Luna, my stars, my moon, my light. Love of mine, someday you will die.... Unfortunately that someday is someday too soon. You have surpassed me mind, body, and soul in all the best and worst ways. You have always been wise beyond your years and way smarter than any of us. Unfortunately, cancer has ravaged your little body. It is with heavy sadness, regret, and immense love that I’m writing this right now. Luna bug is very ill with stage 5 lymphoma that has gotten into her organs and her bloodstream. I sat there silent, internally screaming at the top of my lungs in the vet’s office as my little girl laid close to death. Other people entered with their puppies and their healthy, older dogs. Their exciting beginnings with their new little companions, and others with years and years of countless happy memories. I tried to be happy for them, I was, I really was. That was the reality, BUT didn’t they know how much it would hurt in the future to lose them? What were these feelings? I can’t be upset that these people were bringing their dogs to the vet. I couldn’t help but ask why us?! Is it something I should have noticed? Could I have prevented this? Why can’t she grow older like them? I hungered so bad for a future that just simply wouldn’t happen, a feeling I’ve felt many times before, a hurt I knew all too well that I wanted so bad to avoid. Was she at all thinking the same things? She sat up, as a little 6-week-old puppy arrived. In her ill state, she was eager to walk over to him, somewhat curious, intrigued, experiencing a motherly instinct, I can’t be sure.... Sadly, we have exhausted our solutions and made the very difficult decision to not extend her treatment plan. We have been given the advice that putting her down will probably be the best option when her treatment plan, as of now, stops working. We are at a loss of words that this is happening right now as she isn’t very old. It all happened very unexpectedly and very fast as it so commonly does to many others. I keep asking myself, how could we have ever predicted this? Life happens after all.
With so much excitement for this past holiday season and a much-needed break from work and life, she became ill on Christmas Eve. I assumed it was the valley fever spawning its way aggressively through her little body as it usually does during the cold season. But she became sicker and sicker by the end of December. We thought we would lose her New Year’s Eve as she was very sick, skeletal, throwing up, and continuing not to eat. She lost 2 lbs. off of her 10 lb. frame including all her muscle mass. It’s been a rough last couple of months with no break or no holiday cheer. While people were making new year resolutions, I was neglecting mine. Those resolutions that I was so keen on making this year just because I felt, this year, those resolutions weren’t fake or silly, but important. One of them being to spend more time with Luna and Jed as my life has gotten so unbalanced and overwhelming. It took about 3 weeks total to wait through many tests and vets to finally get a diagnosis. The most frustrating feeling in the world is knowing someone you love is sick, but not knowing why. Would we get answers before it’s too late? Before we simply couldn’t afford to spend any more money on just tests and not even paying for treatments yet? Was I silly for loving my dog too much? No. To be fair to her, we will do what’s best under the guidance of our vets with as much as we can give. She hasn’t lost her spark for life yet, although a little weak and sometimes uncomfortable, we have gotten over many big things, and many more uncomfortable things... for now. She is, according to her oncologist “bright and happy”. Pretty “normal” for right now. Exactly our goal. To enjoy life and enjoy each other for a little bit longer with her quality of life as the highest of our priorities. To be a family for a little bit longer. Having dealt with a loved one before that had also had a terminal cancer, I know you can never predict what the future has in store, but I know it will be difficult. The grieving never stops, it just evolves into something more manageable. We know very well that when that time comes, we will make sure she leaves with as little suffering as possible. We want to celebrate her life. We have already revisited a lot of her favorite things. After years of not seeing or visiting the farm, we did. She was a puppy again. She killed two rats, tried biting the horses, goats, and chickens. Oh, the circle of life. What a way to keep perspective. At the farm, where she grew up, she ran and hopped in the plants for hours. For your whole life, love, you have given me a run for my money. You’ve kept me on my toes. At one, you were very close to death with valley fever that turned into very bad pneumonia, to the point you couldn’t breathe. I had no idea how bad your condition really was until I got back from Hawaii, as your pet sitter didn’t want to worry me while I was far away. Then you got attacked by a dog very unexpectedly and stopped breathing as I shook you back to life while crying through my tears for any sign of life in your eyes. I think that day you knew what it was to die. You came back to me through my tears and cries for help and looked at me like you knew something otherworldly. Then a couple months ago, after becoming the Queen ‘Supie’ rat you are, you ran away for 24 hours straight for the first time EVER in all your 7 years!!! Maybe I over reacted, but I thought you were surely gone then. But now, we know... we know what will take you away from us. There’s no wrong way to go little one. It’s how you lived and the way you loved and in your little body, I don’t know how your heart can be so big, but it is. Luna if there is one thing I want you to know more than anything when you decide to go... it’s this.... You have made me remember what’s important. With you, I can recognize and remember the little things, which in the last 6 months I have forgotten. I look at you while we’re lying together. I put both my hands on you and Jed and think this is the best life. This is great, and I want to remember this forever. You look me in the eye and I know exactly what you’re saying. You rest satisfied and content as I do, laying there with you and Jed. Both of you. Both of you together with me. I thought you would get your chance to be the only dog and Jed would be the first to go. I have to laugh at this thought now, not because it’s funny, but because how silly it was that I thought I knew what the future held. You’ve been the most amazing companion and friend. Thank you sweet. I love you so much. I love you. Reed loves you. Jed loves you. We all don’t know what we’ll do without you, but I think with all that you’ve taught us we can figure it out, given some time and healing. I’m not sure who will be the next alpha, but I’m sure I’m close to second best. Little one, my moon, I know you love adventure and to live would be an awfully big adventure. You did that. You did it with every beating of your heart, fully, unapologetic, and without fear. That’s what’s so amazing about dogs, and about you. Humans have too many emotions that get in the way. We don’t choose to live life like someone had left the gate open. Now, to the next adventure, little love. This is the biggest one yet. To die would be an awfully big adventure. It will be impossible to watch you go, but I will be there with you as you let go. As we all let go. We will just keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are to love you so much that it’s the hardest thing to do; to let go.
