We welcomed Jack and Jill – our two chihuahuas – into our family three months after getting married. That was 14 years ago. A lifetime ago. We’ve had these furry babies longer than our own children. They’ve been with us since the beginning of our time together.
Last night, we lost one. Our girl. Jilly.
Her health has been depleting and we knew it was only a matter of time. But when the doctor said it was time to put her down, it was a hard pill to swallow. I was in Boston working a gig and Bill asked me if the doctor’s should prolong the inevitable so I could say goodbye. I didn’t want my baby to suffer any more than she had to. I couldn’t think about her living in pain for another full day just so I could selfishly say goodbye. Though, if I am being honest with you, I wish I was able to hold her one last time and whisper in her ear that I love her so.
In my heart, I know that she knows this. But it would have been nice to smell her one last time. I guess that is something that I have to live with. I think I made the right decision for her. There’s no turning back at this point. It is what it is. I wish I was home when the call came in, but I wasn’t. So, here we are.
All night, after she passed, I kept thinking about how the last few years have played out in her life. How after having children, she became less and less of a priority to me. How sometimes I would come into the house and not even greet the dogs anymore because I would just run to my kids. It all fell on my chest pretty hard. She didn’t have the best ending.
In fact, Bill pointed out that the last night of her life was spent locked in my bedroom with her bed flipped upside down thanks to my youngest son. We found her like that and had no idea how long she was in there without a comfortable place to rest.
Did she just give up? Give in? Did she let age take her because this life was one that wasn’t kind to her anymore? Or was it truly her time?
I keep thinking about the beginning of her years – where she wouldn’t even touch the floor. We carried them everywhere. They constantly slept on our laps. They never left our sides. Now, they spent 80% of their days in their beds – hiding from our psychotic kids.
And now, Jack has to do it all alone. I had a big talk with my older two last night and said that Jack is the ultimate king until the end of his life. I told them he has to be treated like royalty! But you know what? That rule should have been in place all along.
I hope Jill knew that even though life got crazy the last few years, she meant the world to us. She was my first baby girl. I tell Natalie that all the time — that Jill was my first daughter. Because it is true. I loved Jill with all my heart even though the last few years, she might have not felt it at times.
There’s no way for me to say it to her. Although I keep trying. I whisper it out loud just in case she is still with us.
A few years ago, I went to this psychic who was so ON POINT with everything she was saying and in the middle of my reading she said, “WHO IS THIS CRAZY DOG THAT IS RUNNING BACK AND FORTH IN THIS ROOM OVER AND OVER AGAIN??????”
I just about burst into tears because my first dog, Friday, would do just that. She was with my grandfather – who was what the reading was about. I never forgot that. Even the animals stick around. Even the animals find their place.
So, that reading has given me some sort of peace because I know that Jill has found her place alongside other family members and is simply waiting for our time to come as well.
But there is a lesson in all of this. If you don’t think that you’ve done enough, loved enough or said enough to someone in your life — then do it. Because the time will come when it will be too late to do so.