Have you ever read A Prayer for Owen Meany? At the end, John is giving an elegy at a funeral for his great friend whom he dearly loved. During his elegy, in the midst of his grief, he calls to god, "Give him back."
That has always struck me as the truest response to the death of a loved one, and it is more true now than ever. On Thursday, at about 1:30 pm, my dog Cleo died. That's Cleo in the picture being walked by my husband in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
She had been battling hepatitis for a few weeks, and was severely underweight. Her spirit never wavered, and we had hopes she would have some time left; but during the night, she began having pain in her leg and couldn't stand. We took her to the emergency vet, and it turned out she had developed a blood clot in her leg. She had already lost circulation in that leg by the time we brought her there. It was evident after a few hours that only the most painful and invasive treatment might bring her relief, and it was quite likely she wouldn't survive it given her already critically ill state.
We decided, agreeing with the vet, that her time had come. She was in a lot of pain despite a great deal of pain meds. We were present as she passed, and it was very quick. The experience was much, much more difficult than I anticipated, despite knowing it would be tough. I found it almost impossible to grasp her death, even though her body was right in front of me.
In my still raw state, I find it tremedously unfair that she had to die when she so clearly wanted to live; but her body had taken as much as it could take.
I love Cleo and I miss her so much. I want her back.