I'll find you in the yellow flowers, the birds you chased on the beach, the bow of the kayak, every blade of grass, the moon in the night sky, and in the light I chase.
I imagine you will finally be able to catch one of those birds in the sky. Just let me know when it’s time.
UPDATE - February 18, 2018
When I was younger there was a drought here in the desert. My favorite tree died that year, the big willow tree in the front yard. Shortly after, the Apple tree. It was the first time I saw the role weather could have on life. Weather was the most beautiful and devastating thing I experienced at the time. I loved the rain, always have. However, that year was different, it was hot, really, really hot, and dry. It was the first time I saw the lake so low. It made me sad. Sad, I think for a young kid. It made me think that maybe one day I could help save the water. It was the first time I heard the word drought, and saw it manifest in real life. I wasn't seeing a "drought" just in pictures in a book, I was experiencing one and seeing the effects of it firsthand. Many times, during that summer, I wished so bad it would rain. An eagerness and thirst for moisture like never before in my life. I would do rain dances in hope that rain would come. Growing up in Arizona, perhaps, maybe we all just hunger for a much-needed precipitation during a long, dry season. Also, as a kid, time goes much slower than it does now as an adult. That was the longest summer of my life.
The rain has always made me feel good since then. My brothers and I would never waste a day when it rained. It was a treat! We played in it every time we were given an opportunity here in the desert. I got a little older and started to experience more. Sometimes bad things would happen on a rainy day. At first, it's seemed terrible that a bad thing would ruin my fun in the rain, but that feeling evolved. My first bad rainy day was the first day I experienced death. It was the first time I saw someone dying right before my eyes. It was different than in Disney movies. It was not at all the same or as fast. I saw it was a process, even though I didn't understand why it was happening then. It was terrifying and sad to me. Why was no one doing anything to help? After he was gone, it rained. A few more prominent deaths, it seemed to rain. Then the biggest death of all..... it rained. My first time feeling the warmth leave a body and rigor Mortis set in, and then ...... grief. Oh the grief..... it rained that day. That rain felt good still, just in a different way. It felt healing and therapeutic. It came with the tears. It felt like it came with more purpose than just helping to complete the water cycle here on earth. It was the first time I saw the water as more than just a biological energy, it become more of a physical force, a bigger energetic force that I don't think any human could ever truly comprehend. The sky opened up afterwards, and the sun shined though with silver linings around the clouds into a beautiful sunset.
It happened again today. Luna left her physical form and as she did, it started raining. It was a peaceful, light rain. As reed, Jed and I circled around her we were quiet, letting the tears come as she finally looked peaceful. It was a beautiful day with amazing weather. After a few minutes, the sky opened, and the sun beamed through the clouds and I couldn't help but think my grandpa was speaking to me through the rain and the clouds. Saying so much, saying she made it and he was thrilled to have with him such a small and spunky little jack Russell with a muddy nose and muddy paws from the farm where just minutes before she was digging away in the moist soil.
On the way home, it hits…. The grief… oh the grief…. Then there on the windshield, ever so lightly, a few raindrops. Across the valley to the southwest, the distant sky become a misty sweeping of the most beautiful pink, the mountains to the east lit up with the most phenomenal light and a rainbow appeared. As we drove on, the sun set into the most amazing fiery pink. You have become light love, displaying all your spunk and beauty into the atmosphere.