Darkness is also the Price of Love
February Fortescue (Slytherin)
Dedicated to Holly Noelle, February 25, 2015
What a glorious month it had been! February is usually gray and dreary here, but this year, the snow seemed like it would never stop falling, and it had covered our hills and paths in a blanket of white. I was in a creative mood and wanted to do a project I suspected no one had done before, so I took my large conch shell; my Endless Weekend lotion; and my February Angel trinket, placed them next to each other in the snow, photographed them, and made them my latest Facebook Cover. I remember shivering when I went back inside, since I had decided not to wear my gloves, but my seven pound poodle was staring at me, wide-eyed and panting. And I had thought my behavior was strange!
“Holly...Poodle Puppy....you can't possibly be hot! It is chilly in here! Brrrrr.” I called her a "puppy", even though she was fourteen years old, because she was so small. Holly was still panting. I absolutely did not understand it. I kept an eye on her from a distance. She appeared to have trouble walking, and her little back legs would give out, but she'd stand back up. She was able to drink water. I chose to ignore it.
The panting ended, but soon I noticed my dog was having difficulty standing up. I spotted her lying on a blanket next to my mom in the living room, and she just barely lifted her head. I asked Mom if she thought Holly wasn't feeling well. “She's dying,” Mom replied, tears in her eyes. “And you are NOT taking her to the vet! Let her die at home, in peace!” “She is?” I was stunned. I went over to my little dog and lay down next to her and talked to her, while patting her head. I asked her if she was sick. She didn't respond, other than to simply look at me. It broke my heart. “Mom, Holly is mine and my responsibility. I am taking her to the vet tomorrow, because I have to do what is best for her and not be selfish because I want her with me longer. If the vet's office were open right now, we'd be on our way this very moment.” My mother replied, “Then get her out of this room, because I can't stand it. I don't ever want to see her again.”
I picked up Holly and carried her to my bedroom. I sat her on my lap, and we watched movies. It felt as if the light from the snow had suddenly begun to grow dimmer and as if brightness was starting to leave the world, but all was not lost, because I still had a shadow of hope that Mom was wrong and my little Poodle Puppy could be saved. I talked to her. I sang to her. I cuddled next to her in her blanket that night, and the following morning, I set her down on the floor while got I ready to take her to the vet's office.
Holly and I heard Mom moving around in the living room. Holly did her best to get up and go to Mom, but her back legs would not cooperate. I would have carried her, but if this was to be her last day on Earth, I didn't want one of her last feelings to be rejection by a human she adored. I refused to cry, but my world became even darker. Strangely enough, I'm not sure Holly's did.
I placed my dog on a blanket between a wall and a shelf, with absolutely nothing of interest to look at. She had lain there countless times before. This time, however, she would look right and then she would look left. It wasn't a spasm, and she'd look in each direction for a different amount of time. If I talked to her, she had no problem focusing on me. She had never done this before. It was almost as if someone from the Other Side was letting her know she'd be joining them soon. Just a thought, but it brought me some comfort, and it still does. I now believed I would not be bringing her back home alive.
I made some phone calls, but no one was available, so I placed Holly in her port-a-puppy and drove to the vet's. After blood work and x-rays, the vet and I discovered that my little dog had a mass in her stomach and that it was most likely cancer. Her kidneys were shutting down, her temperature was below normal, and she was in the dying process. The vet offered to flush her kidneys, but she didn't believe Holly would even survive the process. I refused and said my little girl had suffered enough. As my Poodle was put to sleep, I rubbed her little crinkled head and kept repeating, “It's okay.” Her passing was peaceful. There was no sound, but I could not stop crying. My tears were almost blinding me, but I still had one more car ride left. Holly's body was wrapped up, and I drove us home.
Still not being able to find anyone available, I located a shovel and went to an old garden spot at the side of my and my dog's home. Despite the snow, the ground was not frozen. I dug a deep grave and placed her body inside. I sang her favorite song, covered her up, found an old wooden cross/stake, and made that her headstone. By this time, I was crying so hard I could not see, and I fell several times trying to get to the house. I knew it would be a long time before the darkness lifted, but going into that darkness and facing it head-on is the price we pay for having chosen to love.