It’s very late and I should be asleep. Instead, I lay in bed thinking of you and how you left us so very quickly.
I was not ready.
I’m not sure you were, either, regardless of what others may think. I believe you were very tired and weak and grateful that your doctor owns a gurney. I am sure you were relieved that only women were working at the vet’s office Saturday morning.
I was not ready, though.
Was it hard when Dr. B was out of town and you had to see Dr. S, whom you did not know? I thought she was wonderful. She was so tender with you and she seemed to fall in love with you at first sight.
But I still wasn’t ready.
When you were trying so hard to leave me and I was squatting down looking right into your eyes, you were very calm. Oh Dakota, you gave me such a gift with your peace. As hard as this is, it would be unbearable if you’d been afraid. I was so proud of you and how you demonstrated perfect grace to me. Don’t you think it’s ironic how our roles were reversed in your last half hour? You, who’d always been terrified of getting into the car and going through the vet’s door, ended up being the one who was at ease and without fear. I was not as graceful as you, but at least I let you do what you needed to do. I cried, but I did not blubber. I hope you were proud of me. I put my face next to yours and let you breathe me in even as you breathed yourself out. It was the only familiar offering I had to give you. I wish I could have given you more.
And I was not ready.
I did not expect to say goodbye to you on a gurney, early on a Saturday morning, after a wild ride to the vet’s office. I did not expect to say goodbye to you this year. I did not expect you to go so fast. I did not expect you to go.
I was not ready.