7:00 p.m. George. My 14-year-old cattle dog, my stalker, is having trouble moving his right side. Keep him calm and comfortable. This is probably it, sometime in the next few days.
A normal person would be out of her mind or, well, I don’t know what. Crying? I just look deeply in his eyes, as long as I can, make him warm.
His right ear is droopy now, not standing up straight. He won’t look away from me. He sleeps a little, barks a lot at noises no one else hears.
So hazy. I won’t admit to my husband that I don’t know how to feel. I wish I could cry and sorrow. I want to. I’m heavy but vacant. I am such a bad person. Very anxious. Oh god, very anxious. Different varieties of anxiety seem to fill the space where there used to be a myriad of feelings.
Even here, now, look. I can tell you about it, but I can’t be in it. Remembered grief will sit in its place.
* * *
3:00 a.m. Slept up close next to my George and his stiff legs. He dreamed his dog dreams without moving his legs, just REM moving his eyes. Held him and told him about our favorite memories together. He somehow burrowed deeper and deeper into me.
The slow-motion collision of this woos my sadness out like tentative Munchkins. Mostly I lie on my side, engulfing George, with echoes of my first shattering sadness coming and going. I awkwardly welcome it back. I have sort of cried. It’s my dog.
* * *
10:00 a.m. Five hours more before the vet. My default feelings leak in, Rage and Anxiety. No, it’s not Kübler-Ross stages of grief; she was debunked years ago. These are just my old friends, come to take up the space where Grief should be, since Grief is too shy right now. I try to welcome Grief with Ativan.
* * *
3:30 p.m. It is done. I cry. He was blind in one eye, stiff legged and shaking, looking to me for answers. Wracked with guilt at my decision, I cry. The sounds of my parents voices cycle in a whirlwind above my head: Don’t cry. It’s just a dog. You’re too sensitive. It’s selfish to cry. I can still hear you crying close your door. Did I cry from being crazy? Or go crazy from not being able to cry?
There’s just me and George, and now me and no George, no George, no George. Little Munchkins, come back; I’ll make Max Headroom be quiet.