I knew this text was coming and I was dreading the day that it would. Goose is Taylor’s dog that has been in his life for 14 years. Everyone knew that Goose was “his”dog and you could tell they loved each other immensely.
But Goose was sick. He was 14 years old. He did this horrible coughing, wheezing sound, he had occasional seizures and didn’t hold body weight very well. I knew this text was coming.
I did not want to think about it though because I knew it would tear Taylor apart and just that thought made me tear up. So, I was in the mindset of “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Then last Friday we came to that bridge and then we had to cross it.
I did not exactly realize how hard it would be to comfort someone 923 miles away. I could not hug him. I could not make sure he ate or make sure he didn’t go to the bar and destroy himself. I could talk to him on the phone and text him but I couldn’t physically be there and that broke my heart. I cried many times because he was so upset and there literally wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
But while I couldn’t physically be there, I tried to think of creative ways to “be there” and make sure he ate and continued pushing on in school. I really could only come up with three:
- I ordered him a pizza
I didn’t know if he was really eating so I gave him food. It took me a good half hour to find a pizza place that would deliver to base (one lady thought a naval base was an apartment complex…yeah) but I finally did. A medium cheese pizza and a small cookie cake was delivered to Taylor all paid for and ready to eat. I just texted him saying, “Keep your phone on you and tip well. Don’t be cheap!”
I obviously didn’t cure his sadness but I could tell I picked him up just a bit and I felt better knowing he had hot, non-galley food right there.
2. I bought cards
The day I got that text I went to Walmart and picked up 13 motivational, mushy, funny cards as I could (none with dogs). Thirteen because that is how many days there were until I would see him again. He’s getting a card a day with a little something to brighten his day. He’ll get a little piece of me every day until I can actually be there.
3. I cried with him
We have weekly Skype dates on Sundays. Last Sunday we were talking and he was just straight up moody. I was telling him a story about my day and I looked up and I noticed he was crying. I didn’t say much. I cried too. I asked if he wanted to talk about it and he didn’t say much. So, we cried for a minute or two then carried on talking.
What is important about this is that he knew he wasn’t the only one hurting. He could go to his friends to talk but I don’t think they would cry along with him. It was important to me that he knew he wasn’t alone.
Really, other than that, there wasn’t much I could do. When something terrible like that happens, there isn’t much you can do besides let them go through it and do everything you can to make it known that you are there.
So, R.I.P. Goose. I only knew you for a little while and you were the best snuggler. You helped shape Taylor into what he is and I thank you immensely for that.