Saying Goodbye to Snuggles

May 11, 2021 | Death, Dying, Loss

We tried to keep her going as indicated in my February post. When we left her for Spring Break in the capable hands of our caregiver she seemed stable, but texts and calls with this gal confirmed that she declined quickly while we were away. In true, valiant Snuggles fashion she waited for our return and died in our arms that night. Losing a beloved dog that has been a family member, defender, protector and my personal transition partner as we moved to an entirely new community two years ago is a gut wrenching experience. It took many reassurances from Charlie to come to terms with the fact that we didn’t kill her by leaving her for Spring Break. “She was diagnosed with kidney failure in December and she’d been declining since.” This is all true, but when we lose anything precious, words don’t ease the pain. Only time can heal. Since it’s been over a month, I needed to tell a few people in person. Friends who faithfully took care of Snuggles while we traveled. I drove to the home of this special family, bearing a pot of blooming ranunculus. Their four children hugged me as I shared the news. They also brought baskets of freshly picked violets “to eat.” I must have looked hungry. Those innocent smiles and bunched up, bent violets proved a healing balm to my frayed soul. I wrote this poem for them as a tribute to Snuggles and to their loving hearts. Thank you Livi, Ivy, Eli, Anna and your parents for always loving Snuggles.

walking in golden sunshine….

Violet – the Color of Morning

You left before white lilacs

before violets

before windows open.

You waited for us, 

because you’re that kind of girl.

Eyes brown and deep as

grandma’s, waiting and knowing.

We picked you up off concrete squares

when modest uphill climbs overwhelmed.

We waited.

We denied.

Weeks after,

abandoning our route,

we searched out new pathways, 

spying for green.

“April is the cruelest month,

breeding Lilacs out of the dead land,” Eliot tells us. 

Emergent life traversing the edge

between frost and flourishing.

Particular friends 

needed personal telling.

Their care and love

deserved ranunculus in

plastic pots accompanied by hugs.

Not really enough, if one spent time 

calculating the cost of love,

of what you gave and what we deserved.

I crossed their lawn 

and told the story,

“Of course dogs go to heaven.”

Childhood innocence climbed trees,

picked violets and told me,

“You can eat these!”

We prayed for what was coming.

We mourned what had been.

Livy and Ivy flounced in prairie dresses,

bearing violets to the end.