Yesterday was Velvet’s last day. She’d started out the week okay, eating occasional bits of steak and eggs, and a slice of American cheese, her all-time favorite treat, when she felt like it.
But yesterday was bad. Not eating. Not drinking. Vomiting.
The realization came suddenly, late in the afternoon. I knew it was time. Unfortunately, that didn’t make the drive to the vet any easier.
She had advanced lymphoma, the vet surmised. And her swollen lymph nodes were affecting her ability to breathe. He agreed – it was time.
She went relatively peacefully. So grateful to everyone who prayed for her, it took three sticks to find a vein that wouldn’t collapse. An old dog has old veins, I guess.
And that quickly, she was gone. Honestly, it took my breath away. Death is so terrifyingly final.
We wrapped her up and brought her home.
I’d struggled with whether to bury her or cremate her. But when we were offered any spot on the property to bury our girl, we thought she’d like to stay here best. It was her final home.
The exact location was tough, though. There are so many beautiful trees on the property. My first thought was of the gorgeous sugar maple in Poet’s pasture. It turns the most spectacular yellow in the fall. Then I thought maybe under a dogwood – my favorite tree. Or one of the beautiful magnolias.
Then I remembered Velvet’s birthday – November 17th. And I thought that I’d taken a picture of Poet by the sugar maple decked in yellow some time in November. But I didn’t have time to check. I hadn’t planned on yesterday being *the day*. And the day was fading fast.
So we dug. And dug. Hard work is good for the soul, and somehow it made me feel like I was doing something for her. One final thing.
We buried her in her favorite blanket. We threw flowers into her grave. We made cards – by each of the kids especially for her – and each child said a few words about her as they dropped their card on top.
Then we held hands and prayed that God would take care of her. And that we would learn from her example of unconditional love, to love each other better.
I didn’t sleep well. I worried all night that we hadn’t buried her deep enough, put enough bricks on top to protect her from coyotes, or that somehow she was cold and lonely out there all alone. In fact, after I got the big kids off to school, I crawled back into bed and didn’t get up until the little girls woke up at 8:45.
When I finally got up for the day I was thinking, again, about where I’d chosen to bury her. And wondered how close to her birthday of November 17th the sugar maple, under which she is buried, will be it’s most glorious.
I looked back to see when I’d posted the picture of Poet standing in front of it, in all it’s splendor.
It felt like an assuring hug from the Lord that I had chosen the right place to lay our beloved girl.
Rest well, little warrior.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. — Revelation 21:4