We had to put our beloved Golden Retriever (12 years old), Norm, down last week. He had a tumor in his nose that was spreading into his eye. He was having difficulty breathing. His last stool had blood in it. The vet said we were doing the right thing, and it wasn’t too soon. She said he would have held on as long as he could, for us, but that it was time. When it was time, I couldn’t go. Tygh went. Instead, I sobbed as we loaded Norm into the car one last time. And I’ve been crying ever since. And my dear husband, whom I’ve seen cry 3 times in nearly 8 years, cried. I miss Norm so much. The house seems so much lonelier. And our other beloved dog, Lilith (5 years), has been completely out of sorts ever since (lots of whimpering, and chewing up our walls). I know others may not agree with this as theologically sound, but I believe that Norm is in heaven. In my heaven, anyway. In my quiet time yesterday, I felt very strongly Jesus say to me, “Norm is with me. You will see him again. He’s running in the fields.” Thank you, Lord.
— And then, we went on vacation. It actually helped to just leave the house for a week while we grieved. But, as expected, the silence was deafening when we came home. No Norm running out from the garage, barking. No dog hair all over the floor, the couches. No poop to pick up. And, since my sister had taken Lilith for the week, no pet to love on. Just humans in our house. It doesn’t seem right.
But… since there is never a dull moment in our family, below are the bullet points of a fun-filled (albeit bittersweet) week…
— It started off spectacularly, with a visit to the ER. That’s right. The night before we left for vacation, Brae woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. So, we got some chocolate milk (don’t worry – I gave him some real medicine, too), and he and I went downstairs, cuddled under some blankets, and watched 2 hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (the theme song still rings in my ears). Then, the next morning, I asked him, “Brae, do you remember being sick last night?” He paused. Then, he smiled. “Yes! Yo quiero do it again (I want to do it again!).” Sigh.
— So, back to the ER part of the story. After Brae had the fever for 48 hours, Sienna got sick. And then Brae started puking. So, I took Sienna to the ER (while on vacation), and Tygh stayed home while Brae spent the entire day throwing up. Thankfully, both are now better.
— Brae put a bottle of Vicks Vapo-Rub in his hair. (side note — that stuff works better than any hair gel I’ve ever seen).
— Brae insisted on making his own sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly. And ketchup. (he ate the whole thing. Twice).
— My sister-in-law and I took Brae and his cousin for a bike ride. The boys rode in the chariot that my sis pulled. Up hills. With Brae shouting from the comfort of his seat, “Go faster! Pedal. Your. Feet!”
— Brae has OCD. He insists on touching things and not letting go until he counts to ten. And then he’ll let go. Sadly, I think I inadvertently taught him this.
— I have these little figurines in our house. They are on a table in the hallway. I like them to face a certain way. Brae likes them to face the other way. In the morning, they face north. At some point during the day, without me seeing, Brae turns them to face south. And then I turn them back. It’s this little dance we do. We’ve never talked about it.
— This evening, Brae saw me watering the flowers. He asked if he could help. I nodded, and handed him the watering can. I wanted him to feel independent, so I went inside to do other chores while he watered the flowers. A few minutes later, he came in with a huge grin and an empty can. I went outside. He did a great job. Watering all our rocks.
— I’ve been teaching Brae to pray at night. We fold our hands, and I say a simple little prayer out loud for the both of us. The other night, I asked Brae to pray. As usual, we folded our hands and closed our eyes. I sat silently waiting for Brae to start praying. After about 30 seconds, Brae bursts out, “Amen!”. Apparently, the boy likes to pray just in his head.