Saturday, October 16, 2010

We Had to Euthanize Maggie This Morning

Maggie was our family, our child - she was seven years old (give or take, she was a rescue).

We had to end her suffering this morning - she had rapidly gone downhill in the last ten days. Her eyes were so sad, she could not eat, she could barely drink, and movement looked agonizing. She had lost 8 lbs in that short period. We had ruled out valley fever and several other things. It was probably cancer.

We couldn't bear to keep her alive for our benefit - she was suffering, and it broke our hearts. Euthanasia was the only humane choice - all things are impermanent, and fighting that would not have been fair to her.

I keep using present tense verbs and having to change them - it doesn't feel real yet.

I've been with death my whole life - pets, people, friends, farm animals, my immediate family. In 2005 my sister and mother died in the same summer. I watched my mother's quick decline with ovarian cancer that came out of remission (after my sister died) and filled her whole body. I wasn't there when my father died of his 5th heart attack when I was 13.

This hurts worse than any of the other ones.

I'm not sure why - maybe because Maggie loved us without conditions, no matter what kind of mood we were in or whatever - she loved me/us, always, faithfully.

Or maybe because I am more present to my feelings than I have ever been before. I couldn't stop the tears and sobs as we held her and the shot was administered. Yet even while experiencing my own pain and loss I could comfort Jami and hold her . . . . Is this what it means to be a man with access to his heart?

And I can't stop the tears as I write this.

Yes, she was a dog, a pet -- but she was our family. The house feels so empty without her getting into things, demanding we pet her . . . .

I know that being able to feel this loss so deeply is a sign of all the work I have done, especially around death and loss - work to have access to my feelings, to not suppress suffering and pain . . . . and it sucks to hurt so much.


8 comments:

Tom Armstrong said...

Very very sorry about the death of Maggie, O Excellent William.

Will Simpson said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. Tough, all the way around.

Three bows for Maggie.

~C4Chaos said...

my condolences. allow yourself to grieve for a while. her death too shall pass. but her memories will remain alive in the lives she touched.

~C

WH said...

Thanks guys - It's been a rough day. Very sad. Missing her huge canine presence.

Luke said...

Ah, Bill. I'm sorry to hear of Maggie's passing. That's a touching post. Even in grief you're delivering us gifts.

All my love to Jami and you in this tough time of transition.

L.

Robert Gray said...

Sorry for your loss of Maggie. you were a blessing to her and she to you. I recently put my cat Kitty to sleep. She was 19. Very Sad. All the best to you. With Love and Light!!

WH said...

Thank you, Luke, from both Jami and me.

Constance Casey said...

I support your honoring a process that you felt was true for you and your dog. I support you also in your process of accepting the change, with loving kindness, for all beings~