Wilma, my confidant, my very best friend.
For most of us, our pets are treasured and loved like children. We never hesitate to think of it as a burden to spend all our time walking them, feeding them, training them and just hanging out with them. In fact, it is our truest desire.
Our Wilma was born the runt of the litter, strong and loveable from the very beginning. Without a doubt, the most perfect choice for our family. She became more than just a pet the moment she trotted into our home, wagging her tail and running through the halls nipping at our ankles for attention. She made us all laugh, she made us all play and we were better because of it.
For myself, my Wilma journeyed with me whenever the weather called for it. I always felt horrible when the winters were too cold and went on for too long. The ”sorry’s you cannot come” were like acid on my tongue and the sadness I saw in the slump of the burly shoulders as the wagging ceased was sometimes too much to bear. I even bought my car specifically so that she would have a place to sit all her own. Our Wilma just wanted to be with me, with us, always.
So much part of the family, almost every trip we made together or on our own included her, even if it was just a car ride to the corner store. Wilma remained where we were, always. Even when the warm weather called for her, knowing there were bones to dig up and circles to run, she would rather be with one of us, snuggled by our feet or chasing us about with her current favourite toy hanging limp and wet from her mouth. Wilma LOVED walking and camping, playing, swimming, hiking… and Christmas … in fact, she would wait patiently in front of her stocking until the kids woke, a tough task indeed considering there were yogurt covered peanut butter treats waiting for her. As the kids got older the wait was longer, she loved it all.
“Wanna go for a walk?” Head tilting, tail wagging with a sloppy grin plastered on her face she would run to the door and simply wait for the command “come on”. Trained off leash to come at a call or a whistle she rarely strayed. When one of us lingered, however, she waited, ever so patiently, so that no one was left behind.
Wilma… fiercely loyal, unconditionally loving and always, ALWAYS, without hesitation, there, when we needed her to be. At our worst of times, she would lean against you, a warm weight of comfort while crying our tears. She hunched her front end down with her wagging tail high in the air ready to pounce when we all laughed with joy or she would simply sit near you, just to let you know that she was there. She filled our home to the brim.
“Let’s go for a ride.” Was the phrase I said that fate filled day. I needed to take her into the vet; we knew something was just not right; her normal joyful self had become so weary so quickly. Her tail wagged with anticipation even as she begged me with dark guileless eyes to lift her into the car. She wanted to jump so badly but something inside her knew. Did she know she was dying then? I didn’t know it was to be our last car ride, I just didn’t know it then.
The morning of March 12, 2014, at eight young years of age, we lost our most cherished pet. Wilma was taken from us so suddenly that the shock of it simply, to this day, remains unbearable. Even as she lay, unable to breathe, her tail never ceased to wag. Even when it was the veterinarian and her assistants who were there soothing her, assisting her, breathing for her when her heart lost its beat, she never failed to be grateful. Even at her final breath, as my husband and I held her and cried for her, she was protecting us. Her last moment was to be her final loving sacrifice to her beloved family. Surrendering her life to save us from the potential agony we would have surely endured of what may have been a long and painful battle of medications and procedures that would have ended, ultimately, in the making of that excruciating decision to take her life, (of which I’m sure I could NOT have done). This ultimate moment of such undeniable selflessness she possessed is something I will shed tears of gratitude for my entire, eternal life. It was just so… her.
It pains me deeply that I will never touch her soft fur, rub her pink belly, kiss her sweet wrinkled forehead or groan at the constant slobber and short white hair left on my clean black dress pants ever again. When I go to say “let’s go for a ride” and not see her there, waiting at the top of the stairs with bum wagging for the signal, will be like a knife to the heart. Every morning when I wake up and shuffle to the kitchen I won’t hear the familiar thump as she jumps from my daughter’s bed (her favourite place to sleep other than my pillow) to meet me there for our quiet morning routine. She wagged her tail as I filled her water bowl knowing that a treat, a spoon full of our shared morning breakfast of plain yogurt, was close behind. It will hurt me greatly when I walk through the doors at the end of the day not seeing her lift her head high as she held her favourite toy in her mouth shaking with boundless tail wagging ferocity as if I was back from being gone for so long. Never again will I sing “my love, my love, how are you my love, my love, yes I missed you too, my sweet love, my love?” as she removed the daily workday stresses with that joyful acknowledgement of simple humbled presence. And, when I lay my head upon my pillow each night and cannot hear her gentle snores, I will pray to her, asking if she will wait for me. She was such a good listener… I’m comforted in the knowledge that her and I will walk together again.
Our home is filled with her, every room lit up with her bright and beautiful essence. It will remain there for as long as it must to envelop us spiritually with what she can no longer give us in the physical world. I can honestly say that this is a lousy consolation and my heart yearns to hold her at this very moment.
If I can even become one millionth of a human being that she was as a beloved pet, I will have accomplished something even greater than the miracle of life itself. She was truly the quintessence of unconditional love to every living being she ever came across. That is the lessons she taught, the one we needed most to learn. It was just so easy for her you know? Just to love.
I miss her dearly.
Our Wilma; a child, a sister, a mentor, a protector, a confidant and a beloved pet, eternally ours to cherish until we meet again.
2005 – 2014
Forever in our hearts.
You were truly, truly loved.
Following is a poem my sister wrote. Grab a Kleenex. You will need it.
I wish I could speed up the healing process my sister and her family now have to face and go through after the loss of their most precious family member, Wilma. I thought of bits and pieces of this on the way home from work after hearing the news…I am no poet but this is what came into my mind…
How could you have known?
The changes were so subtle,
how could you have known the end was near?
Never really showing you anything was wrong,
there was no pain, no fear.
So you showed love as you did since day one,
you did the best you could
but something was not right,
appeared not like it should.
You did everything right,
all that you knew how,
but no amount of effort could not stop what would happen now.
How could you have known,
life as you knew it would be forever changed,
though don’t think you didn’t try…
What laid beneath was beyond repair…
just could no longer lie.
How could you have known,
the life you once knew,
would change so drastically,
if only you had been given a clue.
You only want it back,
the joy you once shared.
But life had different plans…
but damn you wish you could have been spared!
All the pain,
the quiet nights ahead,
it’s just not the same,
so many tears yet to be shed.
Thank God for memories although bitter-sweet,
it’s something to cherish,
to keep sacred and to never delete.
No matter the days to come,
they remain a part of our life-like a ghost.
they will always be in the hearts of the ones that loved them the most.
Little reminders will make one smile,
as you remember your life together.
They surely left us something precious,
they left us with forever.