It has been 17 days since Hank has been gone and although I still cry every day, the pain from his loss is finally starting to loosen its grip on me. Although complete peace and acceptance still seems unattainable, I can say that it is getting better little by little and I do have hope that the mopey bitch I have become is on her way to healing and getting back to being herself.
I have obviously had a lot of time for reflection and I realized that there are a lot of people I want to thank for their support and love for Hank and I during this process. And as usual, it’s a perfect excuse to make a list. So here goes….
- To Adam. For supporting all the decisions we made for Hank and reassuring me that I was doing right by him. For helping with every aspect of his care during the past year. For the countless times I asked you to get up in the middle of the night to give Hank his meds while I was at work….and the fact that you were happy to do it. For crying with me through it all and for allowing yourself to be vulnerable. For accepting Hank into your life and loving him as much (if not more) than I did despite all of his quirks. For allowing me to grieve in my own way. For not judging me or making me feel guilty for the many days I lay around the house doing nothing (despite having a ton of crap to do) because I am just too sad. For simply holding me when you hear me cry. For wanting to still make Hank a presence in our lives. For picking up the slack I have left in taking care of our other fur babies without being asked. For just being you and for loving me.
- To my Mom. For all your help. For coming to the house after Hank’s surgery to help me with bandage changes, giving meds, draining his seroma, getting him outside and up/down the stairs and everything else when Adam was at work. For giving me company and helping to drive on our many trips with Hank to Fort Collins for his initial Oncology consult, his chemo sessions, his radiation, etc. after I had worked all night and was running on little to no sleep. For taking care of Hank every time Adam and I went out of town the past year because I couldn’t trust anyone else to care for him (and for not getting overwhelmed with the pages of instructions and bags of crap I would leave with you). For forming a bond with Hank that I have never seen between you and a dog. For talking me off the ledge the many times I called crying about a bad day he had. For showing up to the house the day after Hank died (without being asked) and bringing me coffee, a burrito and The NY Times. For sitting on my bed with me for hours that day and crying with me and somehow knowing that’s EXACTLY what I needed. For watching Marley and Me that afternoon because I wanted to (despite what a horrible, horrible idea this was on my part….this movie should be off limits to anyone that has recently lost a pet) . For putting a party together for Hank on his last day. For grieving with me. And just for being my mom and understanding the pain I feel.
- To all my amazing colleagues, coworkers, ER nurses/staff and friends. To Somer for getting me the night off of work the day he died. To Dr. Bill for working my shift and being the veterinarian that night when I was completely incapable of doing so. To Eddy for taking such good care of Hank, for driving all the way to my house so I didn’t have to be the one to euthanize him, for taking his body away so I didn’t have to deal with it and for being a great friend. To my ER crew that left flowers, a card and a bottle of wine on my desk the day I returned to work. To Nicole (both of them!), Amanda, Irene, Kirstin, Christa, C.C, Lauren and everyone else that called and sent me texts to make sure I was okay (and alive) after Hank was gone. To Brooke for being my yoga idol and for giving me a place to heal and ground myself through it all.
- To the rest of my family. To my sister Megan for driving to the clinic on that day to pick up the supplies I needed to put Hank down at home when I couldn’t show my puffy red face at work, and for taking the amazing pictures of Hank that I will cherish for a lifetime. To my brother-in-law Dan and my nephew Nathan for coming over, hanging out with Hank and loving on him before we said goodbye. To Adam’s mother Karen for her unwavering support/love and for not caring when she would come to our house wearing black and would leave covered in Hank hair. To Adam’s daughters, Kendra and Ashlyn, for loving Hank, accepting him into your lives (and letting him be a part of it whether you liked it or not) and for putting up with my multiple moods and personalities that have developed in dealing with my sadness over his loss.
- To Tripawds and everyone that has read my blog, commented and shared your support through this journey. For being an amazing resource to those of us who have no idea what we are doing in caring for a three-legged pet. For being a strong community of people joined together simply by the love we all share for our pets no matter how many legs they have, if and what type of cancer they have, what type of treatment has been sought. I have no idea what I would have done without you all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- Most of all, to my Hank. For the many, many miles you ran with me all over the state of CO. For being a constant presence at my feet for the hours and hours I spent studying in vet school. For being an awesome dog to camp with. For being a pillow to cry on and a distraction from my life while I struggled with major depression, an eating disorder and the horrific stress of pursuing my veterinary degree. For giving me a reason to get up in the morning when I was going through my internship and the divorce and loving me during that time when I was almost certain no one else did (including myself). For coming to work with me every night and spooning with me on our cot at the clinic at 4 a.m. when I would cry over the multiple pets I had euthanized or failed to save that night. For always adjusting to my crazy sleep schedule. For staunchly protecting me against any man who dare approach. For every wiggle, every crotch punch and every water glass/beer bottle/cocktail/vase/picture you knocked over with your ridiculous tail. For never chewing on my stuff. For making me laugh more times than I can count and for letting me dress you up in clothes. For letting Lulu torture you for all those years and for letting Scout hump your bed all over the house when we would leave. For bringing Adam to me, for never barking or growling at him, for stealing his heart and for making him realize that we will always own a Vizsla because of you. For fighting cancer like a champ and for letting me take care of you, even though I know at times you hated it. For knowing exactly when it was your time to leave and for telling me when you were ready. For letting me hold you. For visiting me in my dreams and for finally letting me feel your presence around me. And lastly, for reminding me every single day why I became, and why I love, being a veterinarian.
I miss you every day.