Home of a mother, wife, writer

Posts tagged ‘good-bye’

Family Friday: Shadow

Last night a little before 7:15, my 15(-ish, we don’t know her exact age), Chow mix, Shadow, passed away with me by her side. We believe she had a stroke sometime on Tuesday, and we did not believe it was fair to let her suffer any more. If she had been younger, and there was a chance for her to recover, a different decision may have been made. But, in all honesty, we’ve known for a while that this day was coming for a while now. Over the past few months, and really over the last year or two, her health has been on the decline. So, we knew it was coming, but this was still hard.

with our lab mix, Lady

Shadow came into my life back in July of 2000. I remember at the beginning of that summer, I was looking at our humane society’s website at the pictures of their dogs. I had wanted one so much. We had my stepdad’s dog, but he was outside and old. And not mine. I wasn’t even 16 yet, so I couldn’t adopt one on my own(you have to be 18). Well, one day my mom and stepdad came home, and they were leading this medium-sized black dog across the yard. Come to find out, they went to look at the one I was interested in, a yellow lab puppy, but someone else had just adopted it. And they found her. The humane society said she was 2 1/2 years old and a chow mix, but we never knew what else she was mixed with.

shortly after we got her, running toward me.

From the moment I took the leash, she was my dog. She followed me everywhere. And still it took 2 weeks to think of a name for her. Should have been obvious from the start, she was my shadow. She had a problem with men. And balls, and later, we learned, empty pop(soda) bottles. I tried to teach her to fetch a ball soon after we got her, and she cowered away every time I would throw it. Our assumption was that she had been abused by a former owner and thought I was going to hit her as well. Either that, or she knew how terrible my aim was. She also hated to have her tail touched. HATED it. Which is another thing we attributed to her possible abuse.

Back when our daughter was first born

She was such a good dog and smart. About the only thing I could never teach her was to fetch. She wouldn’t even chase the ball. Everything else she learned so easily though. And friendly. I would swear she didn’t have a mean streak in her. But, she was definitely a one-person dog. She would stay with me all the time, and didn’t really care for too many others. When Cory and I moved into our apartment, we had two floors of it, which started on the second floor of the building. She would only let me take her outside. If Cory tried to, she would just stand there and not do anything. And she would not eat or drink unless I was home. One time, right before our wedding, she went about 24 hours without doing anything. Because I wasn’t home. Neurotic, a little? Yes, she was. 🙂

But, she was a good dog. And she had a long life, a lot longer than we thought it would be. Back when we lived in that apartment(only for a year), we didn’t think she would make it much longer. With having to go up and down those steps all the time, her joints were bad. And she would never stay downstairs if I was up on the top floor(which is where our computer was and where I spent most of the day). Once we moved out to our house, she improved. There’s only a few steps from the porch to the yard, and our house is just a single level. But, over the last few years, she had gotten bad again. Would have trouble walking when she’d first get up, especially when it gets cold. And on Tuesday, I thought at first that’s all it was. Until it didn’t get any better, and really got worse. She could barely get up on her own, and I had to carry her outside and to her food dish, which she wouldn’t even eat out of. So, I don’t have much doubt that we made the right decision.

Our daughter feeding Shadow a dog cookie while Lady looks on

So long, Shadow. You were a good dog and a good friend. We’re going to miss you, but I know you’re no longer in pain. And I hope you’re able to run and play now like you haven’t been able to in a while.

Advertisements

Short Tuesday: Saying Good-bye

Another starting sentence prompt for this one. And once again, I had no idea where this one was going to take me. Seems to be the case with these. I had set a timer for 15 minutes, but ended up going longer than that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Something brushed up against my foot. I jumped , nearly out of my skin, before settling back down. I swung my flashlight across the floor, the beam spearing through the darkness. And laughed when the light reflected off my cat’s eyes. MEOW.

“Yeah, meow,” I muttered. “Thanks a lot for scaring a few years off my life, Lara.”

I let out a breath and moved the light back to the boxes I had been looking through. Why hadn’t I just done this during the day? Then the sun would have been streaming through the window in the attic. Instead I just had my small flashlight and the light cast off from the moon.

I knew the answer to that though. I had not wanted to face this. And I had used all of my emotional energy the day before. Saying good-bye could never be easy. No matter the state of the relationship. Now, I had to go through all of his things and sort out what was to be saved, sold, or tossed. Going through the things he had accumulated in his life away from me was almost more of a task than I wanted to take on. But, I was the only one here to do it.

Mom had barely stayed through the funeral. I knew it was too much for her. She had never stopped loving him, no matter how much she said she couldn’t stand him. But, I saw her every time she dropped us off for our weekends with him. There was still feelings for him in her heart, and they weren’t just hate. No, she had not been able to move on from him even though he had left her, and us, nearly twenty years before.

I had always thought my baby brother the lucky one. He didn’t have the memories of dad my sister and I did. He still went on the weekends, but Dad was distant then. He only took us because it was his obligation to. There was no more closeness between us. And he was deployed with the Army now, so couldn’t make it. My sister was gone, off on some business trip somewhere. So, it was all left to me.

I had to force back a choked sob and turned back to the boxes. The sooner I got this finished, the sooner I could get out of this place. The place my father had made a home with his second family. And when his wife and son had died, it was said he had lost all his will to live. It sounded romantic, but I knew the truth. It wasn’t a broken heart that had killed him. It was the cancer that had eaten away at him. I felt a tear track down my cheek at that. We hadn’t been told about it until too late. Too late to help, too late to say good-bye.

I looked in the first box and the shock dried my eyes. Right on the top lay a picture of me in a frame. A picture from my graduation. I didn’t think he had even come to it. If he had, he had not stayed long enough to congratulate me or anything. Had just sent a check in a card a week later. I felt something take over me and dug feverishly though the box. There was a photo album under the frame, and as I flipped through it, I was taken back through my childhood. I stopped on the last pages. All my awards from school were displayed there.

I didn’t feel the tears now, but saw them as they dropped onto the plastic covered pages. Had he really cared? I shook my head. No, this didn’t mean anything. Collecting pictures and pieces of paper didn’t mean anything. He had never been there. That was what had mattered. Then, with shaking hand, I pulled out the last item from the box. The tears turned to sobs as I realized all the pictures I had drawn for him, all the stories I had given him, he had turned into a book. Spiral bound and laminated. He had taken more care with this than he ever had with our hearts.

I felt something brush against my foot again. But, this time I didn’t jump. Instead I scooped up the cat and accepted her offer of feline comfort.

Tag Cloud