I Don't Know How...

I got out of bed, grumbling that my yardwork sore body was moving at 1:30 in the morning. I let Doggie-Pup out the back door, still grumbling under my breath and wishing her midnight potty times would stop. I went and got a drink of water and went back to the door, watching her down by the barn doing her business. She finished, turned, and started back towards the door, but was walking like she was drunk. She got to the back door, and looking completely confused turned around and faced away. I said, "Hey, doors this way, sweetie..." She sat down and didn't respond with her "Yeah, I know mom," look over the shoulder. Instead her hind legs gave out and she sat down with a thump on the side walk, panting like I've never heard her pant before. I tried to open the door but bumped her bottom with it, and she fell completely- her front legs gave out.

In a tearful panic, afraid of what was happening to her, I ran back into the bedroom, grabbing my robe, and woke Hubby up- "I think Shadow's having another stroke. Wake up!" He went out the back door and sat on the sidewalk, Hubby pulling her top half into his lap. I called my parents and told them to come quick, something was wrong with Shadow. I went back outside and sat on the sidewalk on the other side of her. I was numb, I couldn't get my sleep addled mind around what was happening. I just knew she wasn't panting anymore. With tears in his eyes, Hubby rubbed her head and shoulders.

"What's that sound? What's happening?" I asked, not recognizing my own voice. "She's agonal breathing," he replied. Wait, no... She can't. That's, no! Agonal breathing is the medical term for the dying brain still telling the mostly dead body to keep breathing. A term used often is the "Death Rattle". Mom and Dad arrived shortly after the agonal breathing stopped. That meant that she was gone before I even turned around to get Hubby out of bed. She was still. Silent. Hubby checked for a pulse and began to sob. Over my shoulder I heard my father and my mother both start to cry. I sobbed. I wailed. I touched her, rubbed her, kissed the top of her head... I couldn't let her go. Not like this. Not on Mother's Day... Hubby went into the house and got a bath towel while I sat there cursing myself for not saying "Our magic words" before going to bed that night. A little prayer that I said silently in my head while cuddling Shadow before going to sleep. I was too tired... Hubby said it wasn't my fault and not to start blaming myself.

Hubby wrapped her body in the towel, and with the help of my parents carried her into the garage, laying her in the wheelbarrow while I lost control of myself there on the cold sidewalk, looking at the puddle of her drool quickly sinking into the concrete next to me.

Hubby and I wandered the house in a fog after my parent's left at 2am. Touching things of hers, smelling her scent in the bedsheets, crying, sobbing, feeling like a big part of us was just violently ripped away. "At least we didn't have to make the phone call to the vet... To take her on that last car ride into town... I know niether of us could have made that call..." Hubby said as we lay in bed, listening for her toenails across the bedroom floor, wishing she'd come to bed with us.

I slept maybe three hours, getting up around 6:30 that morning. I made coffee and looked at the floor where she should have been begging for her breakfast. That beam of sunshine hitting the carpet was empty. I heard Hubby waking up, wandering around the bedroom- looking for her. We stripped her bed, tucking her blankets into a paperbag and picked out which of her many stuffed animals were going with her. We picked out her Duckie, Pinky Dog, and Digger- a gopher stuffed animal. I picked up her nightlight we had int he bedroom and set it in the pile- she always needed a nightlight to sleep. I found the blanket we put on the seat for her in my truck when we took her for car rides and decided we'd wrap her in that for her burial. Then Hubby went and got her last pig ear from the snack tote under the sink, placing it in the pile, sobbing the whole time.

After tucking all of her belongings into paper bags and brigning them down to the basement, I stood there at the back door- looking out, wishing we were wrong and that it was all a mistake. That she'd be standing at the back door, wagging her tail and waiting for breakfast. The sidewalk was empty- there was only shadows from the maple tree there.

Hubby and I brought her down to my parents where the family animal cemetery is, along with her two favorite guinea pigs that had passed but were still awaiting burial in the garage- Calico and Goober. We dug a large hole on the sunny ridge above the rest of the family pets, including many guinea pigs and out dog Dottie that passed years ago. We tucked Shadow into the hole between her two piggies and said goodbye to our daughter. When we got home, we took the advice of my mom. Get a big sheet of paper out, write her name in the middle, and start writing down eveything you remember- memories, sounds, habits- EVERYTHING before the pain of losing her takes away the small memories. That way when we miss her, we can got back and read those things- triggering our memories that photos don't quite capture.

We both wrote down the many nicknames- Doonie, Roozle, Doggie-Pup... The sounds she made- licking her bowl clean, toenails on the bedroom floor, her snoring, her inverted puppy snorts. Things she did- crazy puppy runs around the yard, her commando crawl onto our bed after we tucked her into hers, the puppy party she'd having, rolling around on her back after we made the bed in the morning. Things that she loved eating. Her playing with her piggies in the living room on cage cleaning days. Everything. Both our sheets of paper are full, and we'r ekeeping our lists out in the kitchen to quickly write down other things we remember- like "Time to peed the fog... It's dog feeding time!" something we say every morning to her. I wrote that down this morning.

Xpird, ACDC, and Globug all came up from Kalamazoo, she was a part of their lives to. Xpird and ACDC forced us out into the world to eat something for the first time all day around 2pm. Globug arrived shortly after 3pm styaing until close to 1pm before heading back south.

I don't know how to not cry. Hubby went to work this morning for a couple hours and I'm all alone in this house. I know we still have the piggies, and the three cats- but even they know something's not right. I have the kitchen radio on just for noise, as well as the fire scanner turned up high. When I'm working in my office, Shadow's usually dozing on the bed watching her morning TV shows. I don't know how to make my body and heart stop hurting long enough to function. I slept in bed last night alongside my Hubby clutcing her favorite toy- Tiger. Hubby has her Sleepy Sheep and Moo Cow on his nightstand. One of our children died yesterday, on Mother's Day. And while I still have my kritter kids here in the house with me- the one I loved most, worried the most over, is gone. And it's killing me inside... I don't know how to stop hurting... Niether Hubby nor I know how to stop hurting...

Tomorrow, on Hubby's day off- we are going to clean the bedroom and the house, vaccum up a portion of all her shed hair that's woven into this house and it's furniture. To clean up the clumps of hair hiding in the dark corners of the rooms. And maybe even washing the bedding- if we can stand it. I remember spritzing the bedding to make it not smell so doggy on a weekly basis- but now, all I want it to wrap up in the dog smelling blankets and feel her near me again...

This hurts so very much...


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