Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This has been a difficult season for our family. We've had a LOT of challenges. Why do difficulties come in bunches? Have you noticed? Do we let our guard down or become more vulnerable from blow to blow? Is is just our turn? Anyway, it has been a hard go lately. I could make a list but I don't think I will... let's just summarize with some of my least favorite words - recession, depression, cancer, tension, more cancer, single parenting, hurricane and really bad cancer. How does that grab you? That isn't even a complete list but for now, it will do.
Soo, as our little family weathered these blows as gracefully as we could (some days better than others), our very, extremely beloved golden retriever Honey May was developing rampant cancer. There are several very, extremely beloved humans in our lives with cancer too. Some are winning, some are losing ground - all are battling like ninja warriors. So in the big picture we get that Honey was a dog...not a dad or aunt or other aunt... But Honey was not JUST a dog. She is the best, most loving, sweet and caring dog any family could hope for and she got us through. Through homework blues and financial terror and relationship heartache and facing cancer head on. She was there... And then she wasn't. Honey May was diagnosed with cancer the day my husband left for Germany for 6 weeks. The day my son threw up at his new school. The day I realized I couldn't be there for everyone. The need was too big. She was patient as I tended the needs of three kids and all that entails. But Honey moved to the top of the priority list that Friday. For three weeks we loved on Honey like it was our mission in life. We told her she was the best dog, that she was pretty, that we loved her. For the first time in my life I cooked homemade meals for my dog. Bought baby food for her. Fed her non stop - trying to keep the weight on. I spent two nights on the bathroom floor with her, shoulders and hips aching from the cold tile, telling her it was okay to go. She did her job well. She took care of my babies. And me. Probably mostly me. Two nights wondering what I would do with her in the morning. What would I tell the kids. Two nights that I fell asleep knowing I had said goodbye to my constant companion of eight years only to wake up to her smiling face above me. She rallied like a champ. Then one evening I came downstairs and knew it was time. She was suffering but still trying to take care of me. I was on the line I promised not to cross. The line between giving her the best quality of life for as long as possible and being selfish and weak. How could I let my best friend go...how could I ask her to stay? I won't pretend that I handled it gracefully. I just handled it the best I could. I sobbed. And sobbed. I scared my children. I was distraught. I called a dear friend. She and her husband picked me up and drove me through the beginning of a hurricane to the hospital. They comforted both of us. I left home without a leash or a collar. She trusted me. Followed me into the lobby. Sat at my feet. I tried to shield the other pet owners from my grief. From what I was obviously there to do. I laid next Honey, petting her ears for the last time. I gave the vet the go ahead. The vet cried with me. Honey looked at me with trust and understanding. She took care of me right up to the end. She was the best dog ever.
I realize that some of you will think this is crazy. I've always owned dogs, loved dogs and lost dogs. I have cried over their deaths. But this dog was special. She came into our lives when we needed her most and selflessly nurtured us. Some dogs, like some humans, bring a little something extra to the table.
Thank you for eight wonderful years Honey May. Now go run in Heavan's fields and sunbathe to your heart's content. You earned it.