Joe’s Post #2 — In our past posts, we’ve talked a bit about the obstacles that get in our way. Distractions. Obligations. Life.
This week, for me, it was one of those life events that happens to all of us at some point. Loss.
My dog, Freya, finally reached point where she had to be put down. It wasn’t a sudden thing – she was 13 and had been battling cancer for over 2 years, but as much as you tell yourself “I’m ready,” “I’m ok with what has to happen,” sometimes you’re just not.
I want to say that I was stoic when I carried her from the car to the vet. Her back legs had gone all wobbly and she barely had the strength to stand, let alone walk.
I want to say I that I was strong for her, shed no tears, controlled my emotions.
But I didn’t.
I couldn’t. Somewhere in the journey of my life, I’ve lost the ability to be stoic, to be the strong, silent type. I was able to be that guy when my dad passed when I was 14 or, later, when my mom then my mother-in-law passed. But not anymore.
I was a mess.
Part of that may have been lack of sleep. I spent Freya’s last night curled up with her on my bed, my arm over her, telling her what a good girlie she was, telling her how much I loved her, how much I would miss her.
Then, in the morning, I made the call to the vet and brought her in. To be fair, I was dry-eyed when I came in but when they left me alone with her, Freya lying on a comfy blanket, too tired to raise her head, the fight gone out of her, I lost it.
I wanted to tell her, again, over and over, what a good girlie she was, to bolster her spirits, maybe even get a tail wag or two. I wanted her last moments to be happy ones.
But instead I just buried my head in her fur and cried and held on to her and muttered good girls between sobs. Somehow I rallied when the vet came back, and dried my tears and stroked Freya’s head and found my voice, repeating the litany of ‘good girlies’ while looking into her eyes as the vet slowly put her to sleep, then ‘to sleep.’
I stayed with her a long while after she was gone, why, I’m not quite sure, tears flooding out again, my face aching, and then I took her collar, the one with a dozen dog tags on it that made a tinkling sound when she walked, and left. Alone.
As I wrote on my FB page:
Freya’s put up a good fight for 2 years. 2 years of dipping her tummy in the water or rolling in the mud , of chasing balls and roaring around with them, of licking feet or snuggling on the couch, of bossing Vegas (and, let’s face it, ME) around, of charging down every day, so excited, so full of life.
13 years is a good, long life for a retriever, especially since she could charm anyone into loving her. But she’d reached the end, and now I have to do what I hate, HATE, to do.
And, in the end, I did what had to be done, no matter how hard it was.
Now, for some things, this loss, this grief, can be worked through. But writing is the business of the mind and soul, and when they are both in pain, it’s nearly impossible to sit in front of a computer and write fiction. At least for me.
So, nearly a week lost on the writing front. A few days leading up to Freya’s passing and a few days, I hope only a few, afterwards. With luck and a little healing, next week I’ll be back at my world building, at creating a story that everyone will want to read.
I’ll post more about that next week.