I don’t know why I’m always surprised to find myself a bit melancholy in Summer. After all, it’s one of the few times when weather really does allow me to just …stop. Spring and Autumn usually find me really bustling about in the garden, prepping for planting or putting away for Winter. And Winter. Oh, you know how I feel about Winter. I’m too busy trying not to lose my mind to worry overmuch about the turns of the planet or whether there is a point to Life. Wondering if the roof is going to hold from all the snow is more my concern.
This Summer has taken a decidedly melancholy turn. Yesterday we had to let Bruno go. I was going to let El O make the decision but I spend nearly 24hrs a day with Bruno and I knew it would be me who decided – and yesterday, in the late afternoon, was Time. After a promising beginning, Bruno’s condition had taken a pronounced turn for the worse and…..well…I finally said to El O “we may not be able to keep him, right?”…and he said ” no, I don’t think we can”. Talks with his doc on his most recent tests weren’t good. He’d pretty much lost all muscle mass and had that swollen stomach and almost no red blood cells. And he was so very, very tired. This past 10 days I spent nearly every minute with him – just being with him. He was just…tired. I think he was tired of being betrayed by his once-vibrant little body, that could leap off a 5′ porch like most of us step over a crack in the sidewalk. That little body could turn on a dime, haulin’ ass at 20mph and smoke the livin’ daylights out of his much larger brother (but Carmine would catch him on the straightaways). No more dashing about. I knew it would be thus, which is why I spent the early afternoon with him in the garden. He, on his little blanket under the umbrella and me in my chair, talking to him and letting him know just how much he was loved. I won’t go into details – suffice to know it was very peaceful for him, I held his little self in my arms and kissed him into the Great Beyond, where I am absolutely sure my mom was waiting, arms wide, for his little spirit to leap into. Magically (because it is a magical thing) she also had a giant plate of roast beef for him. And Georgie and Carmine were holding his favorite Nylabone toys! So Bruno is good to go.
I, however, am a bit of an exhausted wreck. I don’t think I’ve cried that hard in ages. But any of you who have had to do this knows how painful it is, even when it’s obvious, as it was with Bruno, that it was Time. I was the first person he looked for in the morning and the last person to kiss him goodnight -nearly every day of his life – so it was only right that he take comfort in going gently into his dark night whilst in his mommy’s arms. I’m honored to have been there for that last service.
My solace? This is how I imagined the conversation went, Up There, between Carmine and George:
Carmine: Papi, Bruno is really sick and I think it’s kinda my fault because I left him so soon.
George (very warily): Son, you know that little dog gets on my Very Last Nerve…..maybe he’ll get better and he can stay down there and stay off my toenails.
Carmine: I don’t know, Papi. He’s pretty beat. I think he needs to come up here with us and Mom’s mommy, who always has plates of roast beef and cheeeeeeeeze! for us. I didn’t know she had so many dogs, did you? We’re having so much fun with all her dogs! C’mon Papi. C’mon. I’ll take really good care of him and I’ll make sure he doesn’t bug you too much. Okay? He’s sooo sad. And sooo tired. He’ll have a whole LOT of fun up here with us. Okay?
George: Well….okay. I don’t like for him to be so tired and sick down there. But tell him to keep his paws off my toenails, okay? And don’t let him bop me on my nose like he used to do when he was a pup. Okay?
Carmine: Okay. I’mo go down with Mom’s mommy to get him. Be right back!
That’s how I am processing this, anyway. I am not going to say all the standard “I know he’s just a dog and there are PEOPLE out there dying” – you and I know that’s both true and irrelevant. What I will say is pain is pain and love is love. We could all take a leaf from The Book of Dogs – the moment is pretty much all they have and pretty much all they care about – he couldn’t care less if he’s gonna be around for Game of Thrones or the coming apple harvest. He left here, secure, comfortable, in my arms. What more could I hope to give him?
I’m fine. Really. Tired as stones – but fine. You all know how I am about Duty and Honor. And I feel that I kept my honor by performing my duty to my beloved little dog.
And I wore Amouage Gold. A lot of it. No5 is the Abrams tank of perfumes, when it comes to grief. But I didn’t feel like a tank yesterday. I felt like ….I felt like his guardian, shepherding him out of this world, into my own mother’s arms. I didn’t need to do battle. I just needed some strength and beauty. Gold is that scent for me. And it sustained me through the torrent of tears and that peaceful feeling that comes of having discharged my duty.
I don’t know how to thank all of you for your love and support during these past few months. You helped me and Bruno through Carmine’s passing – and now you are here for me with Bruno. Your caring is more appreciated that you can know. I’ll be back with some perfume-related nonsense next week.