Yesterday morning, Jonathan and I wept over breakfast after reading this poignant cartoon sent by Anna. This evening, we bring her to the vet to say goodbye.
Even now, as I peck at my computer, Kate’s head lifts from the floor when she detects motion – “Do you need me? Everything okay?” If I head to the bathroom she follows, limping, guarding the doorway (which I leave open for her). She knows she can’t enter the narrow space any more; backing up is impossible, so she makes her painstaking way, ker-flump, to the floor, waiting for my next move.
Kate’s had two good days in this cooling weather, which is alternately gratifying and heart-wrenching. She works so hard, gets so worn out, collapses, pants heavily. It’s clear that her life is more burdensome than enjoyable, but oh, there is still joy! Quiet devotion, good things to eat, neck rubs, all those happy moments of reunion when we return from the store, or from upstairs.
I remember when my mom was ready to die, and I wasn’t ready to let her go. I appealed to her, pointing out those moments of joy that still entered her days.
“It’s not enough,” she said.
We will release Kate from the burden of days. I’ll sink my fingers into the thick brush of fur on her neck, massaging as her eyes close, loving as she slips away.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 356: 232 words, TOTAL = 58,517; 1,483 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.