March is here. We have sun and rain, and fairly warm temperatures. We also have incredible sadness. Eamon and I lost our Rachel a couple of weeks ago. Rachel was our 11 year old dachshund who came with us from Seattle.
One ordinary morning, just another school day, we noticed that Rachel was panting. I checked and her heart was beating really, really fast. Eamon and I decided we should have Marco take a look at her. I texted Javier. He came and took her to the clinic. He texted awhile later and said that Marco thought she might have pneumonia and he was going to keep her at the clinic to monitor her. Rachel always liked to sleep under a blanket, so I took her fleece snuggle sack to the clinic. She was as happy as ever, thrilled to see me, smiling and wagging her tail. I told Marco that I thought she had been trying to clear her throat in the morning, like she had something caught or stuck. He tried to look down her throat and she just went limp.
Marco and his assistant Angel put her on the exam table and started CPR. I called her name, telling her how much we loved her and wanted her with us. She came back and in just a couple of minutes she was happy and smiling again, wagging her tail. Marco said he thought he should do an x-ray to see what was going on. I started to tear up and told him how much she meant to us and I knew he would do everything he could to find out what was happening. He said he would call me when he knew anything. I kissed her, told her we loved her and then I came home. She was still wagging her tail and smiling.
A couple of hours later, Javier showed up at the apartment, which was surprising since he was planning to be at the quinta most of the day. Marco had called him to tell him that Rachel was gone. After they did the x-ray, she went limp again, but this time they couldn’t bring her back. Maybe if I had been with her, she would have heard my voice and come back…
I couldn’t breathe and started to sob. I couldn’t stop. How was I going to tell Eamon she was gone? I called Shirleymaye in Seattle and tried to talk about what had happened, but mostly I cried and cried. Then my dad called and I cried some more.
It was almost time for Eamon to get home from school and I knew I had to pull myself together. I’m the mom and it’s my job to keep myself together. I went into his room, where he was typing away on his computer – just an ordinary afternoon. I asked how his day went, if he had any homework – all the ordinary things. Then I told him I had something to tell him.
I wasn’t together, I just started to cry and say how sorry I was, that I shouldn’t have left her at the clinic, that she shouldn’t be gone, that it was all my fault.
I have the most incredible son in the universe. He put his arms around me, told me taking her to the clinic was the right thing to do and it wasn’t my fault. Mostly he just sat next to me being incredible. I finally stopped crying. I told him that Marco had asked Javier if he could do an autopsy to confirm what he had seen on the x-ray. I asked him if he thought if we should give him the go-ahead and he said yes. We have to know what happened to her.
She had a tumor on her liver that was pressing against her lung. Javier was at the clinic for the autopsy. Marco showed him the tumor.
We had her body cremated, we brought her ashes home in a wooden box. We brought her snuggle sack home, too.
I sit on my bed with my other four legged babies, and I still expect Rachel to peek out from under the blanket. I know she had a good life – she knew how much we loved her. But it’s too soon for me to be reflective and philosophical, I am still too sad and miss her too much. But I also know that she is still smiling and happy, wagging her tail and watching over us. We will love you forever, Rachel.