She was in tears, because one of her cavaliers died this morning. She had taken Fergie to the vet two days ago. Labs were run and it was conclusive she had diabetes. Then, she got a call this morning saying Fergie died in her sleep, that they just couldn't get her glucose levels under control and she had other damage to her kidneys.
Like most of us do, my mom blamed herself--that she wasn't aware which dog it was that was drinking so much water (there were 4 cavaliers and 1 chow mix plus two cats), that she should have gotten her there faster, that she should have gone to visit the night before but wasn't able to, that somehow she should have known.
All I could do was what is natural to me--to console, to comfort, to tell her how sorry I was, to let her know that Fergie was in a better place, that she wasn't in pain long, that Fergie knew how grateful she was for rescuing her, that she had people who loved and care for her. Still though, words never feel like enough when someone is distraught and in pain. I can only imagine my own suffering when my dogs pass.
I called her in the evening to check up on her. She thanked me and told me she would be okay. I know she will be, but she will be fraught with worry since four of the other dogs are the same age. I hate to see her worried. It's probably one reason why I have kept so many of my thoughts private from her.
I think about how easy it is to nurture, console, and feel compassion for someone else (humans and animals alike), however, when it comes to myself or people actually caring about me, it's like I'm really not allowed that. The image I always have with this particular issue is Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel. The fingers are there reaching out, and if only I could grasp it completely, fully.
Sometimes, I wonder where I have gotten this notion. Where and when did I set this rule for myself? I doubt I'll ever know the answer, so all I can do is remind myself of certain things:
Rules can be broken.
Sometimes, it's even good to break rules.
Compassion for others and oneself is allowed and needed.
On a side note, my mom said something interesting to me. She said last night she woke up at 2 AM and was wide awake. Although she discounted this thought, she wondered whether that might have been the time Fergie passed away. I told her this was a very likely scenario. I don't know whether she believed me or not, but I've always believed that animals have a wonderful sense of telling us things. And in this case, it was Fergie's way of telling her she was leaving this earth and going to the Rainbow Bridge where all animals go.