On July 4, 2014 while the heavy rain poured from the sky we lost our beloved dog Meka.
She succumbed from the cancer which cruelly ravaged her. She was 11 years old.
She was my wife’s dog. I say that because my wife literally had only her jeep and her 6 month old dog Meka when she drove from California to Massachusetts in 2004. We met in May of 2005. Meka was a Rhodesian Ridge-back/Yellow Lab mix.
My father in law took her on a 30 minute walk every night. When I say “every night” I mean it. Nor’ Blizzard, Nor’ evening after a Hurricane, -10 Fahrenheit temperatures or a holiday, she went. She lived for it. Never ceasing her absolute excitement when the sun began to set and she looked at one of us to say “Are you ready yet?”. We were always ready Meka…. because you were the best.
Meka’s personality was one of efficient watch dog, companion that chased away any creeping loneliness, benevolent attitude to mild teasing : ), loyal to put any human to shame, and had the same force as loving as the embrace of your truest love.
At 10:00 pm July 3rd, 2014 I took Meka for a walk. It was a windy, humid night as the fresh southwest winds ahead of an approaching Hurricane on the horizon screamed as if a beacon. Lightning from a distant violent thunderstorm ten miles to our north danced. Raindrops fell in slight company 5 minutes into that walk as I looked at Meka asking her “Do you want to go home?”. She pulled ahead to continue. No fear from this beautiful animal. She took it all in. The swaying of the maple tree leaves rustling in the invisible air currents. The smell of green grass from the elevated moisture in the air. The quiet street on a summer night. A perfect summer night. A night when approaching storms yield to the bond of a human and a pet. The calm before the real storm. Just Meka and I. There is suspicion we both knew the significance.
Less than 1 hr later she lost the ability to walk and was crawling. She was attacking her leg sensing something was terribly wrong.. She looked at me as I tried to comfort her with the sense of “I know it is time”…..”I’m hurting”. We made her as comfortable as possible. Later in the morning she passed away at a local esteemed hospital for pets which had treated her cancer so very well until nothing more could be done. We held on to her collar as we exited the building into a torrential rain. The storm was here. The damage had been done. Cease your presence for my heart cannot bear it anymore. That is what I was thinking as a feeling of horrible shock came over me. I was rigid. A statue that could cry.
The haunting echoing ring of her tags, the faint smell of her scent……. and the setting sun remind me of her. Along with a litany of other memories. She was my wife’s dog, but she came to be loved by everyone in their own special way.
She was a dog that was festive. Some folks dress their dogs against their will. Meka loved it. She almost wanted to show off. Whenever we took off her collar, she would wait eagerly until we put it back on. She was a dog who knew who she was and understood us perhaps better than we knew her.
I find myself haunted by two skies. The sunny, sapphire blue serine peace of her running under a gentle sun. I find myself battered by the other sky. A cold wind of rain like tears as the trauma I witnessed in her final moments is burned into my brain like some synaptic branding. Sandblasting me like sand on a beach in a Nor’easter. No need for Rain. I can provide the tears adequately. I know this is part of the “process”, but I do not have to like it. And I despise it. Cancer has taken too many loved ones, no matter what species.
I had a dog for 16 years growing up. She was put to sleep in September of 1999 after her kidneys were failing. The hollow, nausea of death of a loved one ate at me then. As unexpected and unprecedented as a July hurricane in New England, I did not see the intense emotional anguish coming. That may be silly to say, but I did not adequately understand how much she meant to me. I suppose this is a poignant lesson that it is not the amount of time spent with anyone that matters, but how much we get out of that time. The value of the moments spent happy rather than idle. The carefree days. The endless summer. The honesty and good times with no agenda. Free as we all should be.
I see the anguish in my wife’s face. I hear the sadness in my father and mother in law’s voice. I see her everywhere. Look at a bright light, then look away. The afterimage is there. I see her everywhere……Yesterday upon awaking I called out her name, forgetting for a brief moment she was not of this world any longer. I might as well have ripped my heart from my chest.
Meka, you were a gift in my life. You meant the world to my wife and my close family members. You showed me that I could love a dog just as much as my childhood pet of 16 years. You showed me kindness, innocent play, licks to the face, and many hints of the tender perfection you were when the slightest of eye contact conveyed meaning. I love you, and I will miss you. The limitations of written language finds its barriers in times like these.
Faithful companion to the end
How dear you were, my friend.
Rest now for your pain is gone
Time will proceed, but your memory will forever…… live on.
I love you,
In return to what you were to me,
Your faithful…without judgement…eternal friend. Your obedient servant.
Christmas and a Nap.
Resting peacefully on her blanket in May 2014.
You will always be in the summer sun, for that is the warmth you gave to us all. That is how you made us feel. You were 11 years of summer. You are not to be replaced, for how can one replace a season?
The one who called your name followed by a hug.