Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Learning To Let Go"

When I was about six years old we got our first puppy.  He was just a little mutt that had nothing much going for him except puppy cuteness, unlimited energy to prance and play and snuggle...and performing the joyful act of lapping at a child's face.

At that time we lived right next to our school.  After enjoying our new puppy over the weekend, Monday morning came and it was time to forsake puppy play for chalkboards and rulers.  However, after learning at the breakfast table that morning that everyone in the family would be off to other pursuits, and that my puppy would be alone at home, I refused to go to school.  Since my Dad was still living with us at that time, this must have took on a huge act of defiance on my part for I feared my Dad's belt more than anything.  Eventually, I acceded to parental demands and set off for school.  However, I never made it to class.  I trudged up the road from our house, hid in some bushes, and waited patiently for everyone to leave the house.

When everyone had gone I returned home and played with "Mugsy", the puppy throughout the day.  I don't remember how I was caught, but caught I was, and eventually returned to the righteous path to attend school and trusted our puppy would be okay with my absence.

I had a hard time of "letting go";      Years later, I now realize that my skipping school for the good of the puppy was really about me..not the puppy.

Flash forward 50 plus years or so.  I am parent to two Chihuahuas; a boy of seven years named Rocky and a girl of ten or so, named Ginger.  Love birds, they were to each other, children to me.  One sad day Rocky became quite ill.  I took him to the vet and they ran every kind of test but could never pinpoint what the trouble was.  We set off on a course of treatments that were no more than "shots in the dark".  Alas, poor Rocky didn't' respond and became weaker and weaker.   As the days went buy Rocky would walk out on weak legs and lay in the sun.  I would stand at the back door, tears in my eyes, and pray that the medicine and bottle feeding would restore him to health.

It was not to be.  However, ever in denial, and refusing to "let go" I took him back to the Vet.  The Vet took one look at Rocky, noted the deterioration in his condition, and told me it was time to let Rocky go.  Not wanting to let him go, but loving him more,  I agreed to let Rocky be put to sleep.  As I held him in my arms one last time, he raised his head and showered me with kisses, as if he knew we were saying goodbye.   I was offered the opportunity to leave and let the Vet take care of it, I refused.  As painful as it was I felt I had the obligation to be there in his last moments.  As the last of his life ebbed from him I began uncontrollably sobbing.  I was offered the opportunity to leave the Vet's office by the back door and did so.  It was hard driving home as tears clouded my eyes and my mourning had begun.
Over two years later I still ache for my little guy and I still have trouble "letting go."

Some ten months later my female Chi, Ginger, was diagnosed with mammary cancer.  Ginger underwent surgery and the tumors were removed.  For eighteen months she has been healthy and joyous after we brought home a little sister Chi for company.  However, after a followup visit to the vet last week I have learned that Ginger's cancer has returned.  We are scheduled for another surgery and follow on care but I fear the time is nearing when I must again learn to "let go".

For those who read my blogs regularly, my earlier blog called "Rescue Dog" relates how little Ginger "rescued" us from mourning depression following the death of our son.  I fear that I will not be able to return the favor and again rescue her this time.

I have lost a sister, a brother and my mother..and a host of beloved uncles and aunts.  I have lost a son.  The loss of a child dims one's world forever;  life is never, ever the same.  Life...and death goes on.  Now I must again prepare to "let go" of still another object of my love.

"Letting Go" is the hard price we pay for love and loving.  Were it not so.


PammieJean said...

Oh so sad and I am sorry for your loss. Although I've never lost a child, my son did drugs for about 20 years and there were many times I thought I was going to lose him.

I did have to put my 13 yr old Keeshond down August of 2010, just before I left on my road trip to Fargo. During the year before, she had gone blind, then deaf. Two weeks before I was to leave, she began acting very strangely, as if she didn't know me. She had been getting around by her sense of smell but now it seemed that was gone too. The vet wouldn't send her ashes through the mail to me so I had my son pick them up and mail them. She is now in a state where she should have been her whole life. Being a Keeshond, she had a hard time in the Arizona summers and would have loved it in this cold. RIP Camie.

JustCommonSense said...

Thanks for your comments, Pammiejean. Letting go is the price we pay for loving. It is a heavy price but so much better than not loving at all.