Today marks one week since my precious Lucy suffered from sudden heart failure.
And this is going to be one of those posts that most of you probably shouldn’t read.
This week has been the hardest week I’ve endured in a really long time, if not, ever.
I have learned so much about so many things.
About myself, my strength, my heart, and unfortunately my weakness.
There have been moments where I questioned whether or not I was crazy?
Thank goodness I stumbled on a website explaining the pet loss grieving process to reassure that I was not, in fact, crazy.
I am also incredibly thankful for the friends, family & co-workers who have shown such gracious understanding.
I’ll spare you all the emotional details, but know that should you ever endure such a loss I won’t hesitate to understand the frozen state you find yourself in when something as trivial as dropping an ice cube occurs.
Frozen and crumbled into a ball of a million tears.
Frozen and crumbled when your yard man asks “How’s Miss Lucy, I didn’t see her in the window this morning?”.
Frozen and crumbled when you realize you’re still leaving your bathroom door open with just enough “Lucy space” for her to come & go freely.
Frozen and crumbled when you come home to an empty house.
It’s so much harder than I ever thought possible.
I’m blogging my last day with her not to invoke a pity party on my behalf, but for anyone who finds themselves in the place I was one week ago and for all the things I didn’t know.
I can only describe the shock of Lucy’s passing as being hit by a freight train. Then, as the freight train doesn’t realize you’re already dead, rolls back over you to seal the deal. And even toots its horn too.
I couldn’t process the loss because I couldn’t process the shock.
For two solid days I trapped myself in the bed wanting to discount the entire world. I wouldn’t have ice cube incidents if I just stayed in the bed. No turning corners expecting her to be in certain rooms if I just hid under my covers.
Unfortunately, despite my pleas the world wouldn’t stop for my broken heart.
I noticed Lucy was acting “odd” early Friday morning. I don’t work on Fridays so we slept in. I always said she was meant to be my dog because neither of us are morning people.
Normal routine, “Lucy let’s get up” as I turned off the sound machine. We like to make ourselves think it’s always raining at night.
We walked to the front of the house together, I fixed her food in the kitchen but noticed she was lying in the dining room rather than under my feet. Oddness number 1.
I say to her “Lucy, come eat!” but she was uninterested. Oddness number 2.
At the time, I thought it was unusual but discounted it. I mean, sometimes I’m not interested in breakfast.
I texted the following photo to Brian with the message “Lucy is acting funny, she’s not eating & she’s hanging out in the dining room. She must not feel well”.
I went to my office/craft room and began finishing up some apron orders.
Lucy moved from the dining room to her bed in the living room where she stayed until lunch.
Brian came home to have lunch with us. He put his keys into the door, and she didn’t move. Oddness number 3.
Lucy was a typical dog. She raced to the door every time she heard keys and the opening of the door, and would get so excited the moment she saw Brian. “Pet me, pet me, pet me!” If you didn’t, she jumped onto the ottoman to get a little closer so you’d be sure to acknowledge her.
He walked over to her, pet her on her bed, and she wagged her tail but never moved.
Around 3:00pm she vomited a bright yellow liquid.
Looking back, I don’t think I took it seriously. She hadn’t eaten so I knew she didn’t have food to throw up.
I just thought she was feeling bad.
I was back in my craft room when she came in and rather than lying by feet she lay under the window across from me. Oddness number 4.
I can’t explain what I thought was going on but I knew she didn’t sleep with her head raised and that something was off. She was lying down, head raised, eyes droopy but not fully closed. I got on the floor with her, and tried to get her to come to me. When she opened her eyes, but wouldn’t come I called the vet. I now know she could’ve been passing out due to the lack of oxygen she was getting.
Our appointment was for Saturday morning, and I cannot tell you how many times I have replayed last Friday night over and over and over again in my head wishing I had brought her in sooner. My heart knew something was wrong, but I didn’t realize what was happening.
Overnight, she continued to get more lethargic. She was restless. On the bed, under the bed, in the bathroom, back on the bed.
Saturday morning is a day I may never forget.
I was getting ready to bring her to the vet when Brian said “you need to come see Lucy, something is really wrong”.
I saw my dog barely able to walk, wobbly when she would try. Her eyes were even more droopy, almost rolling back into her head. I sat on the floor and tried to hold her. She took a few steps toward me, then began walking deliriously backwards until hitting furniture and collapsing. I picked her up and held her so that she would save her energy. I told Brian to just hurry and we raced to the vet as we were.
I attempted to let her walk into the office to see if she was able. She collapsed on the pavement. She loved the vet’s office, so my heart dropped at the realization that something was seriously wrong.
Our vet examined her almost immediately. He tried to stand her on the exam table to determine the loss of mobility. Because she wasn’t hurt, he wanted to take her to be x-rayed and perform blood work to determine if something neurological was going on.
My sweet Lucy died during x-rays.
He took the first x-ray, attempted to reposition her for another when she began gasping for air. Her tongue turned purple and she took her last breath.
The one x-ray he was able to obtain showed evidence of an enlarged heart.
I sobbed. I yelled. I crumbled to the floor.
On Thursday she chased squirrels, happy and seemingly healthy. She ate dinner. She had treats. She snuggled and hogged my pillow.
On Saturday she was gone.
I have been tormented with my decision to not bring her in on Friday.
I just didn’t know.
I have learned that it’s expected to go through the anger, denial, guilt and mourning phases so I know that my guilt is okay.
Just doesn’t make it any easier.
I am comforted by the following statement from one of our pastors.
“Our pets are living little gifts that are on loan to us. Like our children, we are given time with them in order to release them back to Him.”
I will miss and love that little dog every single day that I live.