This morning we said goodbye to our sweet little dog, Happy. We’ve known it was coming for a few days as his spinal issue accelerated rapidly.
I picked up Kai from school yesterday. Bella put aside her homework to come with me so she could hold Happy in the car.
When Kai got in I said, “would you like to hold Happy”?
“No, that’s okay, Bella can hold him”, as he takes out his phone.
“This could be the last time you hold him in the car”, I said.
“Really? Then yes. Give me Happy” and he puts his phone away.
I had 24 hours knowing they were the last 24, and the rest of the family had 18.
What an unbelievable dichotomy. Gratitude for another 24 hours to say goodbye, and ungodly pain and sadness of knowing it’s the last 24 hours.
I don’t really know which was more grief filled. Those 24, or right now. Too soon to tell.
But I don’t know what to do with it. These hours afterward. I’m not “good at grief”. So I’m writing.
Rescued as an estimated 3 year old from the pound 9 years ago, he slept by my side longer than anyone besides my husband. He was always with me. So much so my family would refer to Cozy as the family’s dog, and Happy as “mom’s”. When I traveled he wouldn’t eat, and would sulk around the house.
He was my good and loyal friend. He was in unbearable pain with no relief in sight and looked to me to do the right thing by him. I have to trust I did. But it doesn’t make it easier.
As with most pets his name evolved into this wonderful array of nouns and adjectives, and I’ll share them with you because they make me laugh.
It’s such a cliché to say, “live each day as if it were your last”, “be present for those in front of you for you may never see them again”, or whatever the reworded phrase of a general principle of the moment is, but it’s exactly what we did yesterday, and everything seemed different.
We were kinder to each other.
We include all 3 children.
We were gentler. Quieter. Without demand.
Phones were silenced.
Dinner was in our bed around Happy (although nobody ate)
We spent as much time as possible together. With Happy.
We were just… I dunno… aware.
A new 24 hours lay ahead. What will these be like? I don’t really know, but I’m discovering a few things along the way.
I can be all spiritual and tell you it’s worth it to have loved an animal deeply, and been loved so unconditionally for so many years, but I don’t have that right now, even though it’s most likely true. All I have right now is this:
Grief sucks. I miss my little friend. I want a do-over.