Seeing with New Eyes Through Loss

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While I was out on leave, my 11 year old dog Max took a turn for the worse as his cancer came out of remission and he began to have difficulty breathing.  At the same time Max’s condition was worsening, our 20+ year old cat, Frank, was succumbing to his feline renal failure.  I made the call to our vet, Dr. Denise Pearson at Pipe Creek Animal Clinic, and we made our final plans for an at home euthanasia for both.  It was time to break the news to our kids.  We had been preparing them that this time would come and yet saying it out loud was incredibly difficult.  The kids cried and began the process of cuddling the animals as they knew time was short.

Dr. Pearson arrived and, with great love for us and our furry family members, helped us provide our awesome pets with a peaceful and pain free passing from this life.  As expected, I was devastated to lose my four legged soulmate, Max, and my long-time companion, Frank.  I still choke up thinking about them.  What I didn’t expect was how I would get the opportunity to see my youngest daughter shine in light of this loss.

Isabelle asked curious questions of Dr. Pearson while petting, crying, kissing and loving on Max and Frank.  She was able to articulate that she did not want to say goodbye but that she also didn’t want them to suffer any longer.  We offered her the option to leave if this was too much for her and she chose to stay.  She never stopped pouring out her love for them throughout the entire process, and ultimately, she was able to give them each one final love pat as they were tagged and wrapped gently in blankets and laid in the back of Dr. Pearson’s vehicle so they could be delivered to the crematorium.

Isabelle’s tears began to dry up as she announced, “I’m really going to miss Max and Frank, Mom.  But now they can run and play without being sick.  I’ll see them again someday.”  Isabelle took the collars of both animals and hung them on their pictures in our entryway.  We have since received their remains and she placed the boxes, their paw prints and photos she took with her instant camera on our fireplace mantel.

What initially felt like a huge loss, suddenly felt like a huge and beautiful gain.  I was seeing my youngest daughter through new eyes—brave, curious, nurturing, loving, and strong.  Isabelle’s gifts were laid bare before me in the light of our mutual loss.  I’m eternally grateful for the gift of seeing with my new eyes.

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