At daybreak, the rain was shrouding the Miami Valley in a dull grey that seemed to precipitate the day ahead. I remember my grandmother use to say that ‘the angels were crying’ whenever it rained after someone had died. This morning, I felt the angels were crying their fanfare of the impending decision I knew, deep down, had to be made.
Last night, Flyer seemed to rebound with energy, and strength, but when I saw her this morning at 5:00am, I knew. I walked The Kids at 8:00am, and returned to Flyer’s side where I spent the entire day. After a few hours, I forgot the wood floor was uncomfortably hard. It did not matter.
I know I am not the only person in the entire world who has been in the position of making a decision regarding a beloved pet’s end-of-life terms. But, this is my pet, and it is my world that seems imbalanced at the moment. Fortunately, my balance has been restored by countless wonderful friends, many who have made such a decision. They’ve reached out in a number of ways to share their love and affection for my little girl, and me. Lou Gehrig just got bumped down to second place as the luckiest man on the face of this earth.
This past year has been filled with a number of goodbyes, and life-transitions. Some transitions have been difficult, while others have been greeted with enthusiasm. This is one of those transitions that lacks sorely in enthusiasm. Three years ago when Flyer nearly died from pancreatitis, I had a taste of how horrible, and agonizing the final moments would be when the day did arrive.
The day has arrived. At least for making the decision that it is time to release her from life’s leash. I had numerous consultations with my dear friend, Sue B., who has loved Flyer like her own pets. I fought hard, hoping Flyer would rebound as before, hoping she would ease out on her own terms, and praying I would not have to play God. Late in the afternoon, I sent an email to another dear friend, a veterinarian, Ann I.. Ann’s response was practical, gentle and quite loving. When I trained Ann, and her husband, Bill, in adoption classes, I stressed that making a decision on the children we adopt is based so much on gut reactions. Today, Ann reminded me that these matters also must be weighed with the gut.
With some tearful consideration, the decision was made. Now, I just need to make the arrangements.
Flyer rests comfortably, and as I write this post, she is surrounded by Chief, who has
rarely left her side, and Navi. I am not going through this alone. Mother has been a gem of support, and helping me around the house as I’ve simply halted all activities to lay next to Flyer. Sue B., for the past three years, has been one of Flyer’s (and mine) biggest champions, and has spent much time researching a variety of items based on Flyer’s health. Several family friends and students have been pet-sitters for Flyer, and The Kids, and they’ve always been so good to Flyer. My students, and their families, who see Flyer each week, have been full of love and support. And, my many friends, on and off Facebook, have showered us with continued support, prayers, and great affection.
In short, we are not going through this alone, and I am so grateful for these blessings.
Tonight, after making the decision, I took The Kids on a walk. My iPhone music was set to shuffle, and one of my favorite songs, the lyrics penned by my lyricist-libretto hero, Oscar Hammerstein II, echoed the deep assurance I was beginning to feel.
When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At he end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.
The next transition has been set in motion… a wonderful chapter in my life will come to a close. But, what a wonderful chapter it has been. One day, there will be that Rainbow Bridge with Flyer, as well as Logan (1994-2011), Pokey (1970-1983), and Navi and Chief.
Flyer… always know you are loved…