Guilt. I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever really and truly felt it, until now. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done… multiply that times three and you see how important it is for me to maintain consistency, routines, health, and hygiene, not to mention all the other curve balls life throws at me.
And all the while, my little man was there. Watching me. Loving me. And growing with me. Every step of our journey, our Prince was there.
He was my first dog after I decided to grow up. And he was there. To witness it all; the good, the bad and the ugly. And believe me, there were definitely some ugly moments.
I watched him grow from the size of a twinkie to the size of a butternut squash. Witnessing the beauty as his coat turned, while each year faded into the next — a stretch of brown fading into silver. Not only did I witness him turn into that gentle and sweet old man, but he witnessed me finally brighten into one.
Teaching those first lessons of schedules, priorities and patience grew me into the papa who I am today. And I will always be grateful for that.
My bubbie witnessed me straighten my life up, quit smoking, regain control of my health, and focus on my relationship with my husband. He was able to see my dreams of home-owning, marriage, babies, medical school. Our Prince was there for all of it.
He was even able to go with us on our first family RV excursion through the snow-covered smokies. He was there holding it down with us for our final evacuation trip to Memphis. I knew of his declining health, so I adamantly brought him to our chosen haven to wait out the storm. We even paid extra to do so. I was terrified of him coming with us to our next spot in Florida because I knew they were strictly no pets allowed.
So we chose to board him for 5 days. Two days before we were to leave, I received the call telling me he had passed through the night. Just like that. Gone. I cannot help but replay those fast minutes as we tried to make our way to the next stop for our family of 5. He hopped his little paws on the side of the kennel with his ears raised at attention, as if he were asking me where I was going? Just wondering why his papa just walked away.
Tears are falling down my cheeks at the gym and I do not care. Guilt is hard. And sometimes, it’s forever. As I am sure it will be. My bubbie knows papa loved him more than any dog in the whole wide world. But today, papa has to worry about his children. Storms are hard enough to deal with, much less dealing with pets, and everything else.
The life he had was adored. By all of us.
If I had to do it over again, there is nothing more I could have done. We always try to find pet-friendly situations when we can. And this time, it proved too much.
But the life he lived and lives he impacted will live in our hearts forever.
You will always be our sweet Bubbie Boy.
How do you prepare your kids to say goodbye forever? It was easily the heaviest and most emotional conversation we have ever had. I probably sound like a stuck record because I know I have said this so many times in the past, but it definitely bears repeating. I am constantly blown away by my children’s ability to understand such heavy subject matter. It is amazing to me.