Thursday, November 02, 2006

Requiem For Our Eric

He's sleeping beside me now. It's awful, his sense of trust in me is deep - I feel it in his peacefulness. But I know. Friday at 2 pm, the vet will come to the house and Eric will die. The idea astonshes me. A life without my dog. He did well for a few days after we came home but now his breathing has become laboured and life has become arduous for him. Last night, for the first time in 16 years, he chose not to sleep on the bed. It has been hard for him to jump up but Joe lifted him gently on to the pillow that he's slept on all these years. But last night he came beside me on the bed and looked up at me, he let me pet him and then he simply lay down. He didn't want to even try.

I understand. I'm old. I get tired like that too. There are days I don't want to even try either. At two or three in the morning we were both awoken by the sound of Eric breathing. It was hard for him to simply pull air in and out. I turned the light on to see him and he didn't wake. He just slept. Peacefully. Like he will, forever, in only a few hours from now.

We, Joe and I decided, that we would wait until Friday. This would give us time to spoil him unstintingly. Forget what's good for him, he's getting what he likes. Like me, he's a sugar boy. He loves all treats, of course, he's a dog. But when he's got sugar in his mouth his eyes go big and it's like he can't believe how good it is. Yesterday he downed 20 Timbits. Today, he'll get cheesecake. If he wants it, he can have it. He's earned it.

He cared for me through two life threatening illnesses.
He stayed with Joe, supporting him all the hours I was in the hospital.

He listened to me as I cried my frustrations out to him.
He was Joe's constant companion on car rides and walks around the property.

He stood steadfast when I needed a firm anchor.
His heart was big enough to love us two as one.

So, let him eat cake. He's enjoying the food but you can tell he knows. Always a social animal, he spends most of his time - when not licking icing off his face - sleeping by the door, or outside on the deck. He comes in to be petted, but only a little. He is withdrawing from us - like while he's still here, he wants to prepare us for the emptiness.

And it frightens me. Sometimes when he's been out of the room for an hour - something he has never done before. I call to him, panic filling my voice, and he comes. He pads up beside me and gives me his head to scratch. But he looks at me like he's saying, please Dave, let me go.

And I will.

Friday at 2.

Because I love him.

Because we both love him.

8 comments:

lina said...

One of those times that there is nothing I can say, but feel the need to say something.....my prayers and thoughts are with you and Joe. Goodbye Eric.

Anonymous said...

Aww, such a hard thing to let one of our family memebers go. But we do, we have to, it is what is best for them. I am sorry Dave and Joe for your loss, my thoughts will be with you both tomorrow as Eric travels over the Rainbow Bridge. http://www.indigo.org/rainbowbridge_ver2.html

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Susan said...

I have just recently had the pleasure of reading your stories. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Eric is truly blessed to have had Joe and you in his life.

Maggie said...

Hi

Maggie said...

Hi Dave & Joe, I was just copying your writings about the Self Advocate Workshop and What Child is This to share with the Group at their meeting on Monday. It was truly wonderful having you and your words of wisdom in our little town. I love it when people appreciate what we are blessed to have here. I was so sorry to hear of your and Joe's loss of Eric. I too have held a much loved pet and said goodbye. The heartache is so hard - I think it is the unconditional love that is so hard to let go of. Take care, Maggie
ps Lilla sends you her wishes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave & Joe

Thankyou for sharing your stories, as ever they inspire me to think about the things that matters!
I am so sorry for your loss.

Thinking of you both -kate
(paradigm)

Rachel said...

That was beautiful. I had a blind cat for a while -- a rescue. His name was Baby. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago, and the vet told me to take him home for a few days, and use that time to say say good-bye. And then he said, "Get him to eat anything you can. Give him whatever he wants." And this cat was crazy for pizza. I had to buy a metal trashcan because he was constantly overturning the plastic trashcan, searching for pizza crusts.

So on his last night, my niece came over and we ordered Baby his last pizza. He was so weak, we had to handfeed him little bites of pizza. It may have been one of the tenderest moments of my life.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your doggy.

I was more devastated when my last cat died than when I got a divorce. I would have never predicted that.

If only they outlived us...