Thursday, August 11, 2011

When It's Time

About two years ago, my family’s almost 17 year-old dog Clifford passed away after a lengthy illness, and, at the time, his deterioration was the hardest thing I'd ever had to watch up close.

Cliff gave us so much and in many ways got our family started when he joined my husband and me while we were expecting our first child. He taught us many lessons, including and ending with three of the most important:  through him we started to learn about how to care for and comfort to the end; he showed us that love transcends all boundaries, including the difficulties of a terrible disease and even the end of life;  and, finally, he taught us that sometimes the only thing left to do for one so very sick is to them let go. 

Clifford struggled through many months of decline, losing his playfulness, his independence, his dignity, and finally, the light in his eyes.  He had grown up with our children, and, after all he had given to us over the  years, it was my duty to hold his head in my lap and tell him that his job here on Earth was done, that he had done what he’d come to do, and that it was ok if he was ready to go on ahead of us.  As I watched him take one last big breath, a sigh of relief really, I knew in my heart it was his time to go but that one day I would see him again, carrying a shoe in his mouth and running around among the clouds.  

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