Alright, it has only been a couple of hours since I held him in my arms, but it seems like just a few minutes ago that he took his last breaths, then a gentle sigh, and then I closed his eyes. I will have those moments with me always, but now I am home and he isn’t here, yet I hear him. How long will I continue to hear him? His whine or whimper from the other room, the familiar noises of him letting me know it is time to eat; I hope I always hear it. At times it went right through me, at times he tried my patience, but he had a way, a very unique way of adoring me. I used to tease him that I never wanted boys, not boy dogs and not boy babies, but he changed my mind when he showed up on our door step that day, he knew I could not deny him and he knew I would try my best to return as much love as he gave to me.
The last night with him was the worst, loud panting and whimpering, he was ready to go, he was tired and couldn’t fight much longer. As he laid there on his side I trickled water in his mouth, this seemed to soothe him, he was dry and his mouth was parched and pasty. I knew his last car ride would be with me in the morning, he loved to go for car rides. I dreaded it, but I wanted him to be free, I needed him to be free, from the disease and the pain. I could always make him feel better, my touch was something that comforted him no matter what the situation was, but on that last night, the slightest comfort I tried to give him made him wince and oh it broke my heart. Every surgery, mishap, injury, or infection he had he was the best patient; he let me do whatever I had to do. He knew I was helping him, he knew I would make him feel better, but I was helpless this time, I hope he understood that. We were only supposed to get weeks with him, after the diagnosis the end of January. We got nearly four months; I think that makes us lucky, I hope he thought so, too.
I really thought I had begun the grieving process. I thought the grieving began with the diagnosis in January, but nothing prepared me for today. I knew that I would be holding him in my arms at the end, that I would be a part of his last memory. I needed to go through that with him, I think it was the very least that I owed him and it was my privilege to face that with him. I believe he will always be here and I take comfort in that. Just like I take comfort in knowing he didn’t end up on our doorstep by accident, I am honored that he chose us to spend the last four years of his life with and thankful to the power that had a hand in guiding him here.
Good-bye my sweet Harley-Jack, if you wait outside the gates for me, I promise someday we will walk through them together.