I wasn’t going to write about this, then I realized that it would be disrespectful not to, since you all have been so unutterably kind and supportive of me, through all my travails, as I post them here on the Posse. So. It’s painful to write this and I know I’m going to harsh your day but, last Wednesday we let our baby boy, Carmine, go. It was definitely time – Tuesday afternoon he stopped eating or drinking anything, so I couldn’t get any pain meds down him and the idea of cancer + no pain meds is totally unacceptable to me. Plus, c’mon….dogs LOVE to eat. The day Carmine wouldn’t take a lick of vanilla yogurt off his dad’s finger was the day I knew he was ready to move on. We scheduled his transition for Wednesday after closing so he wouldn’t have to go into the exam room (a very thoughtful move on their part – Michelle knows how much he hated that exam room and didn’t want him freaked out). We sedated him (something I wholeheartedly recommend, should your terminal pet be systemically healthy, as Carmine was; it prevents them from fighting the effects of anesthesia, which is a natural reaction. Normally not a big thing in general surgery, but when you are helping your pet out of this world, seeing them in that natural struggle can be emotionally devastating. You don’t need any more pain that you are already going through so if your vet suggests it, please go with it. )……after walking around the room, sniffing every last bit of dog effluvia, he got snoozy and came and laid down on his sheet. I scooched up next to him and ….then the loveliest thing happened: he, normally not the snuggly kind, scooched a little bit closer and put his head on my chest, filling my whole heart with warmth. I held him, gently (so as not to hurt his face and neck, where the cancer was) and ‘shhhsh’d’ him as we sent him into blessed quietness. I suspect the shhhshing was for me…. I held him a little while longer, kissed his head, then I wrapped him up in his ‘blankie’. They were very, very kind about my controlling ways and just let me issue commands, bless their hearts. And they were so, so very sweetly firm about not letting me Be Me (I wanted to pick him up and carry his body to the back. A crazier plan hasn’t been thought of, unless he’d been a Giant Mastiff. Seriously. He weighed 110lbs and, not to be too dark about it, was at that point the embodiment of ‘dead weight’ (hey, if I can laugh you can, too). How they dissuaded me is still a mystery – Bear stayed mum because when I Get Like That I can be a bit daunting. But somehow, those little women? (not one of them bigger than Carmine) they got me to leave him there, covered, so they could move him after I left. Such patience. Such kindness.
I consider myself well and truly blessed, to have been able to have the privilege of providing this last, best service to my dog. I feel a sense of loss, of course, but I also feel a sense of joy. And I feel a real sense of gratitude that I was given those three weeks to say goodbye. And that I had the luxury to make the decision to let him go. So many of us are denied any or all of those options when our loved ones, both people and pets, go. I’m not sad, truly I’m not. I’m having to adjust in weird ways (the walks always catch me by surprise; I walked them separately and it feels weird to know I don’t have to hasten back to walk another dog), but that’s part of our New Normal. The little dog is adjusting, too; he’s a scrappy, resilient survivor and he’s a ‘live in the moment’ dog – it’s a true pleasure to see him racing through the snow drifts, alight in the joy of living! I’m slowly getting used to seeing him in his room, solo. He just looks so tiny. But he’s getting ‘fine’ and I am, too.
And I am fine. Truly. Those of you who know me well know that Taking Care (aka Controlling the Situation) is important for me. Keeping my covenant with my dog, to see him through, was paramount. To know I was able to let him go, as gently as possible, because it was best for HIM, even though it hurt like knives, is all the consolation I need.
I wore vintage Chanel No5 to help him out of this world. The next day I wore Amouage Gold, then that evening I showered and put on the No5 again. I always equate those two scents with joy and I still do. Losing a loved one is painful but letting them go, releasing them from pain, is an honor, a joyous honor. The scent-memories I equate with No5 and Gold are cherished ones, the memories of duty fulfilled, a covenant kept, honor…and, most of all, of love.
and, in case I don’t say it often enough? You all bring ME joy. I know there are so many of you with far greater challenges that I faced here – yet each day you show up, full of caring for our little family here. I hope you know that we really do care about you all. We do mourn your losses as well as we rejoice in your happiness. And we do appreciate that you care enough to care about us!!!!! xoxo