I love happy endings.
You know. The ones where the music cues and the stars sparkle and the guy gets the coffee shop girl and together they walk off into the sunset to a life full of cappuccinos and lattes.
I write stories about happy endings. It’s my specialty.
Like this one.
Or this one.
Or this favoritist of favoritist of all the happy ending stories that ever were.
But the hardest story to write?
The one that leaves your keyboard covered in tears?
The one that makes you question and question over and over and over again with your eyes swollen up like watermelons and your heart so heavy that you can’t pick it up off the floor?
It’s the story where happily ever after is hard to find.
I spent yesterday at the vet.
In the last couple of days, Buddy, our golden, has been having some symptoms that didn’t seem right.
It all happened so fast.
One minute he was fine and then out of the blue everything changed. I didn’t want to believe there was a problem. Not for a single minute.
But I knew something was wrong.
Buddy is our jumper.
An ever-present friend when you want to walk or run like the wind or cartwheel or roll in the grass or laugh out loud or hug or snuggle for days on the couch.
We rescued him over ten years ago. Someone had taken him home and then brought him back to the shelter. He was too much, they said. He had too much energy and was too rambunctious and too overwhelming.
A dog that was “extra.”
Oh good, we said. Come home with us.
Yesterday my son, Zack, and I stood in a vet’s office as they ran after test after test and x-ray after x-ray and we waited for the results.
With sad eyes, the vet told us that our “extra” dog has cancer.
A tough cancer.
A cancer that’s winning.
A cancer that has a grip on him and won’t let go.
We could give him medicine to alleviate some of his symptoms, but truth? We only had just a little bit longer with Buddy. I stared in disbelief. What? A time frame? Cancer? My mind was spinning and swirling and reaching conclusions that were almost unimaginable to me.
I have to be strong, I thought. I have to keep it together.
And then I looked over at Zack.
My strong, pillar of strength, never-let-them-see-you-sweat, I-got-this-mom, rock of a son with tears welling up in his eyes.
I tried to keep it together.
But right there in the middle of that cold, sterile, waiting room, I melted down. Tears filled my eyes and spilled over and gut-wrenching sobs came from a place that I didn’t even know existed. I was so full of sadness that I didn’t know where to put it all. How could we go on? How would our family be a family without Buddy? And then, as I sat there with my tears and my sadness and my head in my hands, I felt a cold nose nudge me.
It was Buddy.
He looked at me with his wise brown eyes and laid his head on my knee.
As if to tell me we would be okay.
As if to tell me we would get through this.
As if to tell me he loved me.
I wish I was as wise as Buddy.
I wish the hurt would stop hurting.
I wish I could understand.
Maybe one day.
edited to add: Zack just read the post and asked me if I could clarify a few things.
1. Even though he is part of our family, Buddy is Zack’s dog. Always and forever.
2. Zack also wanted me to mention that he did NOT cry first. He said he saw me crying and that made him tear up. 🙂