It's anything but a typical Sunday morning. Yes, as usual it's early, Sheila is still asleep, and the house is eerily quiet and still dark. I'm alone with my thoughts, but having let go of Molly the Wonder Dog on Friday, her presence at my feet is what's missing, but that's only in my head. In my heart, she's right here where she always is.
Over the years I've talked about Sunday Morning Reflections as something I write that's often more therapeutic than informative. This morning is definitely on the therapy side of the balance. My life has morphed into that of a writer, and I dove out of bed with a need not to attract sympathy but to express my appreciation to so many of you.
The short version of losing Molly is she had Cancer, and while it was in several areas, the most massive tumor was in her liver. I made a decision early on that I would never put her through the pain of prolonging her life just for me and chose to let God direct the rest of her journey. Surprising her vet, she stayed wholly active and was still chasing tennis balls right up to 24 hours before we let her go.
The last few days Molly wasn't doing well. She wasn't eating, sleeping poorly, had erratic breathing, gagging and coughing a lot and slowing down. So, into visit the vet, Dr. Clarkson we went. She gave me three choices and told me she wasn't letting me leave without me choosing one of them. (A side note: Having a great doctor through a process like this doesn't stop the pain, but it does make it easier to handle. I'm so grateful to her and the techs at the clinic.)
As I talked about what was the right thing to do with the vet, the tears flowed non-stop. It was embarrassing as I reached for the Kleenex box a few dozen times. But in the end, while it was about to be horrible for me, I knew what had to be done for Molly. The night before when she was doing poorly, I wound up sleeping on the floor next to her. In the process of saying my goodbyes I promised her I'd never let her suffer - never let her quality of life diminish beyond normal aging.
And finally, I'm at my point this morning...this is about quality of life, but not just for Molly, but the help so many of you have provided to my life. I shared letting Molly go on Facebook, and in just hours there were a couple of hundred comments and 400 likes and crying emoticons. At a time when my quality of life emotionally was at a low, so many of you shared your condolences, love, prayers, and wisdom.
John Braswell wrote, "It is such a shame that our dogs don't live longer than they do...thoughts your way," and then he shared something with me that so hit home. It didn't stop my tears, but it did put my mind and heart in a better place.
But the story doesn't end here: What's bizarre is that at 2:45 am, I heard Molly bark and it woke me up. It had become her new routine in the fight with Cancer, letting me know she needed to go out. It was so real that I actually got up and walked to my home office where her bed used to be. I felt her presence, know that she came to me in a dream and went back to bed with a bitter sweet smile.
"I came to you late last night..." the words from what John had sent me, couldn't have been more real.
Then, the next day, Jeanne Harris sent me something to read that along with another hundred comments had a huge impact on me. It's an article called "On Losing a Dog" and so worth reading but it ends with:
"As I’ve said before, a dog can’t change the world but they can change your world. And if each of us can pass along even a fraction of the unmitigated, world changing love we receive from our dogs? Maybe we can see about that whole changing the world thing. Today we cry and howl. Tomorrow we wake up and change the world the same way Dutch did – one small act of selfless love at a time."
So, to all of you who have sent prayers and memories of my 13 1/2 years with Molly, thank you. I know it's sappy, but for so many years I've talked about this industry being a family. We share a passion for the craft, but more importantly, a passion for helping each other.
Wishing you an incredible Sunday and even more important than all the times I've written about it in the past - go for those eleven-second hugs with the people most important in your life, and don't forget your pet! That unconditional love is unmatched to anything you will ever experience.
Happy Sunday everybody!
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