(A bit of writing therapy for grief.)
It's hard to believe that, eleven days ago, I had a perfectly normal day. Jamie-dog flipped open the bathroom door with his nose and sat in the hall, smiling because he'd found me, hiding in the bathroom, just as I had every morning for just over nine years of his life.
Throughout the day we kept an eye on each other as I worked in the office and then in the shade on our terrace while he moved to his various favorite spots on the lush cool green grass. Three weeks previously he'd had his yearly check up and been given a clean bill of health. One week after the check, he'd acted like he was in distress for some hours but the vet found nothing. We'd been taking it easy in the heat.
When the evening cooled, we walked, bumping into several friends along the way. When we came to each junction he looked over his shoulder and pointed clearly where he wanted to walk. We ventured further than we had in weeks. Later, he snored on the sofa while I wrapped up evening harp practice. That night he looked-up when I walked by to the bathroom. I stopped to run my hand over him -- nose to tail, nose to tail and he sighed in contentment. He must be feeling better I thought.
I was wrong. He was enjoying one last perfect day before he said goodbye.
The next morning he was slow to get up, no bathroom greeting. He could only walk a few steps before laying down, in obvious pain. The rest happened so quickly. Unable to eat breakfast the first time in his life. Feeling a bit better, jumping into the car. Sleeping content with head in my lap for the ride -- happy, as always, to visit his fans at the vet office.
Small tumors all over his spleen, heavy internal bleeding.
The vet's office was incredible and supportive giving us all the time, space and information we needed.
When he was three weeks old I held him in the palms of my hands and whispered a promise into his small unopened ears. If you choose to come home with me, I will love and care for you for your whole life and when the time comes I will hold you in my arms with these hands wrapped around you and let you go.
Goodbye my beloved friend. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, the love you gave to everyone you met and the your joy that still echoes through our lives. You will be missed.