It’s always longer than I intend between these posts. Honestly, I haven’t been too far up in my Bible lately, though I still ponder all the questions I have about God and Jesus and Scripture. Truthfully, I haven’t had much to say to God lately. Not in a bad way. I guess we’ve been in one of those comfortable silences.
But that’s neither here nor there. Something happened today, along with the fact that it’s Easter, that brought me roaring back to Jesus. We lost one of our dachshunds. Anyone who knows me for at least five minutes knows I’m constantly covered in dog hair because we have four beasts that we adore. My husband brought Buddy and Trouble, our weenies, into the relationship 10 years ago, and he’d had them for quite a long time before that. We also have Daisy, a 15-year-old basenji who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. And we can’t forget Olive the Carolina Dog; she’s the youngest, healthiest of the bunch and most likely to eat a pound of butter off the kitchen island (nightmare).
A year or so ago, Trouble was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He’d started retaining fluid, so he was on three medications for his heart and for the fluid retention. While it felt really fast that he went downhill and had to be put to sleep this weekend, in reality, it’s been a long time coming. He’d lost a good deal of weight, and he was just slowing down. He went upstairs to David’s home office far less, and he slept most of the time. I guess it’s just a testament to how hard it can be to have perspective. It was obvious, and also not, that he was going downhill.
Today we made the tough decision to take him to an emergency vet for a quality of life check, and as we expected, the vet agreed that it was the kind and humane thing to end his life. She suspected that in addition to the congestive heart failure, he may have had an abdominal mass that grew quickly and complicated things.
While we weren’t able to go to our usual vet, the emergency vet was truly amazing, and the entire office staff was incredibly kind. They took Trouble in for an exam, and we waited in our car until they had an exam room ready for us. Once we were able to go in, they brought him to us all wrapped up in a soft dog bed and a blanket. My husband held Trouble on his lap in his big pile of blankets and he looked at us, and we loved him, and he tucked his head into the blanket just as he’d sleep at home. After we talked to the vet, they took him to do a paw print for us, and they started the IV line. They sedated him and brought him back to us. He was awake for a few minutes as we loved on him, scratched his ears, kissed his head. We were the last thing he saw before it was over.
I’m sure any time we lose a loved one–furry or not–we’re taken back to those times we’ve felt heartache and loss. I lost my dad unexpectedly at 18, my beloved and dear grandparents at 22, Greyson’s grandmother at 31. One thing I’ve always felt in my bones about death is how lucky we are if we can hold and love our beloveds until the last. I know this is not the same for everyone, but any opportunity I have to be close to a loved one until they are gone is precious and holy time. When I lost my dad that meant sitting as close to his casket as I could for as long as I could. I hadn’t seen him in 12 years before he died, so it was my last chance, and I wanted to love him out of this world. For my grandparents that meant spending a lot of time in hospitals holding their hands. It meant CPR and funeral planning and just loving them as long as I could. It meant serving their needs and honoring their lives and our connections to the very last moment.
I’ve been focused on that depth of responsibility and honor since Daisy dog was diagnosed with lymphoma. I felt it today as we loved Trouble out of this world.
This Easter, as I’m thinking over Jesus’s death and resurrection, it’s the women at the tomb I feel for so intensely. The women who would anoint Jesus’s body and prepare him for burial. The women who would love and care for him for as long as it needed to be done. As Americans, we are far removed from death. That’s another post, but for now I’ll leave it at this: it’s a holy privilege to love people out of the world. It doesn’t end there, and I know that right down to my toes. But this Easter I’m sitting in joy, pain, and adoration. There’s so much love in death.
4 thoughts on “Death: Another Chance for Love”
I don’t have much to say, but wanted you to know I hear you and this post resonates with me, having “lost” our pet cat Seamus of 16 years last year.
I’m so sorry to hear that, Bryan. They take up a significant place in our hearts, for sure. ❤
I’m glad you were able to say goodbye to your pet the way you wanted. Love the last paragraph about the women.
I appreciate it, Akilah. It’s good to see you! ❤