Friday, April 7, 2017

Olive 3/18/17


I recently lost a soul that was closer to me than most. Nothing can prepare you for the deep, complex waves of emotion that fill your entire being when you lose a true light in your life. Here is Olive's story and my realizations about life and death. 

It’s Wednesday September 10, 2014. I’m mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed and this roughed up dirty white dog catches my eye because lets be honest, when doesn’t any kind of dog catch my eye? An old coworker was posting about how she found little Malitpoo in her backyard and no shelter in the city would take her. I commented something along the lines of “my rescue mom instincts are kicking in” and that afternoon a skinny, balding, flea infested dog was delivered to me in a cardboard box.

I bathed her, hand fed her, gave her water, and made a bed for her in the living room. For weeks she just lay in her bed, only getting up to go the bathroom and to drink water. Despite a semi-healthy check up at the vet’s office, her spirits were broken and only time would heal her.
Fast forward a few months. Meet Olive! She’s blind in her left eye, her right ear is looks like cauliflower (we call it her crinkle ear), she can’t hear very well, and she’s probably around 8 years-old but reminds me of a newborn. She’s a little unsteady on her feet, clumsy if you will, but loves life now. She wants to run with the big dogs at the dog park and she’s not afraid to let any person or pup know who's boss. She's finally comfy in our home and every chance she got, she would lay next to our dog Crosby, her new big brother.
It’s Wednesday March 8, 2017. I found out from a vet visit Olive has cancer that has spread rapidly and the cause was most likely from her not being fixed until later in life. I’m devastated. I make the decision that I’m going to have to eventually put my girl down because her breathing is only getting worse. I tell myself I’ll know when that time is.

It’s Friday March 17, 2017. A grooming company is parked outside of our house in their portable van because paying too much for a less stressful environment seemed like the right thing to do.

It’s Saturday March 18, 2017. I didn’t sleep. Olive had a vet visit that morning to see if the cancer was for sure cancer or some kind of rare pneumonia she was on medication for. The news was grim. I remember holding Olive in a blanket as a cold wind blew in from the south. We looked out into a field together at all the flowers blooming. My mind was still, which is rare. Spring, I thought, and that was all I could think. I knew we may not have another moment like this one. Just here, us, in nature together.

Later that night we were sitting around the table with my family. I let Olive up in my chair and fed her carrots from my dinner plate. One moment everything was fine and the next she was falling, twisting, gasping for air. I thought it may have been a seizure. We rushed to an emergency clinic (yes those exist for pets) and I later found out that it was some sort of vertigo issue. Perhaps vestibular disease. When we were reunited with Olive she was in a room stable, wrapped in a blanket that was mine when I was a baby. I knew it was time to let go. I couldn’t stand to see my strong girl suffer. Time didn’t even seem to exist. I know I must have spent a good while next to her, petting her, kissing her, telling her she could move on and that I loved her more than anything. I was so in the moment I don't remember anything other than her in front of me. I told her she better follow me everywhere and just like that the shots were injected and she fell asleep for forever. Crosby jumped on the table and sat by her side for the last time.


I’ve always been the needy one in most of the relationships in my life. Needy as in, I need a lot of emotional support and I thrive off of companionship. Being near another person or doing things with someone has always been what I prefer. All the people in my life are the kind of people who don’t seem to need much of another person. Olive needed me. The only soul that’s ever truly needed me. She was my little shadow that followed me everywhere. Everywhere. From the kitchen to the bathroom back to the kitchen. I'll never be able to explain how much she meant to me but I can try to explain what she taught me.

Because of Olive, as silly as it may sound, I now know what unconditional love is. Death has always been this pending thing that looks like a dark cloud hovering over a long road. It scares me and fortunately I've never lost a soul that was close to my heart. When she died, I questioned where she went. Is she somewhere? Is she nowhere? Where is that somewhere? My mind couldn't comprehend what had just happened. I still don't understand how her energy could be right here next to me and just like that, I can't feel it anymore. Losing her left me feeling raw and angry. I still cry and I'll always cry for her earthly form but losing her opened my eyes to what really matters in this life and what could be in store for us after. I truly believe I will see her again. I believe it because I have to see her again. I think anyone who's lost someone they love might know that urgent feeling of needing to be reunited. Once Olive was gone, it's like my mind shifted into place and I knew what really mattered in life. I mean, I've always known what mattered in life. You hear it all the time.. happiness, friends, family, love etc but all of the sudden I felt it. This momentary feeling of sheer panic mixed with relief. A little voice said something like, "don't worry so much, enjoy the ride, say thank you".

It's been exactly a week since I lost that little ball of light. That void is still there, the tears still come when I crawl into bed but it does get easier to get up and carry on knowing she's there, somewhere, wherever that is because.. she just has to be.
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1 comment

  1. I love you so much. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing

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