Two days after Lefty died, I went bravely on my first hike without him. A small road sign for the Pacific Crest Trail passed by the car window, and we pulled off to follow the path. We walked through blackened forests while big dark clouds rolled in and out, now drenching us, now not, and the mixture of rain and sun, of death and life everywhere, well it felt exactly right. All I could do was nod along. Yes, that happened. Yes, more stuff will happen.
When the vet came over last Friday, Lefty wagged up to her like he would any other visitor. Three days earlier, I’d stabbed the shovel into the hard dirt of late summer while he rested on the lawn watching me, looking straight into my eyes, and I swore he knew that I was digging the hole for him. He wasn’t afraid. On the threshold of the kitchen floor, where he always would lay to feel the cool tile and also to keep a close watch on me, he now slouched there sick and struggling to breathe. His head was in my lap, the wild river of my undignified tears raining all over it. I told him he was the best boy. There was the last big breath, and then the final quiet.
It’s hard. But I’m so glad I was there. Being in the presence of death is powerful–it’s the ultimate mystery. My intuition was high, and I felt the energy exchange. First it was in there, then it was out here. We wrapped that soft fluffy body in a soft, fluffy blanket and carried it out into the yard, knowing all the while that it was no longer him.
Anyway, my guy is gone.
He’s with Benny now. With Jake. With Poa. With Otis. With Orchid. With all our old buddies, then, now and forever.