Gina & Sadie
GINA : Being a part of Sadie's final months taught me so much more than I had ever hoped. Before she came home, I had anticipated a girl that was resigned and depressed for the way life had been unfair to her. I was ready to keep her as comfortable as possible while navigating possible behavioral issues for her unfortunate health. I had plenty of plush blankets prepared for her to spend her days lounging while I gave her snuggles and kisses until she was ready to go. What I hadn't prepared for was Sadie teaching me more about living than about dying.
She came home a little apprehensive and probably wondering why she had come home to four annoying siblings. They ran to greet her...most with interest and immediate acceptance...one with an obnoxious way of asserting herself without being vicious.
Sadie quickly adapted to her new home. I made sure to give her a few days to decompress and take it all in. As her furever mama, I doted on her. Was she too hot, too cold, hungry, tired, uncomfortable, displeased or unhappy? Not wanting to overwhelm her tiny soul, she showed me that her resilient spirit proved stronger than I gave her credit for.
Sadie learned the rhythms of our home. Sadie was the fifth in a pack of fur babies... but she made her presence known as equally important and worthy. Her brother, Simon, insisted on kissing her until she'd finally had enough. Yet, he persisted. Simon has a thing for the ladies to be showered with kisses...wanted or unwanted.
When she released her teeny farts, we all laughed. Her tiny but mighty spirit wasn't embarrassed in the slightest. She even seemed pleased with herself for it! She was equal parts sweet and sassy.
Daily, Sadie surprised us with her blossoming attitude. She was needy while also being very independent. She was insistent on getting affection when she wanted, space when she needed it, and being fed a second breakfast, third lunch and an eighth dinner. I was her most devoted servant.
Sadie went for walks...well...the family walked and she traveled in her chariot. At night her snores lulled me to sleep while her fluffiness kept my feet toasty. During our family dinners Sadie serenaded us with protests for the humans to share. Her siblings would eye her as if to say, "Sadie, we only stare at the humans to hypnotize them for a morsel. Are you sure we're supposed to be barking like that?"
Sadie followed no one's rules but her own. She would insist on going for car rides, trips to Home Depot and the flea market, eensie weensie bits of ice cream, and smelling every blade of grass for that perfect place to pee.
She loved being out in the sun and decided which of the beds in our home were her favorite. Sadie made us laugh...a lot.
My ignorance believed fospice was about dying, when it was really about the precious gift of living. Sadie pulled no punches and apologized for nothing. She was a bold girl that gave me more than I would ever have imagined. And when her time to say goodbye came, I deeply felt I had been robbed. How dare this little girl carve a niche in my heart and then ask to enter her forever? I wanted more snuggle times where our family gathered in bed and hung out. I wanted everyone to meet the spunky young lady that had graced our family with joy. But that was not to be.
Sadie's body said, "Mama, it's time." And so I had to prepare myself for Halloween without seeing her in her costume, not having her demand for her portions of Thanksgiving turkey, not seeing her wear her Christmas dress along with her sisters, or celebrate puppy birthday parties. I had to let go... because I loved her enough to say, "It's okay. I'm going to ache so much over missing you, but I understand. You're ready, and because of that...I'll have to be too. "
As I sat in a chair with my back against the wall and my feet on a second chair, I kept Sadie in her blanket and cradled her. I tilted my head as hers was nuzzled into my shoulder and I told her what a good girl she was. I reminded her how much I loved her and how pretty she was. She fell asleep...and snored like an Olympian striving for both the gold and silver medal. It was my honor to be her mama. What had I done to deserve the privilege of Sadie sharing her sweet life with me?
My spirit is all the richer for Sadie generously allowing me to love her. My missing her runs deep. Deep enough to love another the same way. And when they come home to me, I'll be better prepared. Because fospice isn't about dying...it's really about living a most beautiful life.