When Mack started to listen to rap music early in middle school, she began referring to Napoleon as N. P. Fizz (and sometimes N. P. Fizzle), and she always said it with such gansta style. Mack believed that since Napoleon was the coolest dog on the earth, he deserved a name to reflect his puppy panache. That dog frequently had his tongue or a bottom tooth hanging out, so I think it suited him, too. I am also pretty certain that Napoleon liked his glitzy name, because everything that Mack did or said was okay by him. His curly tail and his fat little rump shook like mad every time Mack talked to him and whenever he heard her arriving through the front door.

Napoleon 3When N. P. Fizz got older and began sporting a distinguished gray muzzle, Mack’s boyfriend Abhinav began calling him The Professor. Mack liked the idea that the old guy had gotten some respectability, but to her, even in his dotage, he remained N. P. Fizz. In the spring of 2011, Napoleon had lost quite a bit of spring in his step, and the vet diagnosed him with diabetes. Mack learned how to give him his insulin, and she helped me cook a bland mixture of lean ground beef and rice to assist his diet. Not long after the diabetes diagnosis, we noticed a lump on the poor little guy’s belly, and the vet’s news this time was even worse. He had a cancerous tumor, and the diabetes would complicate surgery. There was really nothing we could do but to make him comfortable. We were all devastated that our time with our happy, easy-going Pug was almost over, but Mack decided to make the most of every day she had left with him.

Over the course of the next several months, Mack took on the role of hospice. The first thing she did every morning was to cuddle with her N. P. Fizz; and every night when she got home, the first order of business was to locate him and plop down on the floor beside him. Each night, she watched TV with Napoleon on the living room floor, and then she would carry him up to her room and deposit him on a comfortable pillow on her bed. Her interaction with him kept him going, and most of the summer and fall there was a twinkle in his eye because of her. He always ate when she was with him, although Mack would gently chastise him for spitting out the rice in favor of the ground beef. In the fall, Napoleon’s health worsened. But as the tumor grew, as his body odor intensified, and as his fat and happy form withered away, Mack never stopped caring for him. She gave him frequent baths, she talked to him about better days, and she loved him unconditionally. So many other kids would have cast that poor little sick dog aside because he was smelly and old. But not Mack. She did not waste one minute with her best little Pug friend.Back Camera

The week before Napoleon passed, he gathered up some energy for brief moments at a time and reminded us all of how funny he was. That week he carried around his stuffed green duck, a favorite toy. He chomped on a rawhide until it was gooey. He pranced after Mack. And he ate more hamburger and rice than he had eaten in months. I know for certain that N. P. Fizz lasted longer than he should have because he did not want to leave Mack. She had wanted to be there for him when he was feeling his worst, and Napoleon knew how special that was. That last week of spunk was all for her. Napoleon died in his sleep on Thursday night, October 22, 2011. Mack had been his buddy to the end, and there is no doubt that he died knowing that he was very much loved. Watching Mack care for N. P. Fizz in those final months warmed my heart. And it serves as yet another shining example of the sweet and gentle spirit and the full size and capacity of my little girl’s heart.