Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:30 to go to the bathroom. When I came back to the bedroom, I saw that Ricky had moved into my spot and was curled into a sweetly sleeping ball. Not wanting to disturb him, I crawled over him and planted myself in the middle of the bed. Ricky’s spot: where he has slept between Eric and me since we got him 9 years ago this month. In our bed, on that morning, Eric put his arms around me and I cradled Ricky and we lay together as a family.
Probably you know that our family got a little smaller last week. In fact, as I lay in bed yesterday, I thought about how Millie died at 6:30 am just last Tuesday. And here we were, the three boys left behind, missing our girl.
I did share a picture on FB and IG of our Millie. I shared that she died peacefully at home, which seems like a miracle considering her many health problems over the years. I wrote about her seizures that started ten years ago and her tumor that was diagnosed in February of 2018. Somehow she continued to bounce back from every health scare. All except for this last one.
There is a story I will share, who knows maybe I’ve already shared it. Around Christmas 2018, months after Millie’s diagnosis, we took her to a different vet because she was lethargic and not eating. He gave her an antibiotic but also told us that he was willing to try a surgery that might buy her a little more time with us. He repeated that it was very risky but he would like to try to remove the tumor. (This had never been discussed by her earlier vet team.) He said he could do it right after Christmas and that she would be in the hospital several days recuperating. He told us to think about it over Christmas and get back to him.
The prospect of a time buying surgery cast a shadow over that holiday for Eric and me. Already, it was my first Christmas without my dad, away from my mom, and the universe had given us something else to grieve.
Eric and I went to a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant on Christmas Eve. We talked about how the thought of Millie dying post surgery, in pain and alone, was worse than the thought of her not having much time left. We ruled out the surgery. Whatever happens, happens.
Millie rallied. Was it antibiotics? Was it luck? Was it love? I don’t know.
When this last Christmas rolled around, and Millie had survived another year, without surgery, Eric and I both acknowledged our gratitude. All of this time, and let me preface this with, I KNOW this sounds crazy, but I have felt that my dad was working from the other side to keep Millie afloat.
Millie first got sick while I was in Kansas taking care of my dad while he was dying. Eric took her to the vet several times and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong but knew she was failing. I remember laying on my childhood bed, 1400 miles away from Los Angeles, staring up at the ceiling. My father dying, and my little girl seemingly dying too. I told Millie that I loved her, that if she needed to go, I understood. I thanked her for being such a good girl. She didn’t hear me, of course. I knew that what I was saying was for me, to ease my pain.
But, don’t we all believe in magic? At least a little? Don’t we hope that our pleas can save those we love?
I have no answers. I only have stories. And today, my stories are Millie stories.
Recently, I received criticism that in my writing, I only write about myself. I have to say, that is a shrewd observation. I do write about myself, I am self-absorbed. But I also THINK I understand that anyone who connects with something I write does so because I am writing about things that also happen to others. I write about what I feel and hopefully others think, yes, I have felt that too.
I know that I am not the only person who has lost a pet. If you are still with me, you aren’t mourning MY Millie right now, you are mourning YOUR Millie. You are thinking about how much you loved her and how much she loved you and how there is an ache that will always be there.
So, in the spirit of loss and also in the spirit of love, I thought it might be nice for anyone so inclined to share a picture of a pet that you miss. You can post here on the blog or on the FB post. I feel like I have so many friends who had really wonderful pets they posted pictures of and then when they died, they felt like they didn’t have permission to continue posting those pictures. You DO have permission, post whatever you want. And if the thought of posting makes you too sad, don’t feel bad for not posting either. If you want to share a story about your Millie, share a story.
When you lose a pet, you join yet another death club. And you feel things that people who have never lost a pet cannot understand until it happens to them. So please, feel free to share something about your baby that you miss. It will make me feel a little less sad being reminded of how much love is out here, getting us through the rough days!
First, allow me to say that here on this blog, in your personal space you get to write about whatever you need to, want to, desire to write about. It’s your space. If someone doesn’t want to read about your journey, or what’s going on with you they can, and I would encourage them to walk away without comment. Write what you need to write.
Second, I’d like to say ignore the people who say these thing however they are putting their finger in a vulnerable spot, and poking repeatedly. Saying does this hurt?
Thirdly, writing in a public manner opens us up to that poking in those vulnerable spots whether we like it or not. Sometimes we all don’t realize that we’re causing people pain. While I’d like to say that poking says more about them and their place of vulnerability it may not. They might just be snots.
I have said it before and I will say again. You are one of the most prolific writers I have ever read. And the fact that you are not published is a crime. You continually touch our hearts on so many levels.
Our little Kerry thrived for 32 weeks receiving IV fluids to help her ailing kidneys.
In December Kerry went into renal failure.
She passed away.
Kerry’s ever-presence in our house was comforting.
She completed our little triangle of a family with Dennis and me.
That little wagging plume of a tail made our house feel like a home.
Kerry was an integral part of our own little “family”
No matter what happened, we all took care of each other.
We assumed our ever-changing roles as they were needed.
When Dennis had open heart surgery she waited at the front window every day until he returned home from the hospital. Then she slept on the couch with him…barking if she thought he needed help.
When I had knee surgery she would paw at me to get up and DO my exercises.
In her entire life Kerry spent only one night in a kennel when she was very young and came home with whooping cough.
From that day forward, we took her on every trip or found family & friends to care for her. We left her only 4 times in her almost 18 years.
We decided to drive everywhere & take her with us.
She truly made each destination more fun.
We booked hotels near parks or walking trails and explored cities in a distinct new way.
Kerry was the perfect traveling companion.
She slept soundly during our car rides and she became the most accommodating & amiable hotel guest.
Kerry made friends with the front desk clerks, bellmen, hotel maids and countless guests.
She would gaze up at people with her big brown eyes & wag her fluffy plume of a tail and that was it….
Kerry was irresistible.
People would ask “What breed is that?
“I want a dog just like HER.”
Hotel maids would leave us notes how sweet & easy Kerry was ….They told us she would move out of their way in advance as they tidied up different parts of the room.
At 19 pounds Kerry was the perfect size for us.
She was big enough to pick up & hold, yet not too small to feel her heat when she snuggled next to us in bed.
We met so many people in hotel lobbies, parks & outdoor cafes because of her.
They asked if they could pet her and Kerry proudly stood there like she had just won The Westminster Dog Show.
We would kid that she was making sure we would take her on our next trip!
Kerry was a magnet for caring and kind souls…on two legs or four.
We just loved being with each other.
She was the best part of us.
We were better people when we were around Kerry.
She was pure, kind and true.
She represented all that was GOOD.
She offset all the BAD in the WORLD.
This house is very quiet & lonely without her.
I feel awful, empty and very sad.
I feel horrible.
I feel empty.
I feel so sad.
Your Kerry sounds like a special girl. Thank you for sharing her story here. I can tell she was very loved!