Saturday, July 27, 2013

one month ago

It was one month ago today that we said our heartbreaking final good-bye to our precious Buddy.  I wore my "Dog Mom" shirt that day, the one I normally reserve to wear only on Mother's Day, while his sweet soul traveled from my arms up to Heaven.

We are missing him so much.....  

The other day, I stopped at Sonic and toasted Buddy with a grape slush.  You may recall that after every chemo treatment, cardiologist visit, etc. Buddy and I would stop there on the way home ... because Mommy needed junk food to cope, LOL !!! 

It has been a painful time, but I can't thank you enough for all of the cards, calls, emails, texts that have helped me cope.  I so appreciate your thinking of me, and the many "hugs" you've sent my way!  We have a window sill full of touching sympathy cards... I put them there because that window overlooks the area outside where Buddy and I so often sat together.  He had eventually gone blind, but we enjoyed feeling the sunshine on our faces and hearing the birds sing.  In his final days, I'd hold him in my arms and sing to him out there.

Buddy's many doctors sent sympathy cards too, so thoughtful.  One of them made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation in Buddy's memory; as a tribute to him, 10 trees will be planted in the Blackwater River State Forest in northern Florida.  Given how much Sal and I love nature, this was an especially meaningful gesture!

I sent all of his doctors a hand-written thank you note, and tucked some favorite photos of Buddy in with them.  It took me nearly all day to write them.  It was hard.  Felt like yet another good-bye... his doctors are special people, and were our partners in keeping Buddy healthy.

The adjustment to life without Buddy has been painful... after 16 wonderful years, and our bond deepening in his final 4 years with his chronic illnesses.  We've had to console Aruba too; she spent weeks wandering the house looking for him, crying at times.  It was heartbreaking to find her standing at a door, staring, waiting for him I guess?... and I'd tell her "no Buddy".  I hope she forgives me when, on occasion, I slip and call her 'Buddy'.

We've made several donations in Buddy's memory, to help other animals who don't have the loving home that he did, or who are suffering from cancer... the ASPCA and Best Friends Animal Society (a very special sanctuary that we visited while we were in Utah in 2009) and Chase Away K9 Cancer.  And to the Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis, where we adopted Buddy.  We donated his crate to a local animal shelter, the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League; they were so thankful to get it, they have such need.   It was heartbreaking to let it go, but it's not helping other animals by sitting here.  And on our way to the animal shelter with his crate, we were behind a car with a bumper sticker that said, "I {heart} my beagle", OMG!  Perhaps Buddy was thanking us for donating his crate??  I want to believe that.

We have Buddy's ashes now too; it was another tough day going to get them.  We brought Aruba with us so that we could bring Buddy home as a family.  His beautiful hand-carved wooden box is on my nightstand; my statue of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, is watching over him.

Sal and I have a couple of special places in mind to spread some of Buddy's ashes... will share more on that later.

I've mentioned in many posts about the incredible expertise and compassion of Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists (PBVS), the hospital where Buddy had cancer surgery and other critical care so many times.  Well, they have another incredible resource too... a Certified Bereavement Counselor and a Pet Loss Grief Group.  It meets twice a month and has been of great comfort to me.  I thought it might be difficult to return to the hospital where Buddy passed away, but instead I choose to think of it as the place that made so many miracles possible for him, and gave us 4 more special years with him.

Unfortunately, Sal and I had to return to PBVS a few days ago with Aruba.  She was diagnosed with a cancer tumor on her shoulder !!!  I'm still in a state of SHOCK and SADNESS, trying to wrap my mind around this devastating news, and only a few weeks after losing Buddy.  Seriously, how can this be happening??!!  We brought her for evaluation by an oncologist at PBVS, and for (thankfully painless) tests to help determine if the cancer has spread.  Hopefully not!  My heart is REELING !!!  We won't have those results until next week, and she is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday July 30 to remove the tumor + a biopsy. (She'll have the same surgeon who performed Buddy's life-saving lung cancer surgery 4 years ago... she'll be in excellent hands!)  The Bereavement Counselor knew that we were at PBVS that day with Aruba, and sought us out to offer support... how amazing was that?  Just another example of what makes PBVS so special !! 

We're praying that testing will show a low-grade tumor that hasn't spread, and that Aruba won't need chemo or radiation.  At the bottom of Aruba's hospital report the other day, they wrote "she's a very sweet girl".  Awww!

Our cherished Aruba, oh gosh.  I've asked Buddy to watch over her too.....

1 comment:

Momofboys said...

Oh this post tears at my heart strings too! I'm thankful that the place where Buddy passed has also been a place of comfort for you and Sal. They seem like such wonderful people! And I know they will take wonderful care of Arube too :)