It's amazing how a week will significantly change your life.
Exactly a week ago, I was on my own at the Luckystone--chopping and mixing, clearing out the old pickles from the fridge, running laundry and taking in the day. It was a day like today--clear autumn. Crisp. The osage oranges on the ground. A few twinkling golden leaves on the trees--promising a bit more beauty before the snow. It was one of those sky and water days...where they are separated by a single darker blue line. Yes, I was on my own--but always accompanied by my little shadow, Shady Grove.
Ever since Shady joined us, we were tethered together by her volition whether it be posted outside of the bathroom every time I was in there, from in the middle of the floor as I cooked to either bedside or on top as I slept. She curled behind my office chair or under my desk right by the radiator to gather up all the heat. She would sneak into the boot of the car's passenger seat --curling up tight--barely leaving room for my feet--carefully tucking her legs and tail into a black biscuit. She would wait on the porch by the door--waiting to be called to protect--and soaking in the rays and the cool breezes. She was in front of the fans or as close to the wood stoves as she could handle. Shady was always within my eyeshot from the minute I woke up, until I clicked out the light at night...and her snoring reassured me throughout the night that all was well.
Shady was in the car's backseat as I did my errands--or at my feet as we watched television. She didn't like any separation from me--and would sob and cry if we left her in the house when it just wasn't right to take her with us. Then, when we would return, she would bound outside-- yelping with a yip that said that she was delighted we were home...without any commentary or remorse, guilt or reflecting her former grief. She had my heart and I have hers.
She was and still is, my little shadow.
Last Sunday she had a hard time getting up--and would just fall over. I took her out in the evening, and she was running into corners, seeking out refuge under old boards in the yard, and generally seemed very confused. She would fall and not get up. Just lie in the leaves and seemingly gather the strength to get up. Her back legs were unsure...and she didn't seem to be able to remember to do her business when she normally did. Her hearing and eyesight were off as she was losing that in her grand age...but her sniffer worked more than fine. Her temperature was fine. Eating and drinking was not a problem too. I was frightened. This was not like her. I thought...this would get better.
The next morning, after a night of concern--it wasn't better...it was worse. She was fully incontinent and wouldn't get up...but continued to doze...Never moving from her spot. She moved a bit during the day. She was in the middle of the kitchen waiting for me when I came back from a meeting. I called the vet to see if we could get a time slot, thinking in the back of my mind that this might be the end of a chapter but somehow it was a reality that was impossible. This chapter never was going to end. Ever. Heck, a few tests, a little antibiotic wrapped in cheese and we would be back in business. It was nothing...and we would be able to move on to another day.
But that day came. Dear Shady had to leave us--go forward into the next chapter leaving us behind and grieving. She owned us...our hearts and our love. She taught us to be a family by holding our hands all together--knitting us together just by being in the room with us all. She was there for us and now in my tears, I am there for her. She was sweetness and love. She did not judge but just lived for the now...as we all should. She was a blessing to me and for that I will always and forever, be beyond grateful for being her student and her person.
I know that she is romping with her dearest friends (all who have left this plain) Elsa, Lucy and Sonata...chasing and chasing and chasing. Tracking pinecones .Waiting on a hot dock for us to get out of the water to be with her. Thumping her tail when I whispered her name. Delighted with a green bean under the table. Leaning on our legs. Stepping on my toes. Flipping our hands to rest on top of her head. Talking in her way to us. Making show angels. Catching snowballs. All this that gave her joy...I wish for her now. The tears are running down my face.
My Shadow is gone...as the light as gone down. though I know she here in my heart. Her love was a gift that I will never take for granted--- and will hold it tight for now, tonight and forever. Wait for us, Sweet One. Greet us with a bark when we join you.