United States of Motherhood: Today Should Be The Day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today Should Be The Day

Been sobbing all morning.

Eyes swollen.

Today should be the day.

I try to stay factual and calm and list the reasons.

Her lungs are filled with fluid. She vacillates between panicked panting, a hacking cough and limp listlessness.

Her legs have swollen to double their size on her right side. She can not barely stand on her own. She needs help to go to the bathroom. She has to be carried up and down stairs. She has to be reminded to drink water. When she does walk, she staggers with feet falling and slipping out beneath her with pelvis tucked in discomfort.

Her back is covered in baseball sized tumors giving her the exaggerated bumpy profile of a dinosaur. It has spread to four more on her rib cage, one on the inside of each hind leg, three more in her chest and the original one in her shoulder is a large as a miniature pumpkin.

There is one in her neck and one more in her hip/pelvic area. We found a new one today in the top of her mouth.

In all, I have counted over twenty masses. I am sure there are countless more in her chest, lungs, and pelvic region. Certainly, the crackling fluid in her lungs is due to the legions there and her heart being pressed by the tumors.

The only places spared on her thin, weak body are her silky ears and fuzzy nose--somehow my favorites to stroke her since she joined our family almost 14 years ago--and I stroke them often.

They are the only safe place to stroke her without causing discomfort.

It is such an aggressive cancer.

Well two.

Melanoma and Carcinoma.

The vet said four months at best. We got less than two. The time line is up.

I have even seen inky blackness in her eyes that make me suspect the melanoma is there as well. Her sight has obviously been affected.

She hasn't eaten much in days. Her limp head rests on my childhood quilt, limbs at odd angles, and she seems unable to muster the energy for even her eyes to follow movement in the room.

Occasionally, I can get her to eat a small bite of milk bone or graham cracker here or there. No real food.

She gets very sad when I bring her countless variations of bowls of real food, hoping one will entice her appetite. She cringes her body as far away from it as she can.

I get the pain pills down only with cheese and even then she, not fighting, just holds it in her mouth as if she is too weak to swallow. In my mind, I am tempted to give her ten or twenty pills instead of the half tablet prescribed by the vet. To end it.

Today should be the day, but it is also PB's birthday.

I just can't put Grendel down on PB's birthday.

The vet has been called. We are hoping for tomorrow morning at our home where she is surrounded with love. Tomorrow morning before I leave for Portland with the kids. I don't know how I will make it or how the kids will race with their hearts broken.

This has to have been one of the hardest decision I have ever made. I wanted her to go in her sleep, yet it is clear to me there is no more quality of life left and no reason to extend her misery. The good days are long since gone.

I do not think she is in pain, but her eyes tell me she is suffering. Her blessed tail weakly pumps still, but the twinkle in her eyes has long been extinguished.

Right now, I gave her extra pain meds--only one-- and she is half-asleep in the sun.

That damned sun.

The cause of this all.

It's warmth surrounds her surprisingly on this generally dreary Pacific Northwestern day.

Her eyes shudder closed.

The sun begins to wane. It is the sunset of her life with the dark coming quickly.

The decision is made. The kids have all requested to be there when she goes. I hope they can bear it.

Yet, my mind keeps second-guessing. My mind says all life is precious.

My mind says no.

My heart screams it's not ready, but it is time.


The vet called.

8 AM.

Why do I feel I am betraying her?

Amidst this, Seb has started having problems getting up the stairs. His legs tremble constantly.

My heart says after Seb, there will be no more warm ears and wagging tails in this house.

I simply cannot bear it.

I love you Grendel. I will always love you:


Sugapie said...

Oh my, I am crying. I feel for everyone who was a part of Her life. A great loss indeed, going to be a rough night, I'll be thinking of you.

Lori E said...

Your beautiful friend needs you to be the strong one right now. She needs you to help her and to do what needs to be done.
It is the furthest thing from a betrayal that you can get. It is a gift you give to her so she will stop suffering even though it will break your heart.
She is probably too dehydrated to take the pills.
I say all this knowing that the same thing is around the corner for my almost 13 year old lab. She has the lumps and bumps and the cough. For her there is not enough food in the world. She wants to eat every 15 minutes but gains no weight. She is emptying her bladder in her sleep.
I have done it for my 18 year old cat whom I had almost as long as my youngest son at the time.
We do it because we love them enough to do it. And then we cry and hold our kids and show them how to care for our beloved pets even when it breaks our hearts.

Carrie said...

