Kevin and I came to the very difficult decision that we would accept the blessing that we've had with Nellie but recognize that it's time to let her go. We are selfish enough that we'll go to the vet in a couple of days.
We have amassed an extensive art collection and one of the odd pieces we have is a clay St. Francis. Every morning, I've knelt before this statue and prayed. I'm not an overly religious person but this habit became a litany:
St. Francis, please hear my prayer and intercede.
Please help us have as much time with Nellie as we can.
Please help us take joy in what time we have.
Please help us have the strength to accept when that time is up.
Please tell her that it's alright to let us know when she hurts.
Please tell her that when she's had enough, to take one of us by the wrist, the way she used to when she was young.
In God's name; Amen.
I hope that I have the strength. I know that she'll join the adopted sister that she adored but that doesn't diminish the pain of my breaking heart. I can't help but think that a bit of my heart, a bit of myself and a bit of my joy with go with her. That won't be nearly enough to repay her for all that's she brought to me. She was always there for me when I needed a cuddle. She was always vigilant in protecting us from all the evil that lurks. (Every night, she'd get up several times and check the windows and sliding door to make sure that everything was in order...we called it patrolling.) Life just won't be the same.
I'm not so cynical to think that I will never get over this...but a small part of me never will.