We picked up Max’s ashes this morning. I expected to fall completely apart – that happens on a regular basis these days. Strangely, I didn’t. I cried in the car, as Bear held the bag with the two boxes and the envelope that held a lock of Max’s fur. I had asked for a paw print. I thought it would be a piece of paper with an ink print of his paw. When we got home, through tears, I opened the small box and found a frame with a plaster cast of Max’s paw On the other side of the frame is a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem.
The day we let him go, I had pulled out a kit I bought two years ago, a kit to make a print of his paw in clay with a frame for that on one side and a place for a picture on the other. I didn’t do a very good job, but I didn’t want to push his paw into the clay and hurt him. It was one more thing that made me cry, among so many things that horrible day.
So here was a perfect paw print. It felt like a gift.
I picked up the box that holds his ashes. Bear said, “you know what’s in there,” as if he didn’t want me to take it out of the cardboard sleeve. So I waited a few minutes, but then I had to open it. It’s beautiful, a carved wooden box with gold inlay on the top. Inside is a ceramic rose and a satin bag with his name embroidered.
He’s home. There is a sense of peace in this house now. Peace that’s been missing since the day we let him go to the Bridge. We are almost whole again.
Tomorrow we’ll open the bag and take out a small bit of his ashes, place them in a special vial and send them to Arizona, to Locked in Art to be made into a bead, and the bead will be part of a necklace that I will wear next to my heart every day.
My shattered heart healed a bit today. It will take a long time for it to heal completely, but the deep despair has lifted for a minute.
My beautiful boy is home.
Posted in Max, my life
Tagged dogs, grief, Max
And my heart is still in pieces.
One week has passed and it hurts more now than it did the night you left. I look for your sweet face, I sniff the air trying to catch your scent, I listen for you, the way you would settle onto the landing, or the little snores and squeaks you made when you were sleeping.
it’s so quiet, so desperately quiet. People won’t leave me alone for long, I’m not sure what they think I’m gonna do but they’re surrounding me most of the time. I need them and I’m so grateful for them.
And we’re talking puppies. Puppies to heal us, to fill the hole you left. I’m so torn – I want another little one to love, but I can’t replace you. Oh, my beautiful boy, I miss you so much.
You made me whole
Bear took the broken pieces of my heart and held them tight till they were healed. He put me back together when all the world seemed determined to break me apart and keep me broken.
For a long time that was all I needed. I healed. I found peace, and joy, in his faithful, unwavering love for me.
You were the next step. You crawled into my lap and put your head on my chest and my frozen heart, that heart that only thawed for Bear, that heart that was so wounded and guarded, opened up. I loved you from that moment. I knew you were mine, and I was yours.
You opened up my world. We went on adventures – okay, so they were only car rides where we got lost and eventually found our way home, but as long as you were in the back seat, it was an adventure. I told you stories, I sang to you – no one else would listen to me sing! I smoothed your fur, I teased out tangles, I cut out mats, even when you didn’t like that much. I know I wasn’t the best mom, but I tried – and I always always loved you.
There was never a night or a day that I didn’t promise you I would never leave you. I kept that one – I was with you until the end.
And every night I told you “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and all the tomorrows……….. until there are no more.” I didn’t want Monday to be the “no more tomorrows.”
Oh, my baby. ………..I don’t know how to be without you any more. People keep telling me to get a puppy. I don’t want a puppy. I want you.
Posted in dogs, Max
Tagged dogs, grief
There’s a new angel tonight at the Bridge
Run free, my sweet boy.
Find your friends and play bitey face
And let me know you’re okay now
I will love you forever
Posted in Max
Tagged dogs, feelings, grief
I fear the end is near. My Max, my precious angel, is not acting at all like himself. He’s restless, and panting, and even after a pain pill, he just won’t settle. He has little interest in food, except for a slice of cheese. I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know if he’s leaving us, or if this is just a bump in the road.
I lost it tonight. Sobbed, curled up on the sofa, till the Bear came and held me and soothed me. I know he’s hurting too. He told me to stop acting like Max is already gone. I’m trying so hard, but it hurts so much, I can see that he’s not well, that things are not right, and I don’t know how to fix it.
I’m grieving, before he’s gone. I’m mourning his loss, and we haven’t yet lost him. I’ve been preparing myself for this for the past year, when you have a big dog and he hits 10 years, you know that time is short. But it wasn’t supposed to be like this. We are the lucky ones, the miracle puppy, who beats the odds. And maybe, if we get through this night, we’ll still be the miracle.