It's been over ten years since my family had to make this choice for one of our beloved pets and I still remember how hard it was. But it was the right thing to let her go, she was ready for peace. It sounds like your beloved pet is as well. But that doesn't make it hurt less. I'm sending up a prayer for all of you today.

Kristin.... said...

I'm so sorry.

Fru-Fru said...

Crying while reading your post - devastating to see this I know. We went through this almost about a yr and a half ago. Sending prayers and hugs for you and the family. xx Diane

pineapplebabble said...

What a terrible choice...but necessary. My parents are dealing with the same issue with their dog and it is awful. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Oh my goodness I am so sorry, What a devastating decision. Sending hugs for all and a bog huge one for Grendel.

Daenel said...

I'm so sorry. *hugs*

jadedperspective said...

Oh, this is so hard, but you are doing the right thing. Tons of hugs and peace to you and your family and of course, Grendel.

Lisa said...

I don't know you but my heart is breaking for your family. She sounds like is a wonderful part of the family. Lay near her and let her know that you love her no matter what. Remind your other dog that he will always be loved the same way. May peace and comfort find you during the next 24 hours and over the next few weeks.

Falling Around said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. I know the pain you feel. We lost our 16 year old chow in February and have said goodbye to two others before that. Pets become such a huge part of the family - it's so hard letting them go.

Hugs to you and yours this day.

Dumblond said...

I know you have been dreading this day for so long. I know it will be of little comfort to you and your family but after tomorrow morning, Grendel's pain will be gone forever. She won't suffer and you won't suffer seeing her struggle. Tomorrow, there will be pain for you but not for her.
I hope PB is able to enjoy her birthday.

Eddie Starr said...

My heart beats slow down as I read this posting. Suddenly, the fast paced (gobbildy gook) of my business day evaporate as I continue to read. I am lighting a white candle in hopes to bring your Dearest Grendel peace. My prayers go out to you and your family. I can only imagine the amount of anguish you feel from having to make such a difficult decision. Know that as Grendel's life is fleeting, the love you surround her with is everlasting.

Al_Pal said...

Oh goodness!
I'm so sorry. ;(

Badass Geek said...

I am so, so sorry.

Autumn said...

I am so, so sorry... words escape me. I've had to make his decision myself and also with a friend last week, my heart breaks for you {hugs}

Whit said...

I had decided Saturday morning that Monday would be the day we took matters into our own hands. She died Saturday afternoon.

Stay strong.

Tara said...

I'm so very sorry for what you're going through. Just last month we had to put our cat to sleep - she was 18. We got her when she was six weeks old. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever made, and we felt the same way you say you are feeling - like we were betraying her. Especially because she was still eating and wanting to snuggle...she was so very sick and it was like she had absolutely no feeling of it at all. But there was nothing the vet could do for her, and it was only going to get much worse.

You are doing the right thing. I will be praying for you in the morning. Stay strong.

Beau said...

Thanks everybody.

feefifoto said...

I'm so sad for you and your sweet Grendel. You're doing the best thing for her. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

barkingupthewrongtree said...

I'm so sorry, but I know words aren't enough.

JamaGenie said...

Friends had finally scheduled an appt to end the misery of their beloved Barney. When they came downstairs the morning they were to take him to the vet, they found his lifeless body curled up in his favorite spot in front of the patio door, as if he chose to put them out of their misery too.

Death is part of life, but my heart goes out to all of you.

Beth said...

I am so sorry.

Not a Granny said...

I am so sorry Scout! *Hugs* to your entire family. Remember the good times.

Bubblewench said...

I have tears in my eyes. You are doing the best thing for Grendel. Prayers and good thoughts to you & your family.

ajnabi said...

I'm so very, very sorry. :-(

jen @ negative lane said...

I'm so, so sorry.

Exactly three weeks ago I was in the exact same place, so I can not only sympathize, I can empathize. Grendel's story sounds exactly like Marley's. On Thursday, we became sure that it was time, but we had to wait for a Friday morning appointment. It was one of the hardest nights I've ever spent, thinking about the morning, knowing I was doing the right thing for her, but also knowing that it was still a terrible, terrible thing. I felt as you did, so very conflicted. I wanted the morning to come so she wouldn't be suffering in pain anymore; I wanted the morning never to come.

My thoughts are with you, Grendel, and your family.

Anna said...

I am very sorry for your loss. Yes, it is very hard to lose a pet. Always thinking but how can we end a life? We may end a life but the spirit and memories will never die.

J. Block said...

This is a very moving post. I am a new reader to your blog and I am most drawn to this post because of the striking resemblance Grendel has to my own dog RIley. I can't help but think one day I too will be going through the pain that you had to experience that day. God bless

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