July 11, 2010
A year ago today I sat on the floor at Adams Mill Vet with Dr. Davis. I had brought Niko in to have the swelling around his jaw looked at. I had hoped so much it was not his lymph nodes failing, but it was. Dr. Davis honestly told me we had only days left. Being told the one you love more than anything in life, will have to die in a matter of days, is not something you can possibly fathom, until you’ve lived it. Every day of the journey had been so hard, but now we were down to the final stretch. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop his fate. You just feel so helpless…
As we approach the 1 year mark of his death I just cannot believe so much time has passed since I touched him, since I smelled him, since I laid my eyes upon his smiling face. I really was not sure that I would be able to live out my life with any kind of happiness without him. To some that may sound dramatic. People have so little patience for grief, especially that for a ‘pet’. I’ve had to accept that most people, including many I am close to and love, will never understand the love I had for ‘this dog’ and will never know the heartache I’ve suffered, and still suffer. Sometimes I wish they knew what I’ve been through and continue to go through, but I cannot and do not hold it against them, nor do I expect them to every ‘come around’. It is what it is, and their lack of understanding does not tarnish the love I had for Niko. I am, however, eternally grateful to those that showed me so much love, understanding, and support through this most difficult time in my life.
I think I have a plan for the 16th – for the anniversary. I hope that I will remember mostly happy times and I can avoid, somewhat, reliving the hardest day of my life. I know I will shed a lot of tears this week and my heart will feel like it’s breaking all over again. I’ve gotten more used to this feeling though and I can look back and feel stronger for having made it through the first year.
July 14, 2010
This was the last good day for Niko… the last day with clarity where I feel he said his goodbyes to me. He slept all day on the 15th, and had a horrible night that night. I will try not to re-live it.
July 16, 2010… Honoring Niko
We raised $1000 for the Magic Bullet Fund in honor of Niko’s 1 year angel day. Info and thank yous are here: Honoring Niko in 2010
I really wanted to stay positive throughout these days and remember my boy as he really was, not as the dog who’s body wouldn’t allow him to stay. Not to say I didn’t cry, but I managed to keep myself from drowning in despair over how difficult it was to let him go.
I woke up on Friday morning to a flower delivery from a very special friend from my Lymphoma Heart Dog Angel list. Much better way to start the day than a year ago!!
I met my husband at Scott’s Run in Great Falls at 11. Scott’s Run is a place I took Niko to when he was younger. We would hike back to a small waterfall that had some clear pools for him to swim in, underneath. Not only did I want to remember Niko as a young, care free pup who loved our adventures, but I wanted my husband to see the kinds of things Niko and I enjoyed in his early years.
I knew it was not an easy trail to the waterfall, but I had forgotten how hard the end of it is. Straight up, and then straight down over rocks, to get to the falls. I know Jonathan was a bit surprised that Niko could have managed, but I told him Niko always did great! He was much more sure footed than me! We spent some time on a rock by the falls, admiring the view and reflecting. We were the only ones back there, which was really nice.
We had lunch with one of Niko’s other favorite humans, and then dinner at my parent’s house where we visited his grave. While my eyes did not stay dry the whole day, overall, it was a positive day of remembering Niko in all his glory. I did not think of the terrible time I had the year before. That is not the memory that should get the spotlight out of all the weeks, months, and years I shared with my special boy.