Heartbreak Holiday

I never really expected it to be the greatest Christmas ever. Let’s face it, times are a bit challenging. There have been setbacks, disappointments and losses. And, even for a Christmas loving girl like me, the holidays are hard when you’re single. I have people who love me, to be sure, and invitations and places to go. But when you arrive at, and leave every event by yourself, it’s hard not to feel like the rest of the world is paired up. I’m independent, and what I would classify as single “mostly” by choice, but I still occasionally pine for someone to share things with, especially at this time of year. It can be lonely.
What I didn’t expect to happen this week was that I would lose my sweet little dog, Louie. It wasn’t that his death was unexpected. He was 16, ancient in dog years, and had been experiencing several health issues. I had talked about it with my nearest and dearest, knowing that the time would be coming when I would have to say goodbye to him. But, even with that foresight, it still came with a jolt when he started having breathing problems Sunday night. I was up most of the night with him, holding him and trying to comfort him. At dawn I found an emergency vet with extended hours and brought him in. The very kind doctor told me he was in heart failure, and wouldn’t recover. After a brief conversation, I decided to let him find peace. It was the right thing to do; I have no doubt or second guessing on that. The only reason to prolong his pain would be out of selfish needs of my own, not for him.
They took him away from me for a few minutes, and returned with him wrapped in a soft blanket, with an i.v. port inserted. He seemed so frail, so tiny. They gave me a few minutes in private to say goodbye. I told him he was a good dog, and that I loved him. And then, a shot was administered and he went to sleep in my arms. I felt my heart break, and I cried, unashamedly, in front of the vet tech and the kind doctor. Then I went to my car, called my best friend, and then my sister, cried some more, and drove home.
I literally cried buckets that day. It was a work day, and I had a couple of conference calls, so somehow I pulled myself together to do what needed to be done. Fortunately, I work from home, so nobody could see that in between those calls, even while I worked, I cried and cried. I also worried about Daisy Petals; she has never known a life without her brother. But she seemed perfectly fine, which I found both a huge relief and a teeny bit annoying.
I don’t have children. I don’t believe that my love for my dogs, as great as it is, equals a parent’s love for their child. But I had shared 16 years of my life with Louie. I had cared for him, fed him, played with him and slept with him. He had comforted me in times of sickness, made me feel safe again after I was robbed, welcomed me whenever I returned home, and cracked me up a million times with his weird little ways. A little piece of my heart died when he died. I am done crying, mostly, but I feel sad. I keep looking for him and then have to remember I’ll never see him again. He’ll never bark at me as I’m preparing his dinner, or snuggle with me as I nap. Last night I took his little stairs to the couch out to the studio. As I propped them up in the corner, I couldn’t help but think of Tiny Tim’s crutch, left hanging on the wall after “future” Tim is gone. I cried yet again, and then had to laugh at myself.
It’s Christmas Eve as I write this, but I won’t post it until after Christmas. It’s not my intent to garner sympathy or bring anyone down. I will have a happy Christmas, because it is within my control, and that is my choice. I will miss my sweet little dog, but will try my best to focus on all the fun we had. I’ll play with Daisy and appreciate every moment I have with her. I’ll reach out to my friends and family and feel grateful that I have them in my life. I’ll watch It’s a Wonderful Life tonight, my Christmas Eve tradition and a wonderful reminder that life is precious, even when it’s not perfect.
Merry Christmas, and with all my heart, Happy New Year. Let there be peace on earth, and let this coming year be filled with health, good fortune and happiness.
The end, for now


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