You get to a certain point in your life where you think you're past firsts. You start to feel like you've run the gamut from good to bad ... first love ... first kiss ... first apartment ... first car ... first home. Highs and lows. I've won the jackpot at the casino. I've gotten a ticket. I've gone to Disney World. I've buried a parent.
But I was wrong ... because yesterday was another first. For the first time, I had to put a pet to sleep ... not as a child, who mourns their pet ... but as an adult who has to make the awful choice of when to say ... no more. No more pain.
Maggie was a miniature schnauzer ... 13 years old. She gave us so much love ... and was loved so much in return. I know it's illogical to be so devastated ... because when you own a pet, you take responsibility for that life ... a very short, very special life. But when I drove her to the vet yesterday morning, I didn't expect that would be the morning I would have to say goodbye.
I knew she was slowing down. She couldn't jump on the bed on her own anymore. She didn't play as much. But she still wiggled her nub and barked happily when I came home from work. It was only in this last week that you could tell something was wrong.
The vet didn't know for sure ... but fluid was building up in her abdomen. When she listened to Maggie's heart, she said it was so faint she could barely hear it ... she thought heart failure was causing the fluid buildup and said it was time to discuss quality of life. Maggie was breathing hard and her belly hurt when you touched it ... she was suffering and there wasn't a fix this time.
My mother called my husband who rushed to the vet's office. He spent time alone with Maggie and held her ... and we were both with her when they gave her the shots. She wasn't alone ... she was surrounded by love. Even in the midst of all this chaos and unhappiness ... everything was put aside for a moment so she could go to sleep with love.
And now we are two. Me and Max. He misses her ... he smells me every time I come home ... hoping this time I brought her back. He whines and keeps his ears perked ... listening for her sounds. Max is ten or eleven now ... no puppy himself. He's never spent a day in the house without her ... never gone outside without her. But for now we're getting by ... getting used to the new normal.
A new first ... a terrible new first. Rest in peace, Maggie ... you really were our sweet, sweet baby.
And I'll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday
Boyz II Men - It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday