“I'm so grateful to have been loved and to be loved now
and to be able to love, because that liberates
Photo Credit: Ames Pet Resort – Wally & Z
It doesn't just hold, that's ego.
Love liberates” ~ Maya Angelou
Everyone I know who's ever loved and lost a pet has told me the same thing. They'll let us know when it's time to say good-bye. And of course, he did
Yesterday, as our hearts were breaking, we let Wally go. Accepting the bittersweet truth, that it was his time to leave us. As I look back through my posts, I'm reminded of the many milestones in his slow and steady decline over this past year.
There were seasons where he was his old self. He'd chase walnuts endlessly in the backyard, our walks were long, and the nights peaceful.
It wasn't all play mind you; there was serious work to be done.
Who better for the job of meet-and-greet at the front desk of the Pet Resort? Guarding the car while I was at the coffee shop. Keeping the neighborhood safe from the likes of the UPS man and standing ready for clean-up duty at Spaghetti Saturdays.
We had the greatest gift of having him back for little bits of time, always knowing things could turn at any moment. When they did, we had to take our cues from him.
Photo Credit: Heather's Fur Babies
“I understand some people (pets) need permission to go. If you need permission to go; I liberate you” ~ Maya Angelou
We sat on the living room floor. I held him, and we talked. We talked like we always did at night, a recapping of our day. Me reminding him of all the fun we'd had, him cocking his head from side to side. His eyes locked on mine as he listened intently
“Do you remember? We were driving and driving in the car? We went to see JD and baby Sam. Do you remember? Wally got to meet the baby, and oh boy did he smell like powder. Made our nose tickle just a bit. He made all of those funny little noises.”
“He's going to start to fall asleep now.”
“Do you remember? On our way home it was night-time, and the rain was coming down? We listened to the radio like we always do? Wally napped on the seat. Trusty co-pilot, do you remember all the road trips we've had over the years? We loved to go driving in the dark.”
He was limp in my arms
“Do you remember? Our walks at the park? I'd say ‘Wally, put on your walking legs, we've got places to go and cute girl puppies to see.' There's nothing better than feeling the wind in our fur, and chasing the leaves.”
A slight shudder; I held him closer
“Do you remember? We stopped for an ice cream cone? The people in the window always look shifty, don't they? I love you, my fearless protector.
I love you so very much.”
Time seemed to stand still, as I held him and cried
This morning I made a makeshift memorial on the mantel of our fireplace.
His empty collar. His leash. His favorite toys. Flowers sent in his honor. Somehow I needed to have a place to go when I wake in the middle of the night and frantically worry that he needs another pain pill.
Or when I reach to pet him, and he isn't snoring at the foot of the bed, or I set out one dinner plate instead of two, or wonder why the house is so eerily quiet, or call for him to come because I'm heading out the door
Admittedly, through the process, I've been stunned by the depth of caring and compassion that can exist between people who, even if they don't know each other, still share a bond.
Everyone who's ever lost a cherished furry member of their family seems to know exactly how to reach out, and what I've needed to hear. They understand too, just how bleak and quiet life can feel.
How empty a house can become, and how long and lonely the nights are when there's no one shuffling around just waiting to be picked up. The great hole they leave
in all of our lives
Video Credit: YouTube – Maya Angelou on Loving and Letting Go
Tonight, sitting here in a quiet house without him in it, I'm so terribly sad, raw, and painfully lonely. Everything here speaks his name. Every time I think I'm done crying, the tears flow again.
Even though I know we'll be together again, for today, I still desperately want him back
It's as simple, and as impossible, as that
“Love says, ‘I love you.'
I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town. I love you if you're in Harlem (or Heaven)
I love you
I would like to be near you. I would like to have your arms (paws) around me. I'd like to hear your voice (bark) in my ear. But that's not possible now.
So I love you .. and it's ok .. to go” ~ Maya Angelou