Well, it’s Monday morning, and I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to live normally without my best friend. I can barely stand to sit at the computer because he used to curl up at my feet. I can barely stand to walk into our bathroom because that’s where he slept at night, and, at the end, where we had to confine him. I can barely stand to cook…or put dirty dishes in the dishwasher…or watch a movie with my family…or, let’s get real — I can barely stand to breathe sometimes.
Having said all that, I am okay. Not great. Not anywhere near approaching “normal” enthusiastic self — but time does march on.
My husband and I are having what we call “moments.” I’ll be doing just fine, when all of a sudden I see his food bowl that we can’t bear to put up yet, and then the tears flow. There are moments when the reality — he’s NOT coming back, EVER (on this earth) — hits me like a semi-truck. At those times I feel like I did when I took a nose-dive on the tennis court — it feels like the breath has been knocked out of me. The in-between times, we’re just living life, although sometimes a bit differently.
- Today I’m going to move my computer desk to a different area of the house. I haven’t quite decided where to put it, but I need to change its location. I need a new spot for it so I can create new memories with my other sweet doggy friend.
- I got a new purse. Yes, it’s irrational — I couldn’t bear to look at the purse I was carrying when we went to the vet on Saturday. It was an old purse I’d had for about five years and was in the “backpack” style. Shiner unzipped that purse and stuck his head in it looking for gum, candy, mints, cough drops, dollar bills, even chapstick so many times. So I got a new purse and put up the old one. I’m going to save it because in a strange way it reminds me of him.
I saved the sweats I had on when we took him to the vet. I hugged him tight and kissed his sweet forehead before bolting out of the room. I couldn’t stay…but my sweet husband was with him to the end. He told me that when they gave him the sedative to make him sleepy, he laid down on the blanket and sighed a deep, restful, contented sigh. He was happy, and the sedative made his pain go away. My husband said he hadn’t realized how much pain he was in until he saw his little face relax. After they administered the sedative, they gave him the dose of barbituates that took him home to the Lord. He died at 11:17 am. I know this because, even though I was sitting outside in the truck, I felt it. I can’t explain it. But all of a sudden I felt him, and my daughter’s words came back to me:
Home is where Shiner is.”
Home — our heavenly home — is indeed where Shiner is. He’s chasing tennis balls in fields of gold. Oh, how he used to run like the wind! Now he can do that again.
Hear this: he was dying anyway. He was losing weight at an alarming rate; I doubt he would have made it through another month. I’ve come to understand that his bowel incontinence was God’s way of letting me know that it was time to let him go. If it weren’t for that, we would have kept him going. To what end? To pain and suffering? That last morning the mess was so monumental that my daughter — ever the comedian — called it “The Grand Finale.” My sweet doggy didn’t need to keep living that way. He was embarrassed. But my husband cleaned him a little outside and then brought him in to take a very long, warm shower, which he liked very much. I think the warm water felt wonderful to his aching bones.
My only regret is I wish there was some way to KNOW what it was that was slowly eating away at his insides. Cancer? Organ failure? We’ll never know. But I can rest in knowing that it doesn’t matter because now the Lord, the one who created him in the first place, is now his caretaker. And what a life that must be!
I may or may not take a break from blogging and facebooking for awhile. There is a giant empty space in my heart, and I don’t want to bore or depress you. Just know that the Lord is near. Know that your prayers made a huge difference and gave us the backbone to do what we had to do. They are what bring us peace in between the moments of grief. I appreciate them, and you, more than you know. (on the other hand, writing is a release. So you may see more posts than usual! I haven’t felt my way yet through this new fog that is enveloping my life.)
I’ll end on a happy note. Our other doggy is a constant comfort. She is polar opposite to Shiner’s food-gobbling, ball chasing, alpha-dog self. Whereas we could set the clock by Shiner’s “please feed me NOW” behavior at precisely 7am and 5pm, Lacee is more nonchalant about food. What she craves is lovin! I’m afraid during the last month or two when Shiner took up so much of our time that she felt a bit left out. Now I can make it up to her and give her all the snugglin she needs. I think she knows that he isn’t coming back. Yesterday she spent some time sniffing all over the bathroom floor and rubbing all over the coat my husband wore when we took Shiner in to the vet for the last time. So we’re all giving each other some hugs and some grace. And the Lord is giving us wonderful memories that come up at the perfect times to lift us out of our foggy moments.