When You Know, You Know
Everyone said, ‘don’t worry, you’ll know when it’s time.’
They were right.
I kept thinking….well, I don’t know, so does that mean it’s not time? Or do I just not want to know?? Until one day (last Wednesday)…I just knew.
Marley’s decline has been a long, slow one. Her biggest issue has been her hip mobility. We went from walking miles, to blocks, to one block, to the end of the street and back, and most recently, just to the driveway and back if we’re lucky. She has been falling more and more and walking slower and slower. She can’t get up or down the stairs. Most times she can’t stand up on her own.
The big turning point for me was talking to a friend who just went through the same thing. I said, ‘it was an easier decision for you because Uno had cancer and you knew he was just going to get worse.’ And it was like a lightbulb went off in my head: Marley may not be ‘sick,’ but she’s only going to get worse.
The thought of losing Marley is totally crippling. Think back 15 years: where you were, how old you were, what you were doing. I was fresh out of college, living alone and on my own for the first time in Wilmington where I knew no one. But I had Marley. She was my EVERYTHING. She’s been with me through different jobs and cities. So many houses (8, I just counted). She was there when I went through my divorce. No matter what changed in my life, Marley was there. The thought of her not being here anymore, it feels unbearable. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to live so much more life without her. It feels like I don’t know how to do that; that I can’t do it.
But she’s not well, and I know she’s suffering. She can’t tell me how much, but I know she’s not living a good life. And it’s not fair for her to live like this just because I can’t let go…even when letting go will be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
We have one more week and we’re going to spoil the shit out of her. She’s going to eat bacon and ice cream. We’re taking her to the creek she used to play in. My photographer is taking some final family pictures. And I’m going to sit with her and lay with her and pet her and kiss her and love on her as much as I can for the next 8 days.
Instead of being sad to lose her, I’m going to be grateful that I had 15 years with her. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I will never love another dog this much, I’m going to be thankful that I knew a love this great. Instead of feeling like I’m letting her go, I’m going to find comfort that I am letting her finally rest, pain free.
And I’m going to cry. There is no way around my being completely heartbroken. But I am the luckiest girl in the world that I was able to be her momma. Even with the pain I am feeling now, I would never trade the years I’ve had with Marley, and I will always consider her my greatest gift.
Marley, I love you, forever and always, and more than anything.