Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Goodbye, my little buddy...

Old Skip was 11, and feeble with arthritis, but he never lost that old devilish look in his eye. He made my room his own. Came across an old photo of him not long ago. His little face, with the long snout sniffing at something in the air. His tail was straight out and pointing. Eyes were flashing in some momentary excitement. He always loved to be rubbed on the back of his neck. And when I did it, he'd yawn, and he'd stretch, reach out to me with his paws as if he was trying to embrace me. I recieved a trans-atlantic call one day. "Skip died", Daddy said. He and my mama wrapped him him my baseball jacket. They buried him out under the elm tree, they said. That wasn't totally true. For he really lay buried in my heart. My Dog Skip, Willie Morris

Last week, my mother told me that she was going to put my beloved 16-year-old Westie, LuLu, to sleep.

She didn't go through with it that day, but did yesterday. She packed up LuLu to bring her down to Florida for a couple of months last week.

I am hardly home anymore, and with LuLu needing extra attention in her golden years, we figured it was best if she went down south for the winter with the snowbirds.

My mom brought her to the vet, and was told she was full of cancer and there was nothing they could do for her.

My little white dog who was with me throughout every milestone since I was 10-years-old is really gone.

I am having random bursts of tears out of the blue since when that new dog food commercial with the little Westie came on after Dancing with the Stars last night...the dog jumps on the pink comforter and the commercial says something about how "we'll always be there for you when you wake-up." (I tried to laugh at the impeccably groomed pup on television, reminding myself that my little ragmuffin LuLu NEVER looked like the model Westies.)

I thought back to my many years of having my own pink comforter and a little Westie curl-up next to me in the morning.

Sometimes she'd actually run her paw through my hair to wake-me up. She'd drop bones on my pillow, and when I'd use my big satin blanket in the wintertime, she'd slip off of it. When I got a trundle bed when I was around 13, I realized she couldn't jump so high to get onto my new bed, but she'd still try. I'd usually have to lift her.

Whenever I was sick or just lazy, I'd rest on the couch in our living room with a certain blue blanket over me. LuLu would see that blanket and automatically take it as her cue to rest on my shoulder.

She hardly ever barked...we actually thought she was a mute dog when we first got her. I taught her how to rollover shortly after we got her...I was so proud of that. She would rollover the whole length of the house the second she saw a milkbone.

She even brought a freshly killed rabbit to our door horrified as we all were, she had been so proud.

She only ran away once, a few months after we got her. Other than that, she knew she belonged with us, ever since the day we got her...the day after Christmas, 1992...her owners could no longer take care of her, and placed an ad in the local paper. I remember how sad her original owner was, and that I felt bad feeling happy because I knew he really didn't want to give her away.

However, LuLu walked away with us that day and didn't even look back.

She was meant to be our dog.

When I was a teenager, my dad died of cancer. He was sick for over a year. He died at home, and I left the room right before he died. I couldn't handle sister mom could...but I couldn't.

I think that I have held onto a lot of guilt because I wasn't there when he died...I wasn't strong enough to be there like my mom and sister were. I can write-it off as, "I was just a kid...I handled it the best I could..." but I wish I had been strong enough to be there.

Yesterday, I couldn't be there when my mother took my dog to the vet and had her put to sleep. I didn't even know until after it had happened.

My dad has been gone eight years, and I still do not feel strong.

Part of me still feels like my dad is upset with me because I wasn't strong enough to be there when he died...even though I was a kid...and now I have the same feelings about LuLu...except I'm supposed to be an adult now.

Was she upset that I wasn't there? Is she angry at me? Does she understand that I couldn't be there? That I didn't know until after she was gone?

And part of me is just so grateful that I WASN'T there...that I didn't have to be there the moment my very faithful friend of fifteen years slipped from this earth.

There's a legend about the Rainbow Bridge... I always liked this story, and am trying to find comfort in it now.

According to this story, the animals on the Rainbow Bridge are very happy, but are hanging out until their "special person" from earth can join them, and then they go to Heaven together.

I remember when Dad was sick, and how LuLu never left his side.

And I don't know how the rules work when one of the dog's special people move on before the dog, but I know my dad and my dog are together now.

Goodbye, LuLu.

For the rest of my life, you will always be the greatest Christmas present I ever got.

And now, is it too late to say
How you made my life so different in your quiet way?
I can see the joy in simple things,
A sunlit sky and all the songs we used to sing.

I have walked and I have I prayed.
I could forgive and we could start again.
In the end,
You are my one true friend.

For all, all the times you closed your eyes,
Allowing me to stumble or to be surprised,
By life, with all its twists and turns.
I made mistakes, you always knew that I would learn.

And when I left, its you who stayed.
You always knew that Id come home again.
In the end,
You are my one true friend.

Though love may break, it never dies.
It changes shape, through changing eyes.
What I denied, I now can see.
You always were the light inside of me.

I know, I know, I know, I know it was you.

I have walked and I have I prayed.
I could forgive and we could start again.
In the end, you are my one true friend.

My one true friend.
I always, always knew,
I always knew that it was you,
My one true friend
-Bette Midler-

Now and Forever
You are a part of me
And the memory cuts like a knife
Didn't we find the ecstasy
Didn't we share the daylight
When you walked into my life
Now and forever I will remember
All the promises still unbroken
And think about all the words between us
The never needed to be spoken

We had a moment
Just one moment
That will last beyong a dream, beyond a lifetime
We are the lucky ones
Some people never get to do
All we got to do
Now and forever
I will always think of you

Didn't we come together
Didn't we live together
Didn't we cry together
Didn't we play together
Didn't we love together
And together we lit up the world

I miss the tears
I miss the laughter
I miss the day we met and all that followed after
Sometimes I wish I could always be with you
The way we used to do
Now and forever
I will always think of you
Now and forever
I will always be with you
-Carole King-

Some things are meant to be, the tide turning endlessly,
the way it takes hold of me, no matter what I do,
and some things will never die, the promise of who you are,
the memories when I am far from you.
All my life, I've lived for loving you; let me go now.

Little Women, the Musical

Diana Rissetto