The Long Goodbye




I don’t know anyone who particularly likes goodbyes. But I have been known to skip them altogether. As in, I will walk past your place on the day you are leaving and just keep on walking. It’s not because I love you too little. It’s that it hurts too much. It hurts and I am not brave. And so pretending that it’s not happening has always been comforting to me. I know I will see you again and stalk your Facebook page.  But today I’m facing a goodbye I cannot avoid. I keep medicating myself with music, exercise, wine and social media. But it never leaves me. It just stays crouched in the corner watching.  When I make eye contact, I completely lose my marbles. So I at least try not to do that so much.

I have to say goodbye to the only four-legged child I’ve ever known. My Moxie. I remember when she was a puppy, days old, the runt of the litter. Her chocolate fur all smashed to her face. Easily the ugliest of the bunch. But it was love at first sniff of puppy breath for me. No turning back. I was all in. And, like anyone else who begins to love some thing or some one, I immediately became aware of the fear of losing her.
Moxie has a liver issue. Could be cancer, could be disease. It’s bad. We’ve looked into all of our options and tried remedies only heard of on the internet. But it all ends the same way. I guess it’s not surprising for an aging lab. We found out at Christmas and have eaked out a few more months (thanks to my husband who has buried himself in the research). But my goodbye to Moxie began long before this.
At birth her breeders were told to put her down. Too weak, too small, too sickly. But with their love and attention, she pulled through. This is how she earned her name. The risk of losing her was there then gone,  but the some-day stayed.
At two, Keith and I made an innocent but stupid mistake that caused Moxie to have a heat stroke. Near her death, I begged God to save her. To give her another chance. And, if he did, I promised I would not protest too much when her real time came to leave. The risk of losing her was there then gone, but the some-day stayed.
So here I am. Not protesting. Only grieving. Grieving the little ball of fur who made me a mom. Grieving my walking buddy, my foot warmer, and my duckling. Just like any animal lover, it is the small things I will miss:  seeing her sprawled out like a bear rug, watching her soak up the warmth of the sun, the click of her nails approaching after I’ve opened a bag of chips. I cannot remember life before Moxie really. Missing  her will be the hole I walk around in the day and fall into at night (Millay).  At least for a while.  I know time heals.  But time does not fill.
Our some-day is here.  I cannot avoid this one. It’s not today. And maybe not tomorrow. But we are assured it will be soon. I don’t grieve prettily.   But I will hold grief and gratitude side by side in the days to come.   My God has been very kind.