Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodnight Maya...

I think maybe it’s important to sit a while with death. Get to know him. See what he has to say. Even if all he says is nothing.

I put our dog to sleep today. Maya was a good dog and we loved her very much. We woke up this morning to find her bleeding all over the floor from a tumor the size of a softball that’s been growing in her leg for the last couple of years. So I killed her.

I guess that’s what it boils down to. I tried to explain it to my 5 year old son as “putting her down,” “putting her to sleep,” “letting her go to be with Jesus.” I just couldn’t bring myself to say it, “I’m going to kill our dog… for her own good.”

I brought my kids in for a few minutes after the doctor gave her the initial sedative, to say goodbye. I don’t want them to be afraid of death, like I am. When it looked like she was about to have a seizure, I sent them out. She did have a seizure. I had to tuck her tongue back in her mouth. It’s not supposed to happen like that, but it did. Nice, easy, slow, peaceful… that’s how it’s supposed to go. Complications. Life is full of them. I don’t suppose death should be any different.

After a few minutes they shaved her leg, inserted the needle and stopped her heart. I scratched her ear and rubbed her head for a few moments, that’s what she always liked. She didn’t feel it. She was dead. The experts say it’s important to say that word. Dead. It’s such a simple, blunt word for such a damned ugly, frightening thing. She was always scared of the vet. I let her die in a room that terrified her. The experts are bastards.

She doesn’t have to suffer anymore. I think that’s what I’m supposed to say. She’s going to a better place. It’s just a dog. Life goes on. God is in control. Try explaining that to crying children. Is that really the best we can come up with to say to death?

I wonder if that’s what they’ll say about me. He doesn’t have to suffer anymore. Life goes on. He’s just one guy. God is in control. Will they let me die in a hospital room, terrified? Will they sedate me to death? Will my family gather around my bed for a while and cry, then head out for dinner and thank God that I’m no longer bleeding all over the place?

Will my life be reduced to memories that cut out my teeth and blunt my edges? I like my edges. Will they say how sad it was that I didn’t do all those things I wanted to do? Will they wish they had just one more moment to say, “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” “I always hated that about you.” Will they just forget and move on? Life goes on.

Death has lost its sting, but kept his teeth. He runs down the weak, the sickly, the slow and sometimes in moments of sheer ferocity strikes down the strong and fast. Jesus has given us victory over death, but sometimes we still feel like prey. But I will not run from him. I will sit quietly, look him in the eye and trust that Life is stronger than death.

1 comment:

Patrick Russell Ray said...

Oh Scott I'm sorry man...I'm praying for you guys, I know how much (well how could I?) you loved Maya.