This morning I watched everyone in my family tell our 14 year old chocolate lab, Haley, goodbye. She completely lost use of her back legs the day before. She had to be carried for food, water and to urinate and defecate. Her tail was between her legs and her eyes begged for relief.
My husband spoiled her with delicious duck meat for breakfast. The kids hugged her and rubbed her ears. They knew I was taking her to the vet while they were at school and that the outlook was grim, but the hopefulness of youth still ruled their hearts.
I carried her to the car at 9:30 and drove with all the courage I could muster to the Vet. I called my husband (who was at work) for a last minute pep talk. As I carried her in from the car, our vet and one of his tech's was waiting to open the door and take her from me. We carried her back to an exam room and after placing her on the table, we all made the decision that it was her time.
My last mental picture of her is her sweet grey face with splotches of pink from my lipstick kisses.
The children knew I was taking her to the vet while they were at school--and that she might not come home. The reality still hit them hard.
As Parker mourned he said, "I knew her my whole life. I have known Haley as long as I have known you, Mom. She was always there for me when I was sad and now I have to go through this without her."
Lots of conversations about how there is no easy way to do a hard thing and love is worth it.