I had gotten to the house at 10:22 AM. It was now about 11:43 and I was lying on the floor, holding my dog Lucas in front of me. His eye was starting to twitch again, so I knew another seizure was coming on. This would be his fourth.
I held him through the spasms, whispering to him, “It’s okay, my big boy. It’s okay. You doin’ so good. You my sweet boy.”
As the last involuntary muscle flexing ended, I jumped up, ran outside to clear the back of my dad’s Chevy Blazer and yelled for my dad to come help lift my 90-lb lab. We had to go to the hospital.
After a 45-minute drive from our rural home to the nearest Emergency Animal Hospital open on Father’s Day, we got the news that I didn’t want to hear: He’s not going to make it.
Rarely do we get the chance to sit right beside Death. Feel her come in and swipe the breath from underneath our hands. As I rubbed Lucas’s velvet-soft ears, I felt his goofy happiness flow out from between my fingers. Finally, the doctor let us know, “He’s not here anymore.”
This post is about letting go.
The months after my break-up taught me what pain is. They showed me every nook and corner of discomfort. They left me praying for boredom. It would have been a welcome relief.
Losing Lucas showed me again what this process of loss looks like. And this time, I did it better. I wept and I wept and I said all the hard, ridiculous-sounding things I needed to say to my dear pup. I told him that he was so loved. That he had saved me a thousand times. That he was so strong. That his body was leaving, but that his spirit could never be altered.
I said all these things right where the nurses and doctors and my dad could hear. And I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I must have looked half-insane with grief.
And I miss my dog. In a that deep-seated, throbbing kind of way. But in his death he taught me one more thing: Forms may decompose, but energy flows. The doctor at the hospital was so kind and so patient. And yet she was wrong about one thing. Lucas isn’t gone. His body is, but his spacey, unending joy moved into another being. Flowed into another life.
So today, say the things that need to be said.
Say things out of love.
If love is the white line you hug on your everyday road, you can’t possibly misstep.