I hate writing this post. If I write it, it’s real and Jack not being here can’t be real. It must be a bad dream that I will wake up from soon.
The contractions were coming closer and closer as the pain increased in intensity. I desperately needed to think about something else as I waited for my epidural. “Tell me the story about the day we got Jack”, I asked Michael. It was the best day, and it was exactly what I needed to take my mind somewhere far away. He is my person, Jack the dog. One of the few who made me feel understood. The smell of his fur is an instant decrease in my blood pressure.
But now he is gone.
We brought him home to our new condo in Hermosa Beach, California almost 12 years ago. I insisted we crate train him, that is, until I heard him cry in the middle of that first night. From that moment on, he was in our bed and in our hearts. He slept curled against me at night. He knew I was pregnant with Greyson before I did. Suddenly he followed me everywhere- even scratching on the bathroom door when I was inside. What is up with Jack? I wondered. One positive pregnancy test later and it all made sense.
Through moves and the birth of two little boys, he’s been there all along as my husband and I grew up. Jack always knew he was my first born baby born.
Yesterday we had to say goodbye to Jack. And I’m terrified to live in a world without him. My chest physically hurts with each breath in, after watching him take his last. He had a severe bacterial infection in his blood called Sepsis. They couldn't find the infection's origin and would have needed invasive surgery to even attempt to find it. Surgery that they didn't think this sweet old boy could survive. One day he seemed fine, and the next he was throwing up, had a slight tremor and was unusually warm to the touch. It was so hard for him to breathe and he was in so much pain. Michael called me from the vet with the news.
I was in disbelief. He was supposed to go to the Vet, get medicine and come back home. That’s what always happens and this time should be no different. But Jack was never coming home.
I loaded the boys in the car and we drove to the vet to say our very last goodbye. We walked into the small sterile room. Jack was on heavy pain medication and wasn’t very responsive. His eyes were open, so I got down to talk to him. I climbed onto the small metal table and placed him in between my legs as I stroked his fur and told him what a good dog he is. I told him how special he is, and how sorry I am that he is in pain. I thanked him for loving our family. I thanked him for loving me. What a gift it was.
Baby Grey, Jack and me. Jack slept by my side. Sometimes there was a newborn baby between us.
When we would go to the dog park, he would run so fast in circles around the park as soon as we got there. It always looked like he was smiling.
He put up with all my antics.
He loved to find a sunny patch and just lie down for awhile.
The Vet asked us to let her know when we were ready. Are you ever ready to put poison in your dog and hold them as they die?
“They want to know if we want his paw print and his ashes,” Michael told me. “NO!” I whispered angrily. “I don’t want those things, I want my dog.” I cried. I just want my dog...
Each breath of Jack’s took so much energy. It was time. The vet poked her head back in and I solemnly nodded. She came back with syringes to use on the port he already had in his paw. The vet explained that they would first give Jack a sedative. And the last syringe was the end. I held Jack's head and he body was cradled in between my legs. Michael and I held hands. I wanted to start screaming and never stop. The Vet used her stethoscope to check his heart, and then tried to close his eyes. I knew he was gone.
Those 12 years were over so fast.
The boys said goodbye to Jack. They are more intuitive than we could ever imagine, but life and death are very complicated, not-concrete terms, and I don’t really know how much they understand. I’m in my 40’s and I still don’t understand.
A video Parker made a few weeks ago.
JACK!!! JACK!!! JACK!!!.... I went outside this morning and yelled his name over and over again in agony. I sat down on the frosty sidewalk and welcomed the numbness of the cold. I just want him back. I can’t sleep without him. How will I advocate without him? Every rough meeting ended with me snuggling with Jack at home. How will I homeschool without him? He laid at our feet. He was my home. He is my heart.
Everything good in life has a cost, and the cost of love is intense pain and loss. We must still love though. Jack's love was always without conditions. In many ways, he taught us how to love, simply by the way he loved us. So for now I will figure out how to live with a Jack shaped hole in my life and remember that this pain is so big because our love was even more grande.