Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saying goodbye is never easy...

Saying goodbye to my beautiful boy.

My heart has been broken into a million pieces. Yesterday started out like any other. I left the house just after 8am. Julien was getting dressed for school and I gave Finn his medication. Finn had had a great day on Thursday. He was almost back to his old self. He was happy, eating, and running in the back yard. When I left yesterday morning, he looked fine. by 11am, my husband texted me and said Finn did not look well. He was just standing in the back yard staring into space and his stomach was heaving in and out.

This has happened before, so I said we should wait it out for a couple of hours to see how he is then. He called me just after 1pm to tell me that Finn was now lying down and unresponsive. I was on my way home, so I told him to call the vet and let them know that we were bringing Finn back. When I got home, Finn was in the back yard and unable to stand on his own or walk. My husband carried him to the car and we headed off to the vet in two cars because one of us would have to pick up Julien from school.

What we thought was a severe intestinal infection, actually turned out to be an aggressive form of cancer. I have been down this road before. Our last dog Elsa, had mast cell tumors. This was pre-Julien and we did all kinds of heroic things to keep her alive. And I know we did that because we couldn't let go of her. I swore I would never do that to another animal I loved.

The vet explained to us that Finn's cancer would spread to his brain very quickly and I think it was already doing that. During the week, he would do strange things (ie: face a wall and stare at it for a long time, walk around in circles). He was definitely not himself. He had internal bleeding and when he was down and incapacitated, that's when the bleeding was happening. When he was up and looking normal again, the bleeding would stop on it's own momentarily.

The vet said that we could take Finn to the Oakville animal hospital and have him ultra-sounded and have surgery performed, but even with intervention, we would not be buying him a lot of time. And he was in pain, a lot of pain. My husband and I decided it was in Finn's best interest to say goodbye to him. Julien was still in school, and I felt it was important to give him the option of coming to see Finn again if he wanted to.

I was so scared driving to the school to get Julien. This would be his first death experience. Although my husband was on the fence about this decision, I knew that we needed to give Julien the opportunity to say goodbye. Finn's been in his life since birth. When I told Julien that Finn was very sick and not coming home again, he started to laugh. He asked me if I was joking. I told him I would not joke about something like this. I started to cry and he burst into tears.  I asked if he wanted to go see Finn so he could say goodbye to him and he said he did. All the way to the vet's he kept asking me if I was kidding him. When we pulled into the parking lot, he said, "mommy I am going to be a brave boy for Finn".

The plan was that Julien would say goodbye to Finn and I would take him out of the room while my husband stayed with Finn when he went to sleep. When it was time to leave, Julien begged to stay. So we decided to let him. I'm glad we made that decision because Finn's passing was so peaceful and Julien won't have questions about what happened when he went to sleep. We are having Finn's ashes returned to us and I will spread some along my favorite running trail. It was also Finn's favorite place to walk. That way, when I'm there, I'll know he is close to me.

My house is quiet right now. Everyone's asleep. Whenever I'm on the computer, Finn would normally be sitting at my feet. It's incredible how much animals touch our lives. I have a brand new emptiness in my heart that will be filled with his memories. My beautiful boy would have been 8 this January. He was still way too young to die. He loved life and he loved us. He was an exceptional friend and a very good boy. Finn, we love you, and we will miss you. You brought lots of happiness to our family and you will live on forever in my heart.

Finn this past summer. Loving life.