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By midlife we’ve gone through several losses. For me, I already lost my dad at 23 years old. Not even out of college and I decided to remove him from the machines. And then there’s a loss of relationships either through break-ups or death. A divorce is a whole other kind of loss. And of course there’s a loss of a job through firing, ending of contracts or the feeling of “it’s time to move on.”
But as a midlifer, better yet a single midlifer, I think that the loss of a loved one such as a fur baby is a whole other ballgame. I went through that loss this past week. There has never been anything like it. Hence I thought it would be a great blog post for this week as I know that fur babies, and the love we as mamas and papas have for them, is universal. So here is Persephone’s story.
My ex-husband and I adopted Sky, as she was initially named, the first year of marriage. We decided to get a puppy instead of having a child to test the waters. She was the daughter I never had. She would go with me everywhere: play dates, Cystic Fibrosis Walks, hiking, shopping and coffee dates with other girlfriends with pups. She was so much my daughter that I got her in the divorce.
Persephone continued to console me when my heart was broken. When I asked for a hug, she simply sat in front of me and bowed her head down waiting for her mama to take hold. She was a constant licker, though I loved her kisses, some people got tired of always being wet.
Eventually, on a road trip to Florida she cried a cry I had never heard from her before. Continuing south to her Grammie’s house, we took her to the vet where we learned she had ripped her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). So upon her return to North Carolina she had surgery for her first ACL.
Life went on and we continued our journeys. We stayed very much in tow. We walked in the morning and in the evening, meeting neighbors who also had dogs and others. The others were just people walking, driving, and biking. She always barked at them until they responded. Many times I explained that she was just saying hello or good morning or good afternoon.
Then day by day I started feeling more sluggish. I had gone to a Christmas gala where I ran out of breathe and was nauseous. It was a struggle to, not only taking groceries up the stairs, but walk Persephone. With some coaxing, I went to my specialist and then another at a local university hospital. I underwent a Catheter Ablation where they found and fixed two scar tissues that had been behind my heart for 38 years. But the encouraging thing was the people in my life that gathered around, not only me, but my precious baby girl to take her on walks, cuddle with her and be the additional love that we both needed.
In the midst of healing from the Catheter Ablation, Persephone pulled her second ACL. Blessed again with more friends, I had one family help carry her up the stairs to my apartment drunk on pain medicines with a cast and place her into a nest of pillows and blankets that I made special for her. Another friend spent the night to assist her on her nightly outings as I could not pick up more than five pounds from my heart procedure. We were especially blessed that season in our lives.
And Persephone loved visitors. She loved when her Grammie would come to spoil her with love and stuffed animals. She loved even traveling to see her.
My Dad’s best friend, Zig, used to visit on his drive between Florida and Ohio. They played well together, him teasing her and she barking at him as if he was someone new each time he went into another room and reappeared.
Zig passed away last year, another great loss in my life. He was a friend to my Dad, having been friends since Dad was about 14 years old. They stayed friends through all of those years and was there for each other in light and dark times.
Last year, upon Zig’s passing, I inherited his beach house. I got Mom to sell my family home in South Florida and move north. Persephone had a chance to, not only see the house that I grew up in, but to see and stay where Mr. Zig lived. We had newer adventures there with Mom’s two dogs. We made the trek all together: Grammie, Persephone with Mom’s two dogs, me and even my 25 year old bird.
Before we returned home last week, we took one last walk through the jungle path to the beach. Persephone kept looking back at me smiling. Once at the deck overlooking the beach, she just let the breeze blow through her hair and smelled the salt water.
Upon her return to North Carolina, now I see the signs that she was ready to go onto another adventure that I couldn’t go with her on. My suggestion was to find your grandpa and Mr. Zig. They will love to have you and get to know you until I see you again.
Persephone was 11 years old when she passed on December 8. She is sorely missed and will never be forgotten. I’m moving forward, preparing to adopt another sweet angel – not to replace her, as Persephone will never be able to be replaced. But one thing I learned throughout all of my seasons with Persephone is that I make a good mama. And I only hope that I can make her proud, looking forward to more adventures with another little one that she will meet in heaven when both of our seasons are done.