We had to put Jake down yesterday. (the 17 year old cat) It was very sad. Worse than I imagined it would be.
It doesn't sound sad does it? We put him down, like you put your child down for a nap. Only it wasn't anything like putting your child down for a nap.
It seemed sudden, although he has been aging rapidly in the last few months. And he was 17 for goodness sake. And, truth be told, I thought I was ready for Jake's demise for years. After Bob died I felt like Jake had outworn his welcome.
Really, that is how I felt.
I kept thinking to myself; "Why is Bob gone and Jake is still here?"
Really, I did.
I had Jake before I met Bob, and then I still had him after Bob was gone. I had Jake longer than I had Bob. I am not sure why that fact has always bothered me. But in the end I guess I had grown fond of the old coot again, and I already miss having him around.
Henry and Arthur were with me at the vet and they took it hard. There was wailing. We even had some folks out in the waiting room in tears. Here is some of what those poor unsuspecting dog owners heard through the door:
"Now Henry, Jake had a long life."
"But I was only a part of it for such a short time"
"Just like with Daddy"
"I was a part of his life for even shorter!"
"I am glad I was so much younger when Daddy died. I didn't know so much of what I was losing. Now I know"
what is another word for wail? keen?
"At least I knew Jake......I hardly knew Daddy at aaaallllllllll"
Now we are all crying.
At this point the vet wanted to run screaming from the room I am sure.
This morning I came downstairs and found both the boys getting dressed in their room and crying again.
"I can't believe it," Henry said. "One minute I was laughing about something my teacher did at school and the next minute I was crying because you told me Jake was dying and we had to take him to the vet."
As Henry continued to lament the unpredictability of life, while hopping around and pulling up a pair of Spiderman undies, I thought to myself; "That is kind of how these things work, kid, bummer I know." You can't really prepare yourself in advance for these sorts of things. You can't know that next week your husband will get a cancer diagnosis, or that tomorrow you will get in a car accident.
"I just wish I had one more day," Henry continued.
"Why, babe? What would you do with one more day?" I asked him, truly curious.
"I don't know. It would just be one more day. Don't you want one more day with Daddy?" He looked up at me with those intense blue eyes all waterlogged.
This question caught me off guard, honestly I have never thought about this option. Before I could gather my wits the boys, fully clothed, were off to pour themselves a bowl of Honey Oats. I will never cease being envious of children and their ability to turn grief on and off like a light switch.
But I continued to ponder the question.......and my final answer is no. I would not want one more day with Bob. Especially if it were a continuation of the days we were having before he died, I did not want one more hour of that. Maybe if it could be a day of my choosing, like the day we spent in Brugge, Belgium, before we discovered Bob had forgotten to put film in the camera. Or the day we went camping in the Olympic Rain Forest and it rained (harder than usual) and we spent the entire day in the tent playing backgammon and reading out loud to each other. Or the day I found out I was pregnant with Henry and I was freaking out and Bob just grabbed me around the middle and said; "Renie, this is going to be a riot with you!"
But, no, even if my one more day could be one of our greatest days, my answer is still no. One more day would simply put me back at the beginning of my grief journey. And you could not pay me enough money to be back there. When the movie "Ghost" came out (which was LONG before I met Bob let alone lost him) and Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze have that last dance together and it is supposed to be all romantic, all I could think of was ... Now she will just have to start all over again.
I guess I am not a romantic. I am too damn practical for my own good. If something is over, why drag it out with one more day? Maybe it isn't just practicality but a lack of patience as well. If there is no fixing a problem, I want to be moving beyond it.
So, no Henry, I don't want one more day with your dad.
Now, a lifetime? Totally different story.
Thanks for checking in-