I have learned that life is a series of letting go. In my fifty-five years, I have let go of many people, places and things. I have let go of childhood and all those childish possessions such as Barbie dolls and crayons. I have said goodbye to my parents’ home when I left the morning of my wedding day and eventually, stood at the door of my own home; watching my three children one by one leave home to start their own journey of life.
With each letting go came new beginnings; new people, new places and new things. My husband and I have moved on from our hometown to settle near our grown children and their families. We have joyously welcomed two daughter-in-laws and several grandchildren. Letting go has brought an abundance of love and instead of lessening, has added to our lives.
Our dog, Oscar, came into our lives when our first child and only daughter left home. He was an empty-nester puppy. He shared over sixteen years of our lives.
Letting go of children is a step by step process. First a mother lets go of the babe she holds in her arms as the child learns to walk, talk, and do things for him or herself. The small child turns into a preteen and teenager, needing their mother less and less, until one day, a fully grown adult is waving goodbye from the driver’s seat of a car. A mother has years of little “letting go’s” so that when the day comes when the child is a child no longer; there is some sadness, but there is much more pride and a sense of accomplishment. This is not so with a dog.
I compared Oscar to my guardian angel. He followed me everywhere. For sixteen and half years he was my shadow. Even when he ached with arthritis and was not well that last year, he rose with me every morning and followed me throughout my morning routine until I left for work. He never waivered in his devotion.
When Oscar turned ten, our vet told me he was considered a geriatric patient. He told me to look for signs and be prepared for a time when he had no “quality of life.” Oscar was a very healthy ten-year-old and I was not worried. I did ask the vet what “signs” would I look for. “He will no longer get up with you in the morning,” was the answer. After Oscar turned fifteen, I did notice a change. He moved slower and more cautiously. His hearing was gone and eyesight was not the greatest. But, every morning, he rose from his bed as soon as I rose from mine.
On November 4, 2020, I rose from my bed and Oscar was walking along side of me. He had been ill most of the year; frail and failing. I had looked for the sign, but Oscar refused to stop rising from his bed when I was up. I knew it was getting too much for him. An appointment had already been made for the end of the week for his goodbye. We never made it. That night, I awoke thinking I had heard Oscar walking on the side of my bed. When I looked over, he was not in his bed, nor at my side. I found him laying on the kitchen floor, dying. I yelled for my husband to join me, and quickly took Oscar into my arms. He died a few minutes later while I held him and thanked him for being the best doggie guardian angel. It was a most painful experience.
On November 5, 2020, I rose from my bed to face my morning routine alone. My little friend was no more.
Those first couple of months were hard. I shed many tears as I grieved and let go. I did know that I wanted another dog. I enjoyed my years with Oscar and began searching for a new little angel to add to our family. The search ended Sunday when little Archie was picked up by my husband and I from a havanese breeder in Texas.
Archie was born on Easter Sunday and he has resurrected my joy! I have already called him Oscar several times; old habits are hard to break! He is very different from Oscar. He is outgoing and always looking for trouble. He has my husband and I in stiches every day!
Life is a series of letting go – but it is also a series of new beginnings. Hearts mend and heal and find room for more to love.
I have the most wonderful memories of my Oscar. I am making new memories with Archie. (He is sleeping on my foot as I am typing this).