Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Devastation

A few weeks ago was the hardest day of my life.
Our shih tzu, Holly, who was the light of my life, had to be put down because of chronic anemia. After weeks of testing, we were left with the news that she most likely has bone marrow cancer, and we had little to no options. The day came when we knew there was nothing else we could do and the poor girl needed to end her suffering.
If there's one thing I admire about myself, it's the ability to stay calm during truly intense moments. Sure, I make throw a fit over the tiniest set back, but when it comes to the life changing, hardest moments of your life, I find a calm and I'm able to handle it. The day of her euthanasia  I accepted that it was what we needed to do, and I gave her a whole bag of Beggin' Strips and held her all the way to our friend's vet clinic.
I think she knew what was happened because she started to get upset, which is the scene that still taunts my brain at the most inconvenient moments- you know, during a crowded bus ride, in the middle of a meeting.
It all happened so fast, and she was gone before we knew it. Perhaps it hadn't hit me yet, but I wasn't curled into a little ball bawling my eyes out like I expected. Tim and I drove around for awhile before we finally went back to our condo to put away her things. It was like that scene in P.S. I Love You when Holly (the irony isn't lost on me) comes home to her empty apartment after her husband Gerry died. The worst movie scene ever. Gets me every time.
That night we went out with our friends to toast Holly and try to take our minds off of it. Since I like to just drive the knife in and be as sad as possible to get it all out at once, I insisted we rent Marley & Me that night. Surprisingly, it wasn't nearly as sad as the first time around. Having finally owned a dog, it was endearing to watch the funny scenes, and when the sad ending came around, all I could think bitterly was, "you guys had a lifetime with Marley. You got to wait until he was old and showing signs to put him to sleep. It's just not fair."
We went to bed that night strangely calm. I thought maybe I had enough sadness in the prior weeks that I was going to be OK after all.


But then the next day comes. And you have to get up and know that you won't have your special hour of Holly time after Tim leaves for work. You'll just have a silent house that suffocates you. So you get up and out the door by 6:30 so that you don't have to be alone shaking with sadness. 
Then you spend all day silently crying at your desk, going through the motions when the only thought that runs through your mind is that of Holly's last moments, when you felt the life leave her. 
Then, the hardest moment ever. It's time to go home to an empty house. If there was ever a time you wish Tim's commute was shorter than yours, it's today. But this is something you're going to have to do, so you might as well face it head on. 
So you play mindless games the whole way home on the bus, willing yourself to keep the tears at bay. You finally reach your stop, and the tears immediately start falling as you approach your building, dread keeping you from running up the stairs to an expectant puppy jumping on you. 
You open your door and there's nothing but silence. And all you feel is frightening emptiness. And then you spend the next four hours sobbing on the couch, because that's the only reasonable thing to do, obviously. 
Holly was with us for just over 8 months. They were easily the happiest days of my life. I've wanted a dog my entire life, and it really was a dream come true to take care of that awesome puppy. She was the most perfect dog for our family, and no one will ever come close to her. 
I keep saying to myself that it's ridiculous to be this upset over a dog you only had for 8 months. But it's just as hard, not expecting your baby to suddenly get so sick that she's gone within a month. She was only 6, not nearly old enough. 


Unfortunately, when you adopt an adult dog, you never know what kind of health problems they have. And I'm so glad we were able to give her a happy eight months in our home. It's just so devastating that she's gone. 
I've been sitting on the couch every day crying after work, but I'm finally starting to improve. We spent the whole first week at the movies because our home was just too painful. I'm finally able to go in the kitchen again. I couldn't for awhile because Holly and I used to spend so much time in there together, me cooking, and her wagging her tail at my feet, hoping for some carrot scraps. 
I know one day it'll all be OK, and I'll be happy again, but for now I'm throwing myself into crafts and decorating; the only way I know how to distract myself without wine. And shopping. Too much shopping. 
Anyways...that's why I've been MIA for awhile. I really appreciate the support of everyone around me. I'm thankful for those who checked in on me and who offered words of encouragement. I'm so glad Tim is here to tell me it's OK. I just hope he's right. Here's hoping I'll be back for awhile.
Goodbye Holly Wicket GoLightly.  We love you so much and will miss you terribly.  RIP. 

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