The Gift my Dog Gave Me

In spring of this year, it had almost been 7 years since my grandma had drawn her last breath when my dog died. My grandma died the way she wanted to. Just as she lived her life–the way she wanted to. I did what she wanted to do. And that was not easy.

She told me when she couldn’t walk, to put her in a caring facility. She told me she didn’t want to die at home. And she also told me I should take the few $100 bills she had because where she was going, she couldn’t take it with her. I never accepted it.

The day she couldn’t walk I let her hospice nurse know. That same day they put her in a care facility. That same day she died.

I always  hear how I wear my heart on my sleeve. How everyone knows what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling. But sometimes they don’t know. Sometimes my deepest hurt, my most valuable secret, can come out as a truth and no one can tell. And since no one can tell, no one gives a nod in approval, a certain look. They just think, “Oh, she’s just silly. Oh that’s just her.” Life goes on.

I had to be strong for my mom, who blamed herself for putting her mom into the care center. But it was all me. I made the decision. I don’t know if I had hope. I don’t remember if I ever thought, “Grandma will pull out of this and be fine.”

I accepted her fate. I accepted her time had come. I never accepted her being physically gone.

Tears would stream down my face for many nights. I got into a relationship that ended sour and on top of tears came the night sweats, not eating, and not getting much sun. It was so bad my eyes would puff up, which I hated because my eyelids turned into mono lids and it looked like a branch swapped across both eyes.

One night I had a dream. A simple dream of my grandma telling me to stop. And so I stopped. As easy as that. My night sweats stopped, my crying almost every night stopped. I stopped. And I remembered why it’s important to love yourself. I remembered why I should love myself. I remembered who was getting older next and who I needed to take care of.

My dog, at age 18 died earlier this year. But for the past year leading up to his death, I took care of him every chance I got. It did not matter if I was 10 minuets late for work; I was going to pat him on the head, tell him I loved him, and spend a few minuets in his presence. It didn’t matter if I had to wake up twice a night to carry him out to go to the bathroom. It didn’t matter if we spent extra time in the tub so I could make sure he was clean. And I didn’t care if I had to help him up the stairs.

This was my dog. I loved him. Still love him. Still  miss him. But like all things, his life was hanging by a thread. So one day we picked him up and took him to the vet one last time. Again, I don’t remember hoping he would pull through. I don’t remember denying he was sick. All I could think of was how much I loved him and how I hoped he’d be happy with the other dogs in Heaven.

When I got home, I felt this huge release. I felt that everything I had done was with love in my heart, and with love in my mind. For some weird reason I felt like the pain I did have in my heart from my grandma not being with me, had suddenly vanished.

I don’t say this often, but I see dogs as humans. Throughout my entire life the only person I’ve come across where I’ve told everything to had been Hachi. He saw and heard almost everything: my first crazy outfit, my first prom dress, my first days in college, my new friend, my new swim suites, my first formal dinner, my first boyfriend, my bad breakups, my thoughts, hopes, and dreams, etc. He had been there for 18 years of my short life. I was only 6 when we got him.

And suddenly, like a soothing breeze, everything felt okay.

Like this weight had been lifted.

I still don’t know why, but I don’t question it either. I just know Heaven is real, and they are both up there with the rest of my family, smiling, laughing, and shaking their heads at me.

(in response to The Daily Post for the Daily Prompt: Exhale)

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One Response to The Gift my Dog Gave Me

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Exhale | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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