I knew the day would come when I would have to write this post. There were even times when I would think about what I would say. But then I would put it out of my head because it was far to dreadful to imagine. But now I'm here. And I can't put it out of my head because now, now it's real. I'm not sure how to write the things I need to say. I can barely see the key board because of the tears. I have no idea how to adequately put into words how amazing, how precious, how loved, how goofy, how regal, how adored, how everything Preacher was and is to Tom and I. The thought of life without him is staggeringly painful. And yet we've made it now 11 days.
We lost Preacher early on Thursday September 22nd. It was fairly sudden. Tom and I were with him, just the two of us. He took the hard decision out of our hands...something I will be forever grateful for and in awe of. As difficult as it was, and it was excruciating, I was able to hold my baby and feel the last beat of his heart.
I've had a hard time making sense of everything. I want to be angry, but how can I be? I was able to share his life with him. We were given and incredible amount of time with him. I'm trying to make sense of everything. Trying to understand how he was just here... I'm trying to hold on to memories, think about the good things, but I'm not quite there yet. I'm having a hard time finding any relief in much of anything just yet. But I know that I need to find a way to be happy. I need to find a way to feel normal again, just like we did with every milestone we passed through Preacher's life with us.
This was from the day we brought Preacher home. I just crack up looking back at these photos! I forget how much pink he had on his nose when he was young. And over the years we marveled at how he never seemed to age...but looking back at these early pictures, his gray was so much darker. I guess you just never notice a white dog going white. To me he just looked more regal the older he got.
These were also from that first day. I wrote about that day in a recent post...when we first loaded into the car Seven wanted nothing to do with him. But by the end of the day I think she was more attached to him than we were.
It took us a little longer to bond with him. I remember the first day at home with him. He was laying on the couch and I sat down next to him and he growled at me. I hopped up and went to tell Tom. He sat down next to him and got growled at too. We were kind of freaking out. We didn't want to return him but we also didn't want an aggressive dog. After a little while we figured out that he just was not a snugly boy. There was no aggression behind the growl, it was just his way of saying "Hey, if you are gonna sit here then you might as well pet me, if not then scoot over and give me some space!" Tom figured out quickly that our new addition meant he was now relegated to the floor! Up until the day before we lost him I would use that as a way to gauge how he was feeling - if he growled at me it meant he was feeling good enough to give me attitude, no growling meant he didn't feel good.
I love this photo of he and Berklie. Berklie adored, absolutely adored Preacher. Back when Preacher could still jump up on our bed that is where he would stay when we were away from the house. And Berk would lay with him, groom him, rub back and forth under his chin. This 130 pound dog and this 12 pound cat were the best of friends. When Preacher could no longer jump on the bed Berklie followed him out to the living room to sit with him on the couch. Every night Tom, Preacher, and Berklie would share the entire couch while I was over in a chair with at least six other dogs!
Our first Christmas. I had no intention of being in this photo but Preacher had no intention of sitting with Santa alone!
The Mighty Texas Dog Walk aka the time when Preacher unloaded what looked like 20 cans of pumpkin before we ever made it out of the gate! Poor Tom was having to set give-away dog bowls around Preachers nervous diarrhea like safety cones.
I love this photo because it marked the return of his apatite after beginning chemo. It was a mighty exciting day around our house!
He was not a cuddler, so these moments were precious. It didn't matter if the blood flow to half my body stopped, I would not move until he was ready. We took every bit of snuggle time that we could get.
I think there are three reasons that I have made it through the last 11 days.
one. We have THE best family and friends in the entire world. They have all treated this with the gravity that it is for Tom and I. We've received flowers. People have cooked for us. Lots of sweet cards. Texts every single day to see how my day is. Listening to me cry and crying with me. Sitting with me. Donations to Blue Dog. And more.
two. As much as I have wanted to get in bed and not see the light of day for a good long time I know that that would be no way to honor my boy. I need to live my life with all the joy that he brought to me for 12 years three months and 16 days.
three. I have never believed in Heaven as much as I do now. I cannot believe that I will never see my baby again. I just can't.
There are so many of you who have read my blog over the years. I don't kid myself. I know that Preacher was why. And I thank you for every time you read about him and wished him well. For every comment you made. There was something about this dog. People lucky enough to meet him would want to come back to get their "Preacher fix" - you know who you are! People who knew him vicariously through Tom and I felt like they knew him and were rooting for him. He just had a way of drawing people to him. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I was lucky enough to be his mom.
I love you and I miss you more than I ever knew was possible. I still scoop your food out in the morning and walk into the kitchen to get your meds. I'm terrified of forgetting the way you smell, the way you feel, the way you sound... Someone I met while dealing with your cancer told me that one day I would be able to feel you by my side again. I am dreaming of that day. I got your name tattooed on my wrist the other day. It gives me something to rub when what I want is to pet you. I'm trying to figure out my feelings from one minute to the next but the bottom line is I miss you terribly. You made it too easy to love you. You filled up our lives so much that now there is a Preacher shaped hole in our world. Thank you for letting me be your mom. Thank you for fighting so hard and giving us these last two extra years. Thank you for making it easy on us in the end. Thank you for being the bravest boy in the whole world. I love you Big Man.