Saturday started off really well. I had to do an entire funeral service by myself. I’ve done less than a handful of funeral services all by myself. I felt really proud afterwards as I got into my car to go home.
On my way home from work I called my mom. I always call her.
Her voice didn’t sound normal as she answered the phone. It sounded a little higher than normal. A little nervous. And then she told me that she thought there might be something wrong with Bandit.
Bandit is my thirteen year old beagle. He is my baby.
I immediately went into panic mode. “What do you mean you think there might be something wrong with Bandit?”
“Your father and I think he may have had a stroke. He can’t stand up and if he manages to he just falls down like he’s drunk. We’re taking him to the vet.”
I made pretty good timing. It should have taken me a half hour to get to the vet. I think I made it in less than twenty minutes. My entire car ride all I recall thinking is what am I going to do if we have to put Bandit down? Is it possible that yesterday was the last night I’d ever feel his warm body curled up by my feet in bed? What am I going to do when I come home from a difficult day at work and he’s not there?
Both of my parents were there already. Bandit was having trouble walking. It broke my heart. As we entered the room to wait for the vet I broke down in tears. As I looked over at my mom I noticed her eyes were red from crying as well.
After what seemed like forever the vet came into the room. She looked over Bandit as I tried to comprehend how I could be strong for my dog. How could I make myself seem calm so he wouldn’t sense any anxiety? I held him. I told him I loved him. He was a good boy.
Bandit has Geriatric Vestibular Disease. I guess it’s common in older dogs. It affects their balance. It makes Bandit look like he’s had one too many to drink, but all together it’s harmless.
I left the vet with my dog.
I think that Bandit’s Geriatric Vestibular Disease is a gift that God has given me. I have been so busy at work. So busy that I couldn’t even bring myself to find time to write. So busy helping other families travel through their grief that I kind of forgot that I have my own grief, too. I am just an average girl. I love people. I love my dog. And I can’t forget that I can experience these emotions associated with loss. I can’t get so wrapped up in helping others that I forget to help myself.
One day Bandit really will be gone. But right now, I’m thankful that I didn’t have to say goodbye. And I’m thankful that I was reminded that it’s okay for me to grieve too.