My dog is dying. She has been dying for a long time. In technicality, she has been dying since she was born, just like everything else. But with each new heart beat, it gets a little weaker. She struggles to breathe, and she coughs. I walked her to daycare yesterday, a mile walk that in her yesteryear, hell, in her yestermonth, would have been a puppy’s work to her. But she struggled mightily and I could tell she is starting to fade away.
I know these things happen; this is a part of the full circle nature of life. But she has taught me so many things about my life, and the person I want to be, that I can’t imagine what would have happened if I would have made a different decision that sticky day in July 2009. Seven years, she has been with me. She forced me to let go of my childish ways, to grow up, to be responsible for something other that myself. She taught me the meaning of unconditional love, compassion, gratitude. She reminded me that “everyone is fighting a battle that I know nothing about.” She has given me wisdom and perspective, and she tests my will and my strength. Though what I would describe as a loner, she always managed to lick up my tears during times of sadness and pain. She kept me company while Jeff was in rehab, and she reminded me that I was responsible for something when I thought my life had lost all its meaning. In moments of panic, she was the thing that kept me grounded. When I thought my life was over, she was the thing for which I lived.
She reflects worst parts of me: her stubbornness, lack of acceptance, unbased fears, introversion, standoffishness, aggression, inability to ask for help, fierce independence, a know-it-all attitude, and a strong bark. But she also mirrors the things in me that are the best: will, dedication, resilience, strength, ability to overcome adversity, intelligence, loyalty, authenticity, and moments of genuine care and concern. It may take a lot to break her down, but once you get in, her sweet and gentle nature will surprise you.
It has never been clearer to me that things happen as they should. In the past seven years, she has given me a number of lessons and gifts that are priceless. I can only hope that I repaid her with a life that she was content with. She needed me, but I needed her more. I haven’t written in a while because I am pregnant, and I wanted to wait until it was a certainty to talk about it publically. But as I am reminded, certainties aren’t always positive. So in this day, I don’t want to think about the certainty. I want to think about the moment. Because in the end, we will all meet the same fate, and it is my only hope that our journey has meant something along the way. Beaker’s journey has meant something to me. Thank you for teaching me how to be a mom. I’m not sure that was your only mission in this life, but I will be forever indebted to you for the lesson.