With deep sadness, Nat and I said goodbye to Pyxi this morning. I knew in my heart yesterday that there was no more that we could do for her to help her condition turn around. She was refusing food and water, getting weaker, and her little damaged kidneys were progressively losing ability to function. It has always been my position that when a beloved dog reached such a point, I would not force them to hang on because I couldn’t suck it up and say goodbye.
I consulted with both of her veterinarians. We all agreed that no more could be done to make her well and decided to help her go peacefully before she worsened and began to suffer. I’d read somewhere that it was helpful to the companion dog if he/she saw the other dog’s body after death. I didn’t want to leave with Pyxi, return without her, and have him go around looking for her and wondering where she was. Our primary vet and staff were wonderful. We made her comfortable, kept stroking her, and she went peacefully and quickly. She was ready.
Obviously, I am incredibly sad. I took the day off from work so Nat and I could just have quiet time at home and I would not require any more of myself than I could emotionally give. The outpouring of love and support in the form of condolence comments, text messages, and phone calls from friends and family has been amazing.
Last night, knowing what was coming was difficult and I worked on accepting what I couldn’t change and reaching for serenity. I have to admit that I veered from my food plan somewhat. My emotions were in waves… sadness would well up, crest with tears, and then recede to a sort of numbness. Looking back on the hours, in those numb moments, it felt like I was incapable of mindfulness. So that’s when I would eat off my plan. I ate the rest of a sweet potato that I had originally cooked, hoping to tempt Pyxi’s appetite. A little while later, I thought some sort of protein would be good, so I spread some of my home made ricotta on a piece of whole wheat toast. About an hour after that, I wondered if maybe Pyxi would nibble on even a tiny piece of bacon. (Bacon was a favorite treat. I don’t feed my dogs much “people” food, or any food that is very fatty. But when I cook a little bacon, I give each a couple of bites, knowing that the small bits wouldn’t hurt.) So, I cooked a couple of pieces, but Pyxi wasn’t interested. So I gave Nat half a slice, and ate the other slice and a half. It was tough for me to make the move to go to bed. I think this is because I knew it was our last night. I moved between sitting on the couch with her on my lap and stretching out on the floor next to the dog bed that she favored, just stroking her head. Since I was still up, I crunched a couple of small handfuls of cocoa-dusted almonds.
So… half a sweet potato; piece of whole wheat toast with ricotta; slice and a half of bacon; a couple handfuls of almonds. That my friends, constituted a binge for me last night. On a bright spot, although I thought about doing it at least a dozen times, I did not get in the car and drive to the corner store for ice cream and candy. I had flashes of wanting to, but I discovered that taking off my bra when I got home was a good deterrent. I was too tired to redress myself and there was no way on this green planet that I would go braless – even while grieving, even just to the convenience store.
I’ve been sharing with friends about my previous realization that not stuffing my emotions with excess food is a big part of the reason why I’ve been so emotionally wrecked and not coping as well with her illness as I feel I usually do with crises. I talked about this some more with a couple of friends who called to check on me. One told me that while I think I’ve been a mess, from what anybody else saw I was doing a darned good job of caring for Pyxi regardless. So, all in all, I was still coping. Another good friend, after hearing me talk a little glumly about not sticking to my plan and using food last night, listened to my list of food and said, “Oh yeah. Like that’s a bad fall off of the wagon.”
Her words and tone, with the smile in her voice, caught my attention and I got the point that she didn’t say which was, I surmised, “Give yourself a break.”
Both of these conversations were reminders to not beat myself up because I don’t deserve it, and to keep things in perspective. Indeed, to give myself a break. So that’s what I’m doing.
Nat and I are going to snuggle on the couch and take a little nap. I have an evening rowing class scheduled. Right now, I believe I’m going to keep the appointment. The workout will feel good. If it doesn’t feel right to me when the time comes, I can always change my mind and won’t beat myself up about it if I do. It’s a rough, upsetting day. I deserve to treat myself with kindness and consideration, no matter what.
Thank you all for being here for me during these difficult times. Your comments and support have helped.
Rest in peace, my sweet, special, feisty, Pyxi-girl. Nat and I love and miss you, but we are grateful that you are at ease.