Archive for June, 2013
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~Albert Schweitzer~
Thank you to everyone who has reached out with kind words, cards, flowers and hugs during this time. It gives me great comfort to know that you loved C.J. too. Your kindness shows that she impacted more lives than just ours. I am so very grateful, much love to all.
It has been an especially tough 24 hours since we said goodbye to our furry girl.
Yesterday I spent the day completely alone because I just didn’t have anything left inside me to share the news with family and friends.
This photo was taken just a few hours before C.J. passed on and I hope you see what I do. I dug deeper than I have ever before, even deeper than the mortality punches that cancer has hit me with, and I poured it into my furbaby’s soul. Although I recognize my conflicting smile as both pure joy and gratefulness for fifteen years of companionship with this beautiful soul, I also recognize the forced smile masking my pain. I hope she doesn’t sense my pending grief and only feels my love and security and calmness. I see so much light radiating around her in this photo so I know my efforts are working. She is absolutley glowing, her blonde fur is more blonde and bright and I can see her puppy face again. I have no doubt that she will easily find her way to the Rainbow Bridge where we will once meet again.
It gives me a little comfort to be able to release these words and feelings from my mind. However, the physical part of this grieving process is also very difficult. My senses are so in tune to this house. This house that no longer breathes without you C.J., the quiet and stillness is so loud it is deafening at times. Not only do I see your blankets, your food, the dirty paw prints by the patio door, the little puffs of fur that you have left us, it’s what I don’t see that hurts the most. I don’t see you, but I feel you. I am grateful for this but what I need to learn is to not listen for you. It is so quiet here, yet the echoes are like thunder in my heavy heart. The sounds of your weak legs as they made when you tried to lift yourself from sleeping and the panting noises that followed because you worked them so hard, the sounds of you drinking and eating, the sounds of your dreams and most importantly the sounds of your breath. I know what we experienced together, I witnessed your last breath as you exhaled onto my hands that were holding your sweet face, yet here I am still anticipating more.
I promised you that I would take care of myself and I will. I will go to those that love us and when they don’t know it, I will gather their strength and re-ignite the spirit within me. This will be a slow process, but all great things are worth fighting for and worth the effort. I realize now that you helped me through to survive this cancer only to prepare me for this intense grief of parting ways with you. I am strong girl, I will survive this grief and pain and I look forward to the moments when I can only reflect on you running and playing at the beach, one of our shared happy places, your face and body covered in sand as you run across the shore line biting at the waves as they roll in and when you are tired out you head toward me to shake your wet fun all over me and lay beside me on the blanket with a big grin on your golden face.
The day has arrived my sweet baby. If ever I needed this blog to keep me in the now, in the present, to heal me, it is today. Fifteen and a half years ago you were a gift to me. The most beautiful golden gift ever. A gift that has given me so much joy each and every day. I am finding it so very difficult to be in the moment right now. Memories are flooding me like tidal waves and the tears flowing steadily down my face are proof of that. I honestly cannot distinguish which emotion is more powerful? I am overcome with extreme grief and sadness that this is our final day with each other and yet I am overcome with extreme gratitude and appreciation for each of the days we have shared our lives.
I have been watching you even more closely for the last couple of months. Watching for the sign that you have had enough. I have been selfish and I have been counting on you to let me know. I am sorry for this but as you know, I will never be ready. I have been so torn. It always comes down to asking myself this conflicting question. One that I know I will never know the answer to. Here I have been fighting like hell, enduring unimaginable things with this body of mine, to keep it alive, who am I to decide when it is time for you to stop fighting and pushing for more? I have come to the realization that I have to push the guilt aside and reflect this as my ultimate gift to you. To let you go in dignity, in peace, in a gentle most loving way. I do this because of compassion, even though I feel so exposed and raw. I feel as if I have aged ten years since last night. I feel so heavy and weak when I need to be as strong as ever. I will do it, I will get through today because this is your day, our day. I will do anything for you.
My dear sweet girl, I should have realized long ago that the spirit within you is very much the same as mine. I wish there was a cure for aging, a cure for a body that can no longer keep up to us. A way to preserve our bodies that house our souls. You have so much spirit, such great kindness that flows from your beautiful brown eyes and those beautiful long blond eyelashes of yours, that your body just cannot carry you any longer. Your legs are failing you. I want to always be there for you to pick you up, to support you, but you need to run my girl. Run again in the parks, run along our favourite beach. Please do not let me get in your way of freedom.
You have worked so hard, being my constant companion. You should have been able to rest more easily during your last few senior years, but there we were, facing this ugly thing called cancer together. You never complained once. You have had it the worst. I counted on you every single moment that I was at home during those tough days when I doubted my survival. I found great comfort in just listening to you breath and watching your legs run while you we’re dreaming. Just being by my side and giving me someone to take care of and nurture other than myself.
How do I ever say thank you enough? How am I to say goodbye? I will not say goodbye, I will say, until we meet again.
Do you know what I love about you?
I love your beautiful blonde eyelashes that frame those big brown eyes of yours.
I love your brown, freckled nose that was once black.
I love your one ear longer than the other thing you have going on.
I especially love your big fluffy tail, your happy meter.
I love your big self.
I love how you love everyone you meet and that even non-dog loving people approach you because you are so gentle.
I love that you always smell the treats in my hand before you will gently lift your lip to take it.
