It’s been a few months since I have written anything here. A few very busy months at that. Most loved and adored friend had horrible almost life taking health problems. Same friend’s papa passed away. Baby sister got married. Long lost sister came back. Hardest of all for me personally has been the most recent, my puppy of nearly 14 years passed away. I know I posted about him a few months back. My little 7 lb Boogie Bear and his giant 40 lb-dog-sized heart. It was the break down of that heart that ended his life.
He was so young in this picture, barely any white on his mouth. When he died, almost his entire face had turned white, he had only a few sad teeth left and his eyes were getting cloudy. The fits of coughing, him fighting for breath when his giant heart pressed against his trachea, were getting far too frequent. That sound of coughing had become white noise in our house. We couldn’t stop it, we just had to let him go through it and it tortured us. Now the house is so quiet. Kitty, my 12 year old baby girl Pom, seems to have lost her will to bark for a time. She is getting it back here and there but his absence has taken a toll on her.
I had him twice as long as I had any pet before him. My little boy. He died on June 15th. I thought when I finally got around to writing this I would tell about all the grief stricken thoughts and guilt that have plagued me. I thought I’d tell you about all the second guessing I have done of every action I took that day and in the 9 months since his heart was diagnosed and he started taking medication for it. The one question that keeps coming back and haunting me is… was he always going to die on June 15th? Was there anything I could have done differently that would have changed the outcome of that day?
I can’t reiterate all the events of that day again but I will tell you that it was a pretty traumatic one. How I wish he could have just died in his sleep and not with us rushing him from our vet to the emergency vet at night, fighting for his life, not knowing if he would even survive the car ride to the emergency vet. More than anything, I wish I would have stayed with him and been holding him when he died. More than anything I could have done to prolong his life past that day, this one single regret leaves me in agony.
My little buddy died fighting to breathe enclosed in an oxygenated glass case, surrounded by strangers. When we got there, the emergency vet said his gums and tongue were already turning purple and he didn’t look for him to make it through the night. It wasn’t really that unexpected considering the events of the last 9 months, but to us it was still very sudden and seemed to come out of nowhere.
Now my heart and mind torment themselves with the fact that I chose to spare myself the horror of seeing him die when I should have stayed with him to his last moment. I should have held him. I’m going to hate myself for a long time and even with all that self loathing, it will never atone for my betrayal. In the most important moment of his life, I was a coward. I chose to spare myself. It is a regret that seizes my emotions and makes me a wreck in an instant. He added so much love to my life and in his last hours I wasn’t there. I was home in bed, crying and holding on to the dog I had left.
There’s a Deathcab For Cutie song I have always loved called “What Sarah Said” and it’s about love and death and what it means to truly love someone and to be loved in return. It’s about being there in the hospital with them, listening to the beeps and sounds and smelling those smells, dwelling in the silence in the hours before someone draws their last breath. It’s about being there for that moment. “Love is watching someone die.”
This is the purgatory I live in now. It’s getting more comfortable as time goes on but that realization actually makes me feel worse. Getting more comfortable with him not being here doesn’t make it better. Time keeps ticking by and the world keeps turning and it won’t stop for Boo. My heart keeps telling me that it should and that if I don’t live in this moment and remember him, hold onto him, that I am betraying him all over again. Time is forcing me to move on and no amount of pushing back against it will make it slow down.
It’s been 12 days and the emergency vet will be calling us to come pick up the little wooden box with his ashes in it soon. I have to write him a letter and tell him everything I loved about him and what he added to my life. I have to write it for myself because I’m terrified that in another month I will have forgotten him almost completely.
I hate linear time. I hate my imperfect human mind and heart. I hate death and the fact that the danger of loving someone so much is the reality that you lose everyone in the end because everyone dies. I believe some day death won’t exist anymore, but for right now, it still does and it seems both unnerving and oddly fitting that the death of someone I love can make me wish for it myself; a cocoon of blackness where no thoughts or feelings stir to still the ache in my heart. It’s bad enough to lose someone that added so much to your life, but then being forced to keep on living without them and realize that life and time and the world will go on and be just the same as it was before is unspeakably cruel, as if the one you loved never existed.
I’m ready for death to no longer exist.
In the words of Forrest Gump “And that’s all I have to say about that.”