The lame deer walked across the road in front of me, her fawn, dappled with snowflakes the shape of small moons leading her, waiting for her. I saw a small child with a sick mother, waiting, understanding even without knowing;
loving without understanding.
The fawn waited. The lame one, the large doe, ribs showing and left front hoof destroyed and flipping over with every step needed time between each step to recover and prepare for the pain it caused. I wanted to approach her and use my hands to comfort her. I wanted to have them both lay down on the lawn of my neighbors and with my hands feel for the injury, perhaps make a cast, or an ace wrap, tell her RICE, give her my recliner and get an xbox for the fawn and let them live in the living room until her foreleg healed.
As I stood there with my bicycle helmet on, I gave her care from my heart in a straight beam that was as much love as I could send anyone and she moved slowly towards the next vine maple that her child was also enjoying, I felt my heart burst from care and knew that tears were coming too, so before I scared them and she felt compelled to run which would have caused me more sadness watching her suffer, I turned the bike around and went home. When I saw my husband I started to cry from that place from deep and he tried to comfort me but I wanted, no needed to cry.
I thought later of the people I had worked with these past few days, the Korean woman with the bad lungs who died 40 minutes after extubation; the drunk who fell and broke his neck and lastly, the sweet woman with no family, who had left everything to the caregiver who was a little afraid the family would balk. All of them, dead. I saw daughters faces as parents lie in bed, gray faced and panting, no amount of morphine going to stop the dead breathing we all have, the breath of a gasping fish. We call it guppy breathing, us old ICU nurses and who ever hears it knows immediately what we mean.
I can’t help the lame deer. I know she lives behind Johns house and feels safe there, but she will probably not make it through the winter. The baby will lose its moon drop spots and grow, hopefully. At night I expect to hear the raucous noise soon of the coyotes, celebrating their next big feast. And I hope its one not two.