I love that even though it is difficult for you to get around, you still head for the door to go for a walk.
I love that you were able to go to work with me and lay at my desk for so many years.
I love that we both love popcorn as our favourite snack.
I love that you would walk along side me without a leash and you would stop to say hello to anyone that crossed our path.
I love that when I made a big splash in the pool and went under water, that you would rush over to see if I was okay.
I love that I can trim your toe-nails and fur around the pads of your feet and toes while you peacefully sleep.
I love that you trust me unconditionally.
I love that you like going for car rides, even to the vet.
I love that you love to smell flowers.
I love that you make people smile for no special reason, especially me.
I love that you love children and that they can tug on your lips, pull your hair and bend down to kiss you and you don’t move an inch and allow them to love on you.
I love that you love the beach as your happy place too.
I love that no matter what we have planned for the day, whether it be work, rest, exercise, eating, you never complain and never ask for anything, you simply want more and want to do it with me.
I love that you are my ultimate spirit protector.
I love that because of you, I was able to be a Mommy.
I love that I could write a book just about you.
I love that you and I can share bandanas.
Here we are sharing our final morning with each other. I helped you up, helped you keep your balance as you made your way down the special wood ramp that our friend Tony built for you. Now that you have been upright and moving your legs for a few minutes, you are steady enough on your own, and I can let you wander around the yard. I am watching you from the deck, ready to help you up if you give me that “help me” glance. Your fur is so fluffy lately because you are shedding for spring. You leave me little remnants of your furry self all over the place and I love these little presents as they give me good exercise picking them up. Today however, no chores apply. It’s a free day for us both. No committments, just you and me. We can just be.
I went to a beginner’s yoga class earlier this week to try to work on this battered body of mine. Besides all of the stretching and body shaking moves, what I learned most in this class is about breathing. Relaxing our mind so that we can just concentrate on breathing only, and then our bodies will no longer fight us and they will follow our mind’s lead. The instructor’s words have resonated with me greatly, and I have repeatedly said them to myself constantly since that class.
“We only have one constant in our lives, and that is our breath, without our breath, we have nothing”.
So here we are, you and me, my beautiful golden girl. You just finished your mini-garden tour and made your own way back to the deck. I laid out your clean cushiony blanket for us to have a little breakfast picnic. The sun is trying to shine today, which is much how I feel on the inside. I wonder what you are thinking? Is that Tim Horton’s goodies I smell? Yes, my girl, let’s enjoy. My Dad (you know him as Papa Roy) has you addicted to coffee, so I picked up an extra large one today, you can have half of it, just let it cool down a bit first. I also brought you a small snack pack of those delicious TimBits. Today will be different, you can have all of them and it will be me who has to wait patiently to eat only the last one. Yes, you can even have the chocolate ones!
Our friend Melissa is coming over in an hour to take some photos of you and I. She does an amazine job in capturing spirit, emotion and relationships in her photos. I know you won’t be disappointed. I have a little present for you. It is one of my Earth Angel black & white t-shirts and you can wear it all day and you can wear it to Dr. Egan’s this afternoon. Afterall, you and I are the founders of my Earth Angel, Relay for Life team. Also, by wearing this shirt, you can take a little part of me with you to the Rainbow Bridge. I also found you a rainbow coloured bandana to wear.
I know you are tired out from all of our picture taking and snack eating, remember you insisted on having the third piece of pizza. I am going to turn on some soft music for us and I am going to make a bed beside you on the floor so we can snuggle for an hour before we have to leave. I really need to bury my face and my arms, and my hands, and my fingers into your fur. I need to hug you and never let you go. I will try not to cry, but you know it took all I had not to cry while we had our photos taken.
We are on our way to see Dr. Egan now. I cannot believe we are doing this. I am holding my breath and my neck is so tense with despair. I have never done this before. It’s just you and me girl. We are doing this alone but together and I am grateful to Rick for giving us these final moments just by ourselves.
You wagged your tail when we arrived there, stopped to smell some flowers, and walked a little on his lawn area. Sarah the nice girl there, helped me carry you out of the van until you got steady on your feet.
We have had some alone time in the special room. I have shared some memories out loud with you, I am pouring my soul out to you and of course tears are bouncing off of your face from my face. We are laying on the carpeted floor together. We both have our matching Earth Angel shirts on. We belong together. We fit perfect together. Your head is on my lap and your front leg is draped over one of mine. I promise to never leave you alone. I am watching your breathing get deeper, and watching those beautiful eyes of yours. You are so peaceful my angel, my hands will not leave your face or your paw until your very last breath. I am not afraid, so I know you are not afraid. I am just overcome with sadness, overcome with wanting “more”.
I want you to know that I selected a nice black resting box for your ashes. I ordered it in a large enough size so that one day when I join you at the Rainbow Bridge, our ashes can be joined together and taken to our special beach. One of the beautiful photos that Melissa captured of us today will be inserted on the outside to display our ever-lasting companionship and spirit.
So many tear droplets cover your face now, and I smooth them into your fur. Take some of me with you baby girl. I love you so very, very much. Please forgive me.
I will miss your welcome home greetings, I will miss the sounds you make like licking your lips, your dreaming sounds, crunching your food, the clickety noise your toe nails make on the floor. What I will miss most is your breathing and the feeling of complete love and protection.
Until we meet again my love.