Yesterday afternoon at 3:30 I said goodbye to my dear sweet girl Nellie.
In the spring of 2003, I did a soul retrieval, trying to reconnect with lost parts of myself. One part that came to the surface was my 3-month-old self and the shaman who took the journey with me suggested I get a doll and rock it and acknowledge it. I tried that but the doll just didn't do it for me. So I went to the Humane Society and found Nellie, who was 3 months away. We bonded in a deep and loving way from the beginning and I knew she knew me just as I knew her.
Nellie had many friends among my friends and in the two weeks since her diagnosis with intestinal lymphoma, a parade of people has come through to sit with her and say goodbye. She was a regular member of the Writing Friday women's circle and she charmed every cat sitter I had.
All day Wednesday I struggled with my decision. Keep her going on steroids as long as I could or release her while she felt good? I opted finally for the latter, for her and for me, as I could not tolerate more days of second-guessing, hoping for a different outcome when none was possible, anticipating the difficulty of her loss. We had a good day on Thursday. Our weather was heavenly: sunny, warm, a light breeze, the Fall at its most magical. Nellie spent time in the garden behind us with my good friend Melanie, and then she and I had two hours on the porch swing basking in the sun where I murmured sweet nothings and she licked my hand.
A lovely vet came to the house. She was friendly, kind, and respectful. Nellie took a while to settle, to slow, to let go, and I was in no hurry. And then she was gone. I felt her presence last night but not this morning. And now we close up our circle with one less.
Yesterday morning my very close friend Sue sent me a quote: Welcome everything. Push away nothing. I'm doing my best to welcome in the grief, the loss, the broken-hearted tears streaming down my face. I could not push away the cancer that had her in its grip, I will not push away the sorrow that I feel. After all it's the consequence of deep love.