In 4 hours my alarm clock will begin blaring, yet here I am wide awake stuck in a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. I long for sleep but all I manage to do is toss and turn. No matter what I do, sleep eludes me. Reading normally helps to quell the thoughts or serves as a sweet lullaby, but not tonight.
Two nights ago, death came knocking. It sought no life that wasn’t ready, but whether one is ready or willing it’s never easy for those that remain behind to mourn. I know, for some, the death of a pet means nothing significant — but I beg to differ.
In 2005, my dad died suddenly and we drove 15 hours south to my sister’s for the funeral. That night we heard a piercing cry coming from under the house and it seemed to have no end in sight. After a short time, we got some flashlights and I crawled under her house and discovered that her dog had given birth to 3 puppies. I thought the cries had come from her giving birth but when I was set to walk away I heard the cry again and discovered that one of the pups was by himself. I tried reuniting him with his mother, but she refused to nurse him. I tried several times but each and every time she refused to accept him. I begged, supplicated and yelled. Nothing helped. Eventually, I accepted defeat and broke down and cried for the pup, my dad, and myself. After a brief crying spell, something took over and I refused for death to claim another life. I would not allow it. I made it my mission to ensure the survival of this pup and, in retrospect, I think I needed something to live for. I drove to the store and bought formula and a bottle and nursed him. The following day, I took him with me to Mexico for the funeral and rarely parted from his side. I was worried that, when crossing the border, they would discover him and refuse him entry but they never even noticed he was in the car. He made it home with me to Kansas and I named him Lucky. Nothing could separate me from his side. I fed him and cuddled him, he was my baby and I wanted him to live. We made it past the toughest part and he had just begun to open his eyes. I was ecstatic. When I went to work or school my brother watched him. One day, which I cannot describe what day or what I’d done but I can remember getting home and my brother telling me that he’d accidentally hurt him and Lucky wouldn’t stop crying. He had sat on Lucky, it was almost comical to hear but when I heard Lucky crying and cringing in pain. . . I knew he would not make it. I forced him to take him to the vet, but I could not bear to go with him. He came home with lucky covered in a small blanket, Lucky had died. I cried as I dug his tiny grave beneath my favorite tree. I cried until I could cry no more. The life that he brought into my life was extinguished. I had nothing in me anymore. I had cried and felt more for Lucky, than I had at my own father’s funeral. Even now, after 8 years, it still hurts having lost him.
When Brandy died, I couldn’t help but feel for my boyfriend’s Mom. She’d had Brandy for 12 years and if my love for Lucky was immense after a mere couple of weeks I could not imagine the pain of losing someone after 12 years. She was a wonderful dog, she always greeted me with howls and her toothy smile. I don’t know what happens when death claims someone, but I hope that wherever Brandy and Lucky are I hope they’re enjoying themselves and know they are loved and missed dearly.