I don’t think I will ever know how to say goodbye. Most of you that know me may know that I am not the most affectionate person. I’m not the coldest person either but I don’t really show my affections much through physical touch. Sometimes I can be pretty cold, pretty distant and mostly to myself, but I have a very soft spot in my heart for animals and mostly one in particular – her name is Suzie, and she is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. The love I have for her knows no bounds, it exceeds any other love I’ve ever felt for anyone, it goes beyond time.
As of late, as blogged before, Suzie’s life has been nearing its end. We have watched her life slowly deteriorate and her heart slowly failing. We have been through three episodes of seizures and collapses. We have been through three episodes of heartbreaking cries. We have gone through a pretty rough start to the year with the little one. We have stayed up at night in anxiety, pain and helplessness. We have woken up the next morning all the same. We have waited in anxiety for news and results. And we are doing it again.
People tell me that’s she’s just a dog, why do I cry for just a dog? To you, she’s our pet, to us, she’s family. There is no question or no doubt that we will do whatever it takes for her to be well, if not well, to be comfortable in her last few moments. I sat in the car today, tears welling up in my eyes. The images that flashed before me in my mind was how she’d greet me with her cute waggling, stubby tail whenever I wake up in the morning, or whenever I come back home. And how she’d trot around the house happily when all members of her family are home. How she’d lie on my lap, all curled up within the constraints of my legs crossed. And how in an instant, I will never get all that again. And I could not help the thoughts. I could not stop replaying them in my head. I wanted to treasure the moments, I want to treasure these moments desperately. I want to hold on to some piece of her when she goes. I have her baby tooth but I want more. I have her collar. But I want more. I have her toys, but I want more. I want to feel her warmth again. I want to see her happy, loving face again. I want so much more. But all I have are pictures, and essences of her to preserve my memories. They are not enough for me. I am not content.
There is no doubt that my heart sinks a little deeper each time this happens. The helplessness I feel makes me wish for my own heart to be ripped out sometimes. I don’t want to feel the pain of losing her but yet I want to. Because it is in this pain that I feel the love – and the understanding of that love that is mutual between Suzie and I. As I cried in helplessness today, she lay on my lap and when she finally got enough energy to get up, she looked at our sad faces. I saw her eyes. I knew she knew. I knew that she understood that our hearts were breaking. She knows sadness because she has been there with me in my sadness before. She knew what sadness looked like, she knew what it felt like. And this time, she knew the reason for our sadness was her.
So you ask me why I cry for this animal, for this pet, I prefer the word family member. Because when I needed a hand, I found her paw. When I cried in silence, she sat quietly by my side. You think dogs just understand emotions? No they don’t just understand, they feel too. You think it was easy for her to watch me cry all those times I grieved? She felt that same helplessness I felt today. Her heart broke everytime our heart broke. But she never left our side. She doesn’t speak, she couldn’t use words to comfort, but she never left our side in moments of dispair and grief. So I will do the same. As much as it breaks me heart to go through this entire phase, to watch helplessly as she collapses and cries in pain, I owe it to her to be there for her through it all, til the very end. She deserves that, she deserves more.
I will never be ready for the day I have to say goodbye. But I love her, my god, I love her. I wish there was a way I could express the magnitude of my love for her but these words are not enough. Even with a list of vocabulary to aid in expressing this love, it doesn’t feel enough. I really want you to stay. I want more. I want so much more. I cannot bargain with death. I can only make the most of what’s left while she’s still here. But it will never feel enough.