This weekend was without a doubt the hardest I have experienced in years.
Throughout the course of the week, my dog began breaking into severe late night episodes that seemed to be triggered by him entering a deep sleep. This was the next phase in a series of stages, the first his loss of hearing, the second his loss of vision, and finally this, that marked all the signs of a brain tumor.
I continued to pray that the effects would go away, giving him relief – there is little I could do, he being almost 15 years old. But it was not in Fate’s wicked plans.
Friday night was the worst. He could not sleep for more than a few hours without wakening in terror and pain, contorting his body. Each time, I carried him outside, so that he could relieve himself. By the morning, I had him lying in bed with me, before he had his final episode. It was so terrifying, I knew the hour to say goodbye was approaching.
I had one final, beautiful morning with him. The very day seemed to cooperate as the skies were clear and it was warm. We sat outside on the same lawn we spent thousands of days together as 15 years of memories flooded my mind and reduced me. I gave him bowls of his favorite treats – ice cream and peanut butter.
We walked around beneath the sun, and for one last moment, everything was fine.
I am secure enough with myself to admit that I cried a good deal this weekend. As late as yesterday, I was rendered to a shower of tears at eclectic intervals. Today, I can write this, sitting in my very lonesome 9th floor office, while maintaining my composure. But his spot by my feet, empty, is a reminder of what has been lost. It is not easy, to know you can never see a loved one again. It was made worse by his parting evoking in me memories of others long gone – friends and family all.
That is the terrible secret of our aging; one that is revealed only with the tearing of our hearts. The final days we spend alive are torn between two very different worlds – the one we have helped to create, and the one that we were born into but that is lost to us forever.
As you have now discovered, this post has nothing to do with any of my vocations. It is purely intended to be an epitaph to a friend. But, there is no shame in that. For if you knew him, you would have to concede it is an honor well deserved of him.