I was shocked at first, when she told me today was the day. His condition deteriorated incredibly quickly over the course of 24 hours. At first I protested, then I laid down on the ground with him and put my hands on him…I felt the way his whole body was shaking, the way his muscles had given out, the way he could no longer walk. So I laid on the ground with him for a long while. Then we picked him up and let him sit on our laps on the couch for 2 hours. I felt his fast little heartbeat trying to keep up with his body, I felt his quakes all through his bones and I felt his sweet little life coursing through him. I tried to feel the weight of him in my arms, take in his smell, the coloring of the hair on his ears. We told him warm love words and let him eat freshly baked gingersnaps out of our hands. His eyes were still so sweet, but sad and slightly lost. The most gentle winter light spilled through the windows all afternoon.
I thought about his life, I thought about my life. I thought about how it was the end of his journey, and how he was going to go back to the earth. I thought about his pain, I thought I could almost feel it for him. I thought about how he was always my favorite and how somehow I always knew he would go first because of that. I thought about the most adorable little puppy he was and how he jumped into my arms when I was 12 years old. And if I could have some periscope from that moment to this moment at 25…he having gone through my whole life with me…all of those moments, all of those pains and joys. I thought about that journey. I thought about death and I felt unafraid for him. He seemed unafraid. I felt bad for upsetting him with my crying. I cried all day, a constant stream. Never ceasing. I thanked him for his little life, for sharing life with me. For being full of life.
At 2:30 we got in the car and I held him in my arms and kept trying to feel his life in my hands. His breathing, his heart, his warmth, his love. And I tried to give him my love, to let him pass out of this moment with love. I thought about why we think these moments are so necessary, what the point of it is…to give this love away to something vanishing…and I couldn’t quite come to anything other than it feels right. It feels absolutely and wholeheartedly right. I think I’ll always remember the quality of light streaming around me on that car ride. Mid-afternoon winter light…so bright and subtle and streaming. And I thought: December 20th, this will be the day that Palmer died. I tried to lift his heavy head to see the world out the window one last time. I knew he was going blind but I thought perhaps he could feel the light.
The vet was sweet and gentle and he lay there so peaceful and sweet faced. He seemed ready. He lay there and looked at the three of us (Will, Victoria and I) and seemed full of love. I watched the light go out of his glassy, moon eyes. I saw it happen. And I felt freedom for him. And release. And that was full of love. The hard part was sobbing through the last final hours, but once the moment happened, I only felt that wonderful freedom for him. I don’t know what it is or how it happens, but I believe with all my heart – it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Leaving his sweet body in that room was the hardest, strangest feeling. Walking out and driving home with nothing in my arms. 3:30pm. Letting reality sink in. I still have a warm stream of tears falling just writing this. I miss his sweet, little soul.
I don’t know what happens now, but I believe that it is full of freedom and full of love.