Thursday, February 19, 2009

A year ago today, I took my hands- hands that gave a lot of life to a creature I'd dreamed of having since I was a child- and signed a paper that would legally end it.  Yes- it was a euthanatic decision made countless times by many nobler than myself.  But illness found my dog's head in my hands and lap one last time, my voice and face in hers, she slipped wide-eyed from consciousness to somewhere from which she'll never come to matter how loud I call.  I know mercy's side of the argument and the necessity of a dignified passage, but there's a preciousness of life that bludgeons me....that the giving and the taking away can both be love-acts.  

Here's a post I made to this blog about a month and a half after Vega died, on April 2nd, 2008:

I'm still grieving over the loss of Vega. I can't help it. Now that I'm working morning shifts (6am-130pm), I am the first one home to wallow in an empty house that had this creature for the previous 12 years....every day, she was there to greet someone....whoever it come through these doors.

I've had three dreams about her and I'll wake up crying (or think I am). I am taken aback at the kind of introspection the grief has offered me and I've been surprised at all the other similar grieving circumstances I've had that get lassoed into the situation. But I parse these feelings and contexts to their rightful place and I still find I need to be grieving sometimes. Over this dog, nonetheless.

And, yes, I've lost close people in my life. But the affinity afforded me with the care of this creature, over whom I was graced with the "alpha" status, has set me into an emotional process much different in many ways and threaded with varying degrees of theological complexity, offering a simultaneous fix of comfort and cold.

I guess a picture tells most of that to which I cannot adequately speak. This picture was the very last time Vega would enter our house from the backyard, where we would let her go to relieve herself. The meager deck stairs in her stage of dysplasia were phenomenal hurdles in that time. There was a fresh snow the day before and her paw prints were left right up against the bottom stair leading to the deck. The night following her death, there was a light snow. I remembered on my bus route that day that I could still find her paw print if I'd search carefully enough, in spite of the snow. I began to be angry that it HAD snowed, because, when you grieve, you search for tendrils of physical connections to the one you loved in such close proximity to their passing. So I got home, went to my knees outside to where I thought the prints were and gently dusted away the top layer of snow in hopes of finding the last remaining physical proof of her final journey into the home she dearly loved.


cincinnatisipe said...

I know your pain. I remember reading the original and crying as I did. Now reading it again it still has the same effect.

glenn said...

thanks for reading and connecting with me in that way and during this time