No matter how much time you have with someone you love it is never enough. You always long for one more day, one more hour, or one more minute. That is exactly how my husband, Marc, and I felt this summer when we had to make the difficult call to our vet and tell him it was time to help our sweet little Alex rest.
If Marc and I were honest with ourselves, we would have expected it. We would have been prepared to make the call. After all, Alex was about seventeen years old, and his health was rapidly deteriorating. But we watched him bounce back from health scares before, most recently having his tail amputated the past summer due to Cancer, so we thought he would pull through this time too. But he didn’t. The heartbreak we felt was intense. Alex was more than a pet to both of us. He was our child, our friend, our soul kitty. We thought our heart was going to break as we petted him while waiting for the vet to arrive. As he wiggled his little stumpy in response, we knew we made the right choice, and rest was what he wanted and needed.
Still it didn’t ease the pain. Marc and I were devastated and our tears wouldn’t stop flowing. We knew saying goodbye to Alex would be hard, but I don’t think we ever expected it to be this hard… We also didn’t expect to one day be thankful….
A week and a half after Hurricane Sandy slammed our home and our lives; a Nor’easter (with snow) was expected. Between the freezing temperatures, lack of heat and hot water, risk of flying debris from all that we and our neighbors had to throw away, Marc and I weren’t comfortable staying home. We evacuated yet again – this time to my cousin’s home where we stayed the year before when Hurricane Irene arrived.
Hurricane Irene hit a few months after Alex’s tail amputation. We were nervous how Alex was going to handle the evacuation especially since my cousins have two dogs. But he handled everything like the trouper he was…. But then again, Hurricane Irene was just a dress rehearsal compared to Sandy.
As Marc and I walked around my cousin’s home, we paused at the room we stayed in the year before. We both looked in. We didn’t see anything that was there. Instead, thanks to our mind’s eye, we saw a scene from the past… Alex resting comfortably on his favorite blanket on the air mattress we brought from home.
“Alex’s room,” Marc announced as we stood there, both growing misty eyed.
And then in unison, we both said, “Thank God he isn’t here.”
Marc and I are so thankful that Alex didn’t have to experience the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. At his age, and at his health, he never would have been able to endure the past three weeks. The mess, the cold, the darkness, the constant stream of people in and out of this home trying to get it livable, the shuttling from family to friends when staying home was impossible would have been so difficult for him to handle. It would have killed Marc and me to see him spend his final time with us suffering.
Instead, we said goodbye to our friend on a beautiful sunny day. He found his final rest right in his very own home, in his favorite spot surrounded by a vet that cared for him and his parents that loved him. And we are thankful….
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for…
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