And all of us must breathe/until our dying breath…

Two weeks ago, my puppy stopped eating. My puppy is 13 years old, a tiny black terrier with spiky bangs, long silky ears, liquid black eyes and an underbite that reduced his dollar value to zero and increased his loveability by about 6000%. But he stopped eating two weeks ago. My puppy has cancer.

For the last two weeks, he’s been sleeping more and more, only getting up to come to the door when we come home, looking at us with his liquid eyes and slowly wagging his plumey tail, quiet gratitude that we’ve returned to love him a little bit more.

The vet suggested that we could bring him to be put down, but that’s it’s not necessary : he’s not in pain and he will eventually just fall asleep and not wake up. Putting him down would be convenient. It would have meant grieving for a day and then moving on – not waking up five times a night to let him outside or help him on the couch, not holding a water bowl up to him so he can drink whilst lying down, not having to hold him and croon words of love and gently stroke his fragile head and hurt again and again and again at the thought of not being able to do all that tomorrow.

But death is not convenient. And, with death and love so inextricably entwined, neither is love convenient. Death is a part of life, as love is a part of death and life. One would mean nothing, have no consequence, if it weren’t for the other. Living with my puppy dying in my life makes me more fully human than if I were to remain untouched by his life and death and love.

But dammit, knowing that does not make life easier.

Better. But not easier.

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One thought on “And all of us must breathe/until our dying breath…

  1. I am so very sorry for you. And I know how you feel.
    We had to put down our dog Taffy when I was in 10th grade, and I still clearly remember the day we got her when I was in preschool.
    She had tumors on her brain and lungs, which became increasingly painful for her and increasingly heartbreaking for us. I wish we didn’t have to put her to sleep, and if she wasn’t in so much pain I would have gladly (or maybe that’s sadly) taken care of her until her natural death.

    Your words are so beautiful. “But death is not convenient. And, with death and love so inextricably intwined, neither is love convenient.”

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