I've known Johnt and Gretchen for as long as I have been on the net it seems. On November 24, 2001, Gretchen died of Cancer. Mothers are trained to "kiss it and make it better". How do we do that for pain that is so deep and a loss that is so profound? Well, I for one can't. When I read his words, it's like I am there.
It is like a whole new life today..............
It is like a whole new life today..............
Sometime yesterday morning or early afternoon, it is hard to tell exactly
when Gretchen took a turn for the worse. We have a sofa in the living room,
and Gretch always has like to go to end of, and just lay against the end and
look into the kitchen. In the early afternoon she was doing this and as I
have the last couple of weeks got close to her and listened to her
breathing, and what I heard chilled me to the bone. Each time she took a
breathe she made a sound like that of a squirrel that is near death. That
eerie long whine. We started giving her oxygen several times an hour, but
relief was short lasting.
On Friday Dr Pete had given us some sedative pills in case this happened during the weekend, so she would not be anxious if we had to take her to the vet. At about 8 last night we called and talked to the on call vet who also works at our vet hospital. He said the Ace Longs were very strong and to give her one might finish her but maybe not quietly. He called Dr Pete and called us back and said to give her a quarter, and maybe she would relax a little and be able to sleep, but in my heart I new it was time, it was her eyes. It was the same help me look but different, it just tore my heart apart. Cathy agreed, and when the vet called back we told him we were going to bring her in. We gave her the one of the sedative pills, and she seemed to sense this was something she should not take, and Cathy pushed it far back into her throat. It was about 8:45 last evening. At 9:05 we gave her the other, she was getting tired, and relaxing. It is impossible to put into words what I was feeling. I wanted so much to wave a magic wand and make her well again.
At about 9:15 we left for the vet. I had Gretch wrapped in quilt that has been one of the dogs for several years, a big soft one. I opened the window, it was 34F and raining ever so lightly. Gretch put her nose out the window and I had Cathy drive very slow down our street, and had her stop at the end of the street before we went out on the highway and carried her around and just sobbed and told her how sorry I was and how much I loved her, she sniffed the air. Gretchen has always loved the outdoors. After a few minutes we drove in to the vets at about 50 mph, slowly with window open and me just hugging her, Cathy drove.
When we got to the vet Cathy went and talked the vet and I just hugged my baby. Gretchen and I got out of the car and sat on the curve of the parking lot and the wind blew around us, Gretch getting tired now. Cathy came out said we could go into the vet. I hesitated, Cathy took me by the arm and led us into the vets. I never wanted Gretch to have to be put to sleep at the vet, but it is a weekend and the on call vet had to stay there. Dr Pete said he would not do it if he was not on call. Gretch looked at the door to vet hospital approaching and started shaking a little, this place that had cut her open 5 time's in the past 9 months. I held her close and she seemed to relax again.
We entered the vet and a young man about 30 came out. The on call vet. He was very solemn and very nice. It was about 9:35. I stopped at the desk and said I could not do this at the vet, Gretch was looking at me with kinda glazed eyes and was breathing slowly. Joe (the vet) was kind and he and Cathy directed me into a exam room. and we laid Gretch on a small quilt they had laid out, Gretchen in her own large quilt. I said a few things and just hugged her, he said he would give her a sedative to relax her and explained after 10 or 15 minutes she would be asleep and then he would inject the mix that would take her away from her pain and into the next world. He pulled out a syringe and gave her a shot in her hind quarters. She as usual did nothing, but looked at me and was peaceful. I said I was going outside to sit with her. He said take as long as we needed.
We went outside and Cathy got another blanket out of the car and we spread it on the curve, and we sat down. Gretch was covered in her quilt with her head out and she was smelling the air and getting tired. In the next 7 or 8 minutes a flood of thoughts flew through my mind as I held her and the wind whipped through our hair. What a dg she was, the hard times she helped me get through, the walks, the hugs, the car rides, all the years of love, devotion, love. Gretch just looked at me and sniffed the air, I uncovered her and let the air blow across her, she was getting so relaxed. I covered her again and held her close and whispered in her ears sweet nothings of love and thank yous. The minutes slowly passed and she closed her eyes for a few minutes and then opened them and looked at me. We hugged again. About 9:45 she gave a few little lurches, very faint and I mentioned them to Cathy. Cathy just hugged me, I asked her if she wanted to hold Gretchen and she said no, I needed to do this and say goodbye. Cathy hugged her in her quilt.
A moment later Gretchen pushed her head under my armpit. She kinda signed and then she died. In my arms and outside, like a dachshund should. I did not know it for a few seconds.
I looked at her and she was so quiet. I took the covers back and she was not breathing. I was stunned, and told Cathy I thought she was gone. I kissed Gretch and then Cathy and sent Cathy to get the vet. A few moments later he came out and told me to come inside, I wanted to go home. I just wanted to take my baby home, but again I was led into the vets.
Inside Joe listened to her chest for what seemed along time. He seemed almost confused. She had died without the lethal shot. I was in a daze of emotion. He then said he wanted to take her in back and inject her heart, to make sure she did not come back. I asked him to do it there, he said he could not, I asked to go back with him, he would not let me. He also wanted to glue her eyes shut and I said no, so he did not. He took my baby and about 5 minutes later came back. Joe explained why. He wanted to keep her since the little coffin I ordered would not be ready till Tuesday, and Wednesday we will bury her. We talked, and I said she was coming home with us. He said OK, gave her to us, gave us a plastic bag and said to freeze her till she was buried.
We rode home, came in the house and Beth (our 19 year old going to beautician school in St Cloud) was here, she just cried. I had hugged my baby all the way home. Otti and Kelsey came and wanted to see mom, they sniffed her and Otti seems to be having the hardest time. We laid Gretchen out on the couch where she had laid on the end just a few short hours earlier and covered her with her quilt with her head on a pillow. After a few minutes I went to adjust the cover and Otti pushed my hand away with her nose and just nuzzled her mom. Kelsey just looked on kinda dazed. My goal now is for these two to realize what has happened.
For the next few hours I just was in a daze. After a while I put Gretchen in Eric's bedroom just off the living room and opened the window, for it was to soon to just put her in the freezer, I covered her, put her head on a pillow, and placed some cheese, turkey and a milk bone by her head for her journey. Silly huh? Then just wandered the house, go and visit Gretchen, and walked outside, visit Gretchen, and then about 3 went to bed. For the first time in 13 1/2 years I fell asleep with no dachshund in my arms. Otti and Kelsey slept where they always have on Cathy's side.
I could go on and on and on, but am just to spent.
The most wonderful thing is that Gretchen died in my arms, being loved and outside where she loved to be. Now I must go and begin the grieving for my lost soul mate. She will live in my heart forever....................
Soon I will go wrap her in her blankie put her in in a safe place till we can place her in the corner of the yard where she loved to lay in the sun...... A place where I can visit her every day and just sit and enjoy all the wonderful thoughts.