Pray for us.
Yesterday, Max was feeling the effects of chemo. He was tired, no appetite, little joy. This morning, it seemed the same. And then I mentioned a walk, and a ride, and suddenly his breakfast seemed marvelous and necessary and he ate every bite, ran for his toy and headed for the door. Not long after we got home from our long ride and short walk, he escorted some deer to the edge of the property. My dog was back to being my dog.
I check his gums obsessively. Do they look the same as they did yesterday? Are they just a touch paler? Pale gums mean there’s a bleed somewhere. Is his belly distended? That’s another sign of an internal bleed. Dr. Dave said his CBC count was down a touch, he’s slightly anemic, and wants to do blood work again next week. I’m insisting that if it were truly something of concern, he wouldn’t wait two weeks to retest. Max’s gums are a touch paler than I’d like, but still more red than pink. His belly – I can’t really tell, since he was shaved for surgery, he’s been looking chubby to me anyway.
In my heart, I pray for a miracle. I pray that nothing is going on that I can’t see. I pray that he’s going to be the one to beat the odds. Part of me is afraid to believe – and yet I still pray, I still send it out to the universe that this dog is healed, that this precious angel is fine, that there are not months left, but years. I will speak the words, and write the words, and pray that the universe, the higher power, God, the Goddess, all will hear and make it so.
Let it be so.
Posted in dogs, Max
Tagged dogs, health, prayers
Max update – he’s doing really well. His appetite is great, his energy level is good, he’s snoring in the kitchen, next to the fridge, because food may appear from that magic box at any moment and he wouldn’t want to miss it. Every day has been a good day, full of treats, and rides, and walks, playing with friends, making new friends – everywhere he goes – being loved. His life hasn’t really changed with a few words from the vet, he only knows that every once in a while we take him to the vet and they’re “mean to him.” (Dr. Dave’s words) Other than that, he just thinks Mom is more emotional than usual, if that’s possible, and he’s getting lots of love.
I unfriended someone recently and it’s been such a relief. I didn’t realize how much energy it took to be this person’s friend until she was gone.
I finished a project tonight. On to the next – a baby blanket for a friend. It’s been eons since I crocheted or knit a baby blanket, this should be fun. Of course, I had to buy yarn for it because in all the stash, there was not enough for this.
Bear starts his new part time job next week. I am so terribly excited because the hours are from 3:30 to 8 pm, and that means he’ll be working through MASH! I’m thrilled at the idea of MASH free days! It’s the little things!
Posted in Max, my life
Tagged dogs, life
Wondering if we’re doing the right things, wondering how Max really is, wondering if something is already inside him that we can’t see
Wondering if this is his last snowstorm
(If so, it was a good one and he enjoyed it, but oh how I want more)
Wondering if tomorrow will be better
When he turned 9, I started to wonder – how much longer would we have him? When he turned 10, I started worrying – taking note of things he couldn’t do any more, trying to take joy in the things he could still do.
I don’t know how I’ll survive without him.
Posted in dogs, Max
Tagged dogs, feelings, grief
In the State of Denial
Well. Tomorrow – actually today – Max has his first chemo. Today, he initiated play with a 10 month old puppy at the park. When we got home, he helped Dad rake leaves – which involves him biting the rake, Dad throwing leaves on top of him, Max chasing clumps of dirt and weeds down the bank and shaking them fiercely when he reaches them, and in general just being goofy together.
This is not a dog who is acting sick. At all. There’s a flame burning in my heart – it was tiny at first, but it’s growing. A flame of hope. Everyone and everything says this isn’t beatable. But they don’t know my Max. They don’t know how strong he is, and how many times he’s come back from something that was supposed to take him down.
Let me hold onto that flame. Let it grow into a conflagration and burn up all doubt.
Posted in dogs, Max, my life
Tagged dogs, hope, life
I have too much yarn
I need a barn
To store my yarn
I have way too much yarn. I can’t resist it, I go into a store, and I see yarn, and before I know it, I’m petting it and then I think of what I can make with it and then it’s in my cart and on the way home with me. I am not a hoarder. I use yarn, I make things, I just like having more than I’ll ever use. Okay, maybe I’m a hoarder. A little.
I’m making a scarf now for a friend. It will be a surprise and since she’s probably the sweetest woman I’ve met in a long time, her reaction when I give it to her will make my heart light for a long time. She will think I’m giving her a gift, when in reality, she will be giving me one. She won’t know that, she wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true.
So I crochet, and knit, and buy more yarn, and give things away. It’s who I am.