Maybe it’s too soon to write this but I needed to express how I feel. The thing is, I don’t know how to talk about it and I don’t know what exactly am I looking for. Comfort? Understanding? A numbing machine? I don’t even know why I’m writing this when most people grieve quietly. I just know I have a lot that I feel and I don’t know how else to let it all go.
So it begins.
On this very bittersweet day, I lost my bestest friend, Suzie Rodrigues, to death. We had 11 wonderful years with her. She was more than amazing. She was the best. The best companion. The best comforter. The best listener. The best friend. The best lover. The best. 3 years back, Suzie was diagnosed with heart murmur but the condition worsoned in October last year. Since then, it’s been a series of highs and lows – one minute we’re given hope that she could live long and the next minute, the situation seems bleak. Every single time it got worse, medication after medication will be given and they would work, but for awhile. Then a new problem would arise and another medication would be given, but again, for awhile. It went on like that for a year. Back then, we would never consider putting her to sleep – she was still full of life and all she ever wanted was our company. How could we be so selfish as to not give her that, just because it’d take more out of us to just see her through her illness. But today, things took a turn for the worst. She had just turned 11 two days back. But on her birthday week, she started coughing non-stop and the cough would keep her up all night. When she tried to get up, she would faint. Her vet prescribed her another medication – cough suppressants – in hope that this would help her to feel comfortable at least. It only worked for a night, even so, it only lasted every 4 hours. The past few nights have been the toughest on our family. We could not sleep, and we had almost no motivation to get anything done during the day. Our mind would always wander to Suzie.
Today, we made that decision that she was suffering too much and the quality of her life was not exactly the happiest. She could no longer walk for long, she refused medication and food, even water. She would wet herself because she no longer had the energy to run to her toilet every now and then. We knew that this was it. We never wanted it to end this way. We kept praying she would go in her sleep. In fact, we prayed for a peaceful death. Euthanasia was always an option we would never even try to consider. But she was slowly rotting away. Medication was no longer just prolonging her life, it was prolonging her suffering. She didn’t deserve that.
This was the hardest goodbye I ever had to say.
I told myself I’ll be strong for her and I’d be courageous. We chose to be with her til the very end. We watched the euthanasia process. I kneeled before her and looked at her at eye level. I saw the life draining from her eyes. And as it happened, I told her I will see her again. I intend to keep my promise. It was quick, it was fast and that was it. In just mere seconds, the dog we held for the last time went limb. That was our final goodbye.
I had all these grand plans of how Suzie’s last day would be. Call it morbid, call it whatever you want. In my heart, I wanted her to enjoy everything in life that we told her she couldn’t do due to reasons concerning her safety or whatever. I wanted her to enjoy the juiciest, greasiest, meat patty of all time. I wanted her to run wildly at Sembawang Park. I wanted her to eat Bacon bones again cause she loved eating that before we found out it was actually bad for her. To sleep on our beds. To go for car rides and enjoy the wind in her face. None of this happened. Suzie’s last day was the saddest last day. All she did was lay on the floor, weak and occasionally coughing and crying. She went on an empty stomach because she could not eat any food. When we tried giving her the skin of the pau because we felt there was no point restricting her diet anymore – she started choking on it. She had no water to drink because she couldn’t. And she peed all over herself. The only upside of it was that we managed to take her down for a short walk in the morning, just under the void deck, and for a quick shower after. She struggled to get up to greet anyone who came home, but she’d faint after.
She didn’t die in a dignified manner – at least not in the way I’m describing it to you. But she did in our hearts. In our eyes, she would always be the amazing Suzie. For a small dog her size, and barely any fats around her bones, she fought a brave fight. She fought for us and we knew that was her act of love. And in return, we let her go.
Coming home from the vet was a painful nightmare I wish I could wake up from. The thought of not seeing her at the gate, or how her bed near the doorway is now empty, all that was just painful to walk by, much less, to think about. All I could think of in my head was “Suzie’s gone”. I keep picturing her in heaven, looking down at us and attempting to lick our tears away. I miss that. She would always lick mine away and now, the day when I am crying the most, and need her the most, she can’t be around for. She thinks that we were such huge blessings in her life, little did she know she was the biggest blessing in ours.
I struggle with this question concerning euthanasia for Suzie – are we being selfish for putting her down because we cannot handle the pain of seeing her suffer or are we being selfish for not letting her go when she needs to? And today, I knew, this decision was necessary.
In my heart, I’m so relieved and happy to know that she is restored fully. No more suffering, no more pain. But the sadness is in missing her and being away from her. Did I ever think about losing a pet when we first got her? Yeah I did. But I told myself, I’d have many years of her, and we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. When I was 14, I somehow felt that I’d lose her when I turn 23. I was right. I wish I didn’t have to be. More than that, curse all the stupid illnesses, cancers, diseases that rob lives earlier than necessary.
I decided to keep her collar and her medical card and her death cert. I know it’s probably best not to hold on to these painful memories of her. But I don’t ever want to forget her. I can see as many photos or videos of her and smile and cry at the same time, to myself, but I’m missing her touch and her smell. Since I can’t feel her warm furry body anymore, I figured I’d at least remember her smell from the collar until that fades away. This is how I deal with my grief. It’s so stupid that I still kissed her dead body before we left the vet for good. Every part of me just wanted to take her and hold her for a long time. We were given time with her before the euthanasia to say our final goodbyes and to hold her but I will never feel that enough is enough when I do. I wish I could still hold her. I wish I could see her happy face one last time. I wish she could kiss me one last time. I miss her.
I looked into her eyes for one last time, and I knew she knew. She teared a little. I told her I love her and that was it.
I will never find another dog like that. She was more than a dog. She was my companion. She literally went through my growth into a young adult. She went through both heartbreaks and joyous moments with me. Tomorrow when I get up, I fear I’ll forget what just happened today and start looking down on the floor by my bedside just to see she isn’t there and remembering all over again that Suzie left us.
Wait for me at the rainbow bridge, Suzie. Go play with your friends there or with Jesus if you like. When I get there, I hope you come running to my arms again to greet me at heaven’s gates. I look forward to that joyful reunion with you. Til then, I’ll miss you. I’ll never stop loving you.