Monday, March 7, 2011

The greatest loss

  Last night around 11:30 our beloved son Elvis passed on.  I can't believe how empty the room feels without him, and I find myself still checking his spot to see if he's okay . . . . I hate hate hate having to talk about him in the past tense, but . . . . but.  I just finished his memorial page (it's something I do to cope) and it just doesn't feel like enough.  We have over 200 pictures of him and a couple of videos and it's not enough.  No amount of words can ever properly cover his life and what he meant to us.  HE WAS OUR SON!  Not "like a son" and certainly not "just a dog".  Never that. 

  Aaron was his father for a good 10 years or so before I ever came into the picture.  I knew that Elvis was first in his heart and never begrudged him that.  I understood and embraced.  I had no choice, really.  You know the feeling that you're the last person to get the memo?  That was me.  Aaron knew I was family long before I did and Elvis did as well.  Early on I spent a week at Aaron's (yeah, the secret's out, I lied, sue me) and Elvis would sleep snuggled up in my clothes pile.  Not on the bed as he would in the coming years, not on Aaron's pile of clothes.  Mine.  For a while he would remind me so much of JoJo it would make me cry.  I'd lay there on the bed crying and he'd come up to comfort me and I'd cry even harder, just holding on to him crying.

  When Aaron moved in with me the move was not easy on Elvis.  Every time we moved he thought we were going to leave him.  All he wanted was to be with his parents.  Once he realized he had a room and a yard he would calm down again and settle in.  Always had a yard for him to run and poop in.  And for all the years we never could find his poops.  Want to check for worms?  Too bad, Houdini-poops.  He'd drop his load then run full speed straight for the door.  For a while we had a couch-bed.  We intended to couch it during the day, but that never happened.  He claimed the underside as his own little condo.  He'd come out only to go outside and get his food.  He could chew on his feet as much as he wanted to under there and we'd never see it.

  When we first moved out here there was a little terrier next door.  He loved that little thing.  They'd sniff each other through the fence then Elvis would proceed to piss on his (her?) head.  It was like a game.  He'd pine for Gracie across the way.  He always loved the ladies.  When my sister had Sasha he would just whine and pine trying to get at her.  When my mom got Jet he would do the same. 

  There were times that were tough for him and he troopered through.  The year we had issues with Hunter Rental and he took the LONG walk around the neighborhood with his father.  The summer we went without electricity and we had to keep him cool with a squirt bottle and battery-powered fan.  He always let us take care of him.  Even as he aged and became unwell; blind, in pain and scared he always let us take care of him.  By all rights he should have lashed out, bitten us when we were trying to help.  He never did.  He recognized his parents and let us love and care for him.

  He had many talents.  He could nab a piece of bacon from your lips with the utmost delicacy.  In his prime he could sumersault off Aaron's lap.  He'd sit like a man watching movies and eating chips and salsa.  All we had to do was pop the top off a can of Mighty Dog and he'd take off with it, work out every last bit and come out clean.  No cuts from the sharp edges.

  I guess it's time to cover the sadness.  Anybody reading this will know that he hasn't been well for a while.  It's hard to tell when it started.  There was definitely a progression.  When his arthritis started getting bad and he couldn't really bend his head down we'd give him his water through a syringe and feed him on a plate we brought to him.  And his sight was so bad it had to be Alpo because that was the only food that had a strong enough smell that he knew it was something to eat.  He let us do this for him.  He let us hold him up to walk around so he could do his business and when he was unable to put forth even that much effort he let us lift and re-situate him so we could clean him.  He got an abscess on his hind leg that left a huge hole and he let us bandage it.  All without complaint and without lashing out.  We handled his seizures as best we could, but in the end . . . . his time came.  As hard and painful as it was I'm glad we were awake and here and able to sit with him and pet him and be with him.  He was not alone.  He was with his parents as he always was.

  I can't believe he's not laying behind me.  I can't believe that I won't ever here "you'll wake up the pup" or "we have to get back to him".  No more puppy dreams or puppy stretches or puppy yawns.  It doesn't feel real.  I know it is, but it doesn't feel like it.  We always had "ghost pig" with us whereever we went, I have to believe he will still be with us, but it just won't be the same.  It'll never be the same.  He was always there for us when we needed him and we rearranged our lives to be there for him when he needed us and I wouldn't give any of it back.  The sleeping on the floor, the whines, the extra laundry, the tears and fears and time limits.  None of it.  I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.  We both would.  Because he deserved all that and more.  Nothing I say could ever do him justice or make anyone understand who doesn't already.  He is the reason I want to bitch-slap anyone who's ever said "You don't know until you have a child".  No.  YOU don't understand.  HE WAS OUR SON.  People with human children go into it with the assumption that their kids will outlive them.  We went in knowing that would never be true.  That we would have to deal with this and you know what?!  We would do it all again because he was so much more. 

  I can't type anymore.  Even if I had more words in me it still wouldn't be enough.  He loved us, he humored us, he supported us and he was there when no one else was.  I believe he hung in long enough not only for Aaron to get his surgery, but also to reunite with his dad.  Because as much as he loved his mother he loved his father even more.  He had a helluvan extended family, human and furry alike, and he approached every last one of 'em with love.  When parents had to leave for an extended time he was a good boy for his grandfather (my dad) and he recognized his feline sisters just as easily as he had his mother.

  I guess just a bit more.  He's also the reason I laugh so hard at these germ-phobic health-nut parents of both human and furry children.  Elvis lived a long long time.  Out of 20-odd years only in the last couple did he have problems.  Before that he was as young and spry as he had ever been.  Up until he was 15 or 16 you'd swear he was still a puppy in his prime.  He never got his shots and his diet was 66% people food.  For a while he'd share a whole plate of bacon with me.  He enjoyed Twizzlers, french fries, pizza crust.  Anything we ate, he ate.  Even salsa.  I know, I know "OMG onions!"  He only got the liquid and still he thrived.  Rumor has it he even got chocolate a few times.  And he thrived.  It's not something I recommend, obviously, but my point is he enjoyed his life.  We didn't deny him because it was "the right thing to do".  We kept him involved in what we were doing (and eating) because he was our son and deserved to be included and until he slowed down on his own we never coddled him.  Treated him like a puppy and he lived like a puppy.

  Okay, I guess that's all for now.  I miss him so much already and hitting "publish" is just another reminder that he's really gone . . . .

1 comment:

  1. OMG...this made me sob. Dog's really are the superior species. They are like pure love.

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