Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time to say goodbye to a dear, dear friend

I know it's been ages since my last posting. My daughter and sister have been prompting me to post something new. I've made excuses that I didn't have anything interesting to post but it's time to face the truth, say goodbye, and move on. It's been a month since the last post and there is a reason. At the last post, I was preparing to leave for PA for a visit with Valerie, Sam and Stephanie. I had all sorts of great ideas for posts on my return. I remembered to take my camera to get photos for my post ideas. My blog helper, Becca, was spending the week with Kristine, Kent and her boyfriend, Bear. 

The first four days of my visit were wonderful! Sam seemed to recognize my voice and face from his photo book. He was comfortable with me right away and we were having a great time. There was never a dull moment with Valerie and Stephanie. I arrived in PA on my best friend's birthday and got to give her a birthday hug ON THE DAY for the first time since 1988 - how cool is that?

Then things crashed down around me. My dog, Becca, had been ill when I left PA but I had taken her to the veterinarian before leaving on Friday night. The vet had treated her and expected her to recover, which she seemed to be doing. Kristine reported that she was mostly back to normal by Sunday and Monday. Becca started having symptoms again on Tuesday and Kristine took her back to the vet. More meds for the intestinal problem and she started to do better by the end of the day Tuesday. But on Wednesday morning, Kristine and Kent found that Becca had passed sometime during the night. I can't imagine how hard it was for Kristine to find Becca that way in the morning and I'm sorry she had to go through that. The call came and Valerie was the one to answer the phone. I was on the deck enjoying my morning coffee. It fell to Valerie to break the news to me. I remember little of the environmental details of the next half hour but have a very clear recollection of the words I heard and the emotions that followed. Becca was gone. She couldn't be - I needed her to be there when I got home. She was my bright spot every morning, my motivation to take a walk each day. She thought I was a rock star every time I came home from work. My car looked like it was upholstered in white fur because she went everywhere with me, except to the office. She listened to me whenever I wanted to talk. How could she be gone? She was only 5 1/2 years old.

The girls did their best to keep things cheery but the rest of the week just sort of slid by for me, as I anticipated the hard part coming up - returning home and not having Becca there. It's been a hard few weeks getting adjusted to not having her around but I'm making progress and am ready to move on, quit feeling sorry for myself and make a great effort to turn my reflections to the good memories. I want to be thankful for the years I had with Becca and lose the thoughts that keep me asking "why?"

I'm grateful that Becca was with family that week instead of being at a boarding kennel. I know she received the love she craved right up to the last. And I'm grateful to my veterinarian, Dr. Terry Stephens of Evergreen Animal Hospital. He sent me a lovely condolence letter after I returned home. He had taken the liberty of performing a necropsy on Becca because he couldn't understand why she had died. He found that her passing was not related to the intestinal problem we were treating. Becca had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic disorder that causes sudden death and has no symptoms. Dr. Terry said that dogs with the condition often die in their sleep and that it is a quick, painless passing. I'm thankful for the blessing of knowing that Becca didn't die because of any neglected problem and I'm thankful to know that it was a peaceful passing for her. Thank you, Dr. Terry, for your time and compassion to learn this from Becca and to let me know.

So why haven't I blogged in a month? There you have it. At first I was in a funk about losing Becca. And then there was this thing we had about blogging. I've posted before about how Becca was my blog assistant. Turns out she was, more than I knew. I had a habit of getting Becca to lay by my desk while I wrote my blogs. I would give her one of her favorite treats - a retriever roll - to keep her occupied and then I would do my thing. It seemed that I just couldn't motivate my brain to write if she wasn't in her usual place. 

This post is my tribute to Becca, intended to help me turn the corner and move on. Thank you, God, for the time you gave me with Becca. She was an amazing dog and a great companion.
                              Becca - December 2004 - September 29, 2010

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