I’d forgotten what it feels like to contemplate death, to hold a life in my hands and be forced to make a decision between life and death. It’s a terrible feeling.
I lay awake Sunday night contemplating what I would do if faced with that decision on Monday, if the vet said Sophie’s little problem was life threatening or life ending, if I had to give the thumbs up or thumbs down.
I feel so stuck sometimes with the responsibility of three dogs hanging over my head, preventing me from traveling at will, holding me back from being carefree and spontaneous. It makes me crazy when I’m in the throes of a story that moves through my mind faster than I can get the words on paper only to have to stop fifteen times to let the dogs out and in and out and in and in and out, to check on the mad barking and the door rattling and the incessant cat/squirrel/butterfly chase in the backyard. It makes me crazy! (I know, I said that already. But it makes me crazy!)
I think to myself, Never again! No more dogs! And I fantasize what my life will be like when my days are free to roam at my leisure without having to rush home; when I can get up in the morning when I want to rather than at the insistence of a dog who’s spotted a gecko on the screen door; when I can walk barefoot through my kitchen late at night without stepping in puddles of slobber or whirling eddies of dog hair that pile up between twice-daily sweeps. But to get to that day, I will have to go through three deaths and the weight of that is more than I can bear.
When faced with the prospect of actually losing one of my tormentors, I find that I am a puddle of goo just waiting to happen.
Dog and Butterfly (click link for 3LeggedDogInk)
There are so many aspects to consider when making life’s tough decisions. Sometimes it feels like we can’t go on living with whatever little inconvenience is stuck in our craw, when a splinter turns into a stake through the heart, all melodrama and hyperbole. But sometimes it is a matter of life and death and every thought you’ve ever thunk falls away. Every life is precious and beautiful and worth living to its fullest. Even if it is only to chase one more monarch through the honeysuckle or pounce on a lizard in the moonlight.
I discovered yesterday that when push comes to shove, there is only life. One day, the alternative will present itself and the time will be right. For now, for Sophie–and for me–life is the only way to go.