Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Thanksgiving of Changes

I got the phone call a few weeks ago. My great uncle was to have heart surgery again. But this time it was more serious. The tests had shown up a tumor as well as a blockage. He would also need something implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

Earl and Barbara are like grandparents to me. And they're old. Both in their 80's. So that's not the news you want to hear.

We've always had Thanksgiving with them. Ever since I can remember. But this year, with Earl's health, they're just not up for it. The surgery isn't until December, but he is short of breath and has to take things really easy until then. And they have family closer than we are to them that wanted them to come to their home.

So Thanksgiving would be here this year. For my family and a family friend.

Lots to do, lots to prep, lots to decide. I'd never cooked a full Thanksgiving meal before all on my own. And even though I was a little sad about the change, I wanted it to be something special for my girls. Plus we have the new addition this year of my oldest daughters husband.

So we dive in, my oldest daughter and I, head first and plan and shop and plan some more. We search recipes and test foods and have our schedule all worked out for Thanksgiving week.

And then on Sunday before Thanksgiving our dog got sick. Really sick. He's old, almost 15, and been going downhill for quite some time. He's a big lab/retriever mix and has arthritis and hip issues. He's fallen a lot lately and not been able to get up for a while so we've been hesitant to leave him alone for any length of time.

But this is a different sick.

By Tuesday there was nothing we could do for him. The vet told us that we really had no choice but to put him to sleep. We asked if there was anything at all that would buy him some quality of life for even a little while. And he said no. The only humane thing to do was to let him go.

We'd always promised ourselves, and him in a way, that we'd not keep him around past when he should be here for our benefit only.

With many tears and much heartbreak, Tuesday we kept that promise.

Life is not the same around here without him. Lucy, our other dog, is weird. She's looking for him all over the place. Constantly.

So Thanksgiving here was a big change. It was surprisingly lovely, and only tinged with sadness from time to time.

I know to those of you that are not dog people how odd all of this may sound. Ridiculous even. But to those of you that ARE dog people, you get it.

He was a good boy.

5 comments:

Andrea said...

I have to admit that we are cat people, but my heart still goes out to you. We know what it's like to lose a beloved pet. Even worse when it is your 10 yr old daughter's heart and joy. I can honestly say that nothing has ever been that heartbreaking to me. So glad to hear that your doing well, and BRAVO on doing the dinner! :)

My name is Michelle. said...

Thanks Andrea. I should have said "pet people" instead of "dog" specific.

Our animals are part of our family. It was/still is really rough.

The Proverbs 31 Woman said...

I am a dog person and I know how hard it is losing a family friend. I pray for comfort for your family in this season. God bless.

Electra Maven said...

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ps: very touching post....I'm definitely a dog person...I got a lil one called Bella....I'm really sorry u had to put him down It's terrible I know ;(

Jared and Abby said...

I am so sorry to read this. Our family had to do this twice within about 90 days. Our family pets, that I grew up with, were put down. They were 15 and 16. It is very hard, but even harder to see them suffer, especially because they do not understand what is going on or why they are hurting. God bless.