I Miss Her Most….

Two weeks ago today, I posted about where I find refuge.

If you missed it, you can read it here.

I wrote that one of my most cherished refuges was my beautiful Golden Retriever Hera.

That morning, subzero temperatures in Chicago forced closure of a good many businesses and schools, including the yoga studio where I teach and lead meditations on Thursdays.

So, I was fortunate to sit quietly with my Hera, writing, occasionally reaching over to her, thanking her for choosing me for this life.

In fact, my 12 1/2-year-old beloved companion was struggling that day.

I had a sense that she needed to be reassured that the angels were watching out for both of us.  I wrote as much in my journal:

“Dearest Angels, be with Hera as she struggles with whatever it is that is paining her and making her not eat.  Be with me as I work to comfort her and be with her; help me do what she needs most.”

We visited the vet early that afternoon to investigate.  She had experienced a similar episode on New Year’s Eve and I told my boys that it may be her last day.  She was healthy, but she was old, having lived 2 1/2 years beyond the average Golden life span.

But she rallied on NYE and we went back to being grateful for each day we had with her.

The vet found pneumonia.  

And a large mass near her lungs.

But her vitals were great.

By the time I got her home, however, she was weaker still.  And 3 hours later, I had a friend carry Hera to my car so we could return to the vet.

“She has a fever of 105 degrees; her blood sugars are dangerously low and she’s struggling to breathe so we put her on oxygen.  We could transport her to a 24/7 facility where they would put her in an oxygen tent, but the prognosis is not good.”

I had wrestled for a month with facing down the what if’s.  

Desperate measures would be for me, for my sons and husband…

not for our 12 1/2 year old Golden Girl.

I let her go, strong in my faith that the Angels were, indeed, helping her and me.

But oh!  how my heart aches.

I miss her most when I get up in the morning and one of us gets the newspaper instead of Hera.

I miss her most when I’m cooking and can’t feel her 72 pound-body wedged between me and the cabinet.

I miss her most when I come home and the empty house echoes with its silence.

I miss her most when I look out onto the sparkly snow and don’t see her rolling around, making snow dog angels.

I miss her most when I drive anywhere for she was my constant companion.

I haven’t been to the woods yet.

The cold has provided a cover for me to avoid walking the paths we walked and ran nearly every day for 12 glorious years.

She came to us at 5 weeks. Her mother was dying and the pups needed a home.

She was one of us.

She used to not eat until some one of us sat at the kitchen table next to her bowl.

She loved us through and through and all around.

I adored her.

She brought smiles to our days and to our hearts with her beauty, her insistence, her playfulness, her loving.

Each day with her was a gift.

And I am oh! so very grateful for my Hera.

She, who took the leash in her mouth at the end of each walk;

She, who bounded over fallen tree trunks and splashed into the creek;

She, who gave me her paw when we sat side by side, sharing our Honey Crisp apple…

just wanting to touch me…and I her.

I miss her most…

And my refuge is now my memories of Golden Days with Hera.