JUST ONE MORE DAY
The sun came up that morning just like it always does. Except this time I couldn't see the colorful Florida sunrise due to heavy storm clouds moving in, and it was beginning to rain. It was another ordinary morning like so many others......or was it? Because what I didn't know, was that this would be one of those days that would cause me to reach deep down inside, and reflect on the true nature and meaning of things.
I had an uncanny feeling…..a restlessness in my spirit, and sensed that something was about to go terribly wrong.
He had the most beautiful pair of round, deep brown eyes you've ever seen, offsetting the sleek, silky light blonde hair that draped elegantly long, framing his head and brow. And it would dance like fanciful streamers of etherial gossimer to rythmns of the gentle sea breeze…creating a halo of shimmering light cradling his face. He was magnificent in stature…. and magical.
Back in the day, his strong sinuous neck, muscular shoulders and deep chest shored up powerful, tall legs that allowed him effortlessly to leap and bound like a gazelle, playing and charging through the cluster of giant elm trees in the back yard, as if it were the exotic expanse and wilderness of the Serengeti itself.
His name was Howard, and he was my dog, my Lion Heart......a once exquisite and stately Afghan Hound, with the power and stealth of a shrewd watchman guarding his home, yet beholding the sweet, gentle nature of a new born lamb.
Howard was royalty.
But time had taken its' unkindly toll, and the years were now demanding their price be paid for a once vibrant and exhuberant youth, even for a prince such as he.
Sensing something wasn’t quite right, I'd taken Howard to the vet for a checkup just days before after noticing slight changes in his appetite and behavior. Nothing to worry about, the vet said....just an old dog showing typical signs of age. But to be on the safe side, ran lab tests to rule out any serious issues that could be lurking beneath the surface.
But sure enough, results from the blood work came back showing high levels of calcium concentration in areas that meant only one thing.....Howard was in stage four of lymphomic cancer.
And there was nothing to be done that could save him.
And so that morning, just six days later, when Howard stopped eating and drinking, and lay so still, very close to death, I realized that the ten years we’d spent together as inseperable friends was about to come to an abrupt end. Howard had been there for me when I was stricken with MS. He was there for me throughout the long ordeal.
For months he’d laid at the foot of my bed, day in and day out when I was bedridden half the time, guarding me, watching over me and never left my bedside. I was his charge.
And he was there for me during my recovery process as I struggled to conquer that monster disease…..eyes ever watchful, standing at attention, so straight and strong…..a loyal subject awaiting the rise of his master again. He’d seen me through the worst of times, and now in my best of times, I needed to be there for him.
We quietly said goodbye.
The vet and his assistant arrived at our home around noon, and in a matter of just a few short minutes, Howards’ life in this world came to a peaceful and quiet close.
My Lion Heart was gone.
The rain finally stopped, and the sun came out from behind the storm clouds….but even the warm Florida sunshine wasn’t strong enough to dry my tears. My thoughts raced….had I done enough? What if I’d only seen even the slightest of warning signs sooner…would that have made a difference?
What if…..what if……what if we could have had just one more day? What would I do with that day? What could I do that would make a difference?
Life gives and life takes away. And the time we all have here is very short, and the unexpected can happen at any time.
Because we never know what even the most ordinary morning will bring us as it turns into the rest of the day. I suppose that’s part of the beauty and tragedy of it all…. we never know what’s going to happen. So, it’s up to us to live each and every day savoring the moments we have, as if they’re a priceless collection of treasures we’ll cherish and carry with us into tomorrow.
My beloved, blithe regal guardian and champion is gone….. never to return. But Howards’ memory will live on forever in my heart and mind. Yet, I still can’t stop the longing from deep down inside…. and wonder…..what if…...what if we had just one more day?
Rest softly in the arms of the Angels, dear one. I miss you.
Until next time,As always,
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Copyright © 2006-2009 Sue Ellen Dickinson - No More MS, My Journey Back To Life - All rights reserved