Thursday, February 08, 2007

Before The Bridge and other thoughts

Once upon a time......

Kenu, Rhodesian Ridgeback, 13 years old, died Tuesday, 2/6/07, 3 months to the day after Bill passed away. Yana also died on the 6th a year and a half ago.

It became evident that I needed to make a decision about euthanizing him last weekend. It became imperative that I do so on Monday, but I lost my nerve. So, Tuesday was the day. It was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make because he looked fine. Unfortunately, his tumor was a timebomb, and I didn't want him to die painfully, or without me. In October, when he first showed signs that his end was near, I wrote the following poem. Ironically, it helped me to make my decision this week. The others are also related to him. If you don't mind Hallmark-esq poems, read on.

Before the Bridge
by A. D. Ripke

*A poem that describes a place where we will be reunited with our cherished companions. See

Yesterday all seemed fine
Or mostly, anyway,
Gray muzzle and silent ears
Excused his lazy days.

Today he’s sleeping in the sun
And walking slowly up the hill
His graceful gait is stuttered
His tail almost still.

Birds no longer taunt him
Squirrels withhold their chatter
Cats just sit and wait
The hunt no longer matters.

I seek his tired eyes for wisdom
A prophecy that cannot lie,
I find a quiet answer,
“I’m getting ready for good-bye.”

I wonder—
How will I know for certain when it’s time?
Do I wait and let it happen naturally?
Do I help him bow out gracefully?
When am I loving selfishly?

Questions find their rest
In the arms of my resistance
Answers seek their rightful place
Where emotions keep their distance.

Memories rope around each thought
Tying knots of indecision
There are no absolutes
No crystal ball or mystic vision.

How will I know when living is unkind? tears welling as I ask.
Then, from across the Rainbow Bridge*, a gentle voice unveils my task—

“Watch him live—
If his greatest joy is slumber
No response to your commands
His mind does not remember
His legs no longer stand
When his dancing eyes are resting
When he chooses shade instead of sun
When walks are just him dreaming
Your wondering is done.”

I ponder this simple explanation
Advice I could’ve given
But too much love, immeasurable love,
Is blind to answers never hidden.

So Reason’s awkward comfort
An argument still pending
Prepares me for good-bye
Unlike another’s tragic ending.

And in that final moment
As wisdom fights my will
I’ll know he’s found
His peace,
His place,
His friends,
When paws and tail are still.

*A poem that describes a place where we will be reunited with our cherished companions. See

Last Day

My day began with a slow, deep breath—
The last day,
His last day,
Our last day.

Last together
Last hug
Last kiss
Last smell
Last touch
Last look……

Last breath.

His last breath.
Our last moment.

I breathe.

I touch.
I breathe.

I touch him again.
I breathe.

Torrent of tears…
Torrent of tears…
Torrent of tears…

Peace at last…

Home at last…

Memories last…

Last touch...
More tears…
Breathe--just breathe.

After Life

Tears fall…
The moment after
The feeling after
The night after
The day after
The week after
The month after
The walk after
The couch after
The entryway after
The park after
The mountains after
The ocean after
The desert after
The summer after
The year after.

After tears
I live.

After more tears
I live.



After life
Memories live…


After life

1 comment:

jay are said...

oh, angela, not this now!!! I'm so sorry for your loss. :(
And your poems were very....I can't even think of the words. Awesome barely covers it.

Thinking of you.