Sandy DeLisle's Blog

Writing the Unspeakable

Posted on: November 21, 2011

Today I am hiding behind my keyboard. There is something I have to say that I cannot bear to use my voice to convey. Instead, I will allow the computer to tell of the grief that is welling up inside me so much that it is hard to speak.

Last week I learned that our  dear dog, Ghost, has an inoperable tumor on her heart. The vet said she has less than two months to live. Now she is lying at my feet and I am watching her sleep as her shaved belly heaves up and down with labor. Jazz, her one-year-old canine in crime, sleeps peacefully behind her, oblivious to the fact that soon her best friend will be gone.

For those of us who have pets, this is the decision we dread. We all hope that our pets will pass in their sleep and we won’t have to “play God”, making the decision to end their lives, but, unfortunately, that is not often the case.  In fact, it was only a little over a year ago that we euthanized our beloved Timber after a long and debilitating illness.

We adopted Timber and Ghost together at an adoption event. We went to meet Ghost, who was then between one and two-years-old, and came back with both her and Timber. Some people thought we were crazy bringing home over two hundred pounds of German shepherd with a two and five-year-old at home. We, however, have not regretted the decision even once. Our boys have learned compassion, patience, empathy and responsibility from their four-legged siblings. But most importantly, they are learning the preciousness of each moment of our lives, which includes the shared moments we have with the pets with whom we have chosen to travel. 

Our very social fifteen-year-old showed me just how much he understood this valuable lesson when, after learning of Ghost’s short time remaining, chose to stay home most of the weekend so he could be with her.  I was glad that both he and Ghost were asleep when I went to tell them goodnight Friday night, because I don’t think the words would have come easily then either, after what I saw. There, on the floor, was my 5′ 9″ jock of a young man cuddled up next to my dying dog. He wanted to sleep with her and give her comfort in her last days. Little does he know how much comfort that brought me as well.

Someday I will be able to speak of this and not cry, but until then I have my keyboard. It’s the perfect tool for reflecting on the life of a wonderful dog and the lessons she has taught her humans.

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20 Responses to "Writing the Unspeakable"

Sandy, Ghost, you, and your family are in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing. xo

Ashleigh, I know you lost a loved one recently, too. Thanks for the kind words.

So sorry to hear about this, Sandy. You wrote a beautiful column. You will all be in my prayers.

Thanks so much, Jennifer.

Sandy,
My heart goes out to you and your family. What a wonderful but painfull column you wrote. I have had that experience and my prayers are with you and your family.

Thank you, Feni.

So sorry you have to go through this. I think the last time that I actually cried was when I had to have my sick cat euthanized. It’s always sad.

Thanks, Perry. It is indeed.

I am sorry to hear about Ghost. It is a horrible experience to have to endure. I know how important Ghost is to your family. I will fondly remember that when it was “time for his close-up” he performed like a pro. Of course, the peanut butter didn’t hurt.

Camilla, how true about the peanut butter. Thanks for making me smile!

How well I know the sorrow ! they bring us so much joy and sadly, heartbreak as well !!
we must enjoy the time that we have with them ! and I will say a prayer to lessen the pain you are going through ! love, mom

Well said. Thanks, Mom.

Oh Sandy, I’m so sorry to hear about Ghost. As I read your story, word by word, I could picture you all and I feel your heartache, and that of the whole family. Hold them all tight! Wish I was there to offer a hug, too.

Thank you, Tammy. That means a lot!

Oh, God, I’m so sorry…

Rest in peace, Ghost – you didn’t have much time on this Earth, but you were loved.

Thanks, David. She is still with us for now and we are relishing each moment.

Sandy, I’m so, so sorry. How fortunate to be able to savor your time with her before her time comes, though. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

– Julie

Thank you very much, Julie. You are right about getting to cherish our time together!

Sandy, I’m so sorry about Ghost. I love the part of your post about Dustin sleeping by her and comforting her – that is really sweet. It’s nice that you’ve all been able to share some special time with her, show her how much you love her, and say goodbye. You guys are in my thoughts!

Thank you, Peggy!

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