We’ve been preparing for prom and graduation. In the process, I’ve made 1001 decisions. Paint colors–for fingernails and walls. Carpet, shoes, food and flowers. Yet, no decision has been as difficult as the one we now face.
After a morning at the vet clinic, it is clear that our geriatric lab is suffering tremendously. She never complains–no whining or whimpering, no growling or yipping–and she’s never lost her temper in that curmudgeonly way aging animals do. She’s as sweet as ever and loyal to a fault.
You see, despite every joint in her legs being affected, she still follows the kids up and down the stairs. She still gets up whenever her humans look at her, talk to her or walk away. She would lay down her life for any of us, a sad irony when you consider we now have to choose her fate.
If the pain medication does not ease her discomfort, we will have no choice. If it does work, it’s likely that she will simply sleep all day in a drug-induced stupor, and we will be forced to choose between saying goodbye to our dearest family pet or keeping her alive despite her failed quality of life.
Her mind is sound. Her eyes are bright and her love for us deep and more clear than if she could voice it. My heart breaks at the very thought of what the next week will bring.
For some, trunking a novel elicits the same heartbreaking emotion. We’ve lived and breathed these characters. Heck, we’ve given birth to them. By some estimates, the writing journey–from the first excited “Once upon a time” to “The End” of a book contract–averages ten years. Ten years.
That’s how old Kallie is.
Saying goodbye to a manuscript or a beloved pet is never easy, yet sometimes, it is the right thing to do.
When the time comes, we will say goodbye to Kallie at the farm–hunting land that has been in the family for generations. A few years ago, Middle Son received a tree for Arbor Day. It’s planted on a crest overlooking the pond. I can’t think of a better place for Kallie to rest in peace.
May your day be filled with hope and happiness.