© jz, 1998
Several years ago i had a little dog. One of the best friends I’ve ever had. He was my running partner. He was a travel companion. He shared my fondness for good beer. And he was by my side during a very dark time in my life, just sitting next to me… no judgment, no encouragement, no pithy statements to get me through. Just sitting staring into the distance… silent.
But in his tenth year on this rock, he came down with something and he began to wither away. He couldn’t keep food down and he became weaker and weaker and took on the look of an emaciated captive. His little body became a cage keeping him confined to this world.
He was very weak and most days he couldn’t bring himself to really do anything but just lay curled up in himself on the ground. I resigned myself to the idea that I was continuing unnecessary suffering by not taking him to the vet so one Sunday decided I should release him from his cage.
It was so painful. It was so sorrowful to let him go I can’t even put into words.
I have a friend whose father is in a pretty bad way. It makes me wonder why we as a society can easily see the gift of releasing our four-legged companions when they are suffering but not for our family and friends.
Goodbyes are so painful… especially when you don’t want to say it. Especially when you want to stay together.
[Diest takes a sip of beer… pours a little in his buddy’s old dog dish and wipes a tear from his eye]