If you are at work, and you are not wearing waterproof mascara, boycott this till you get home…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My Dad was right when he said “It is the end of an Era”. On Monday night I cried myself to sleep, on Tuesday morning my Dad did everything he could do to put off what we had to do at 9am. So much that he was 15 minutes late to the vet.
On Tuesday morning we had to put down our beautiful Shadow. I have not been able to write about it till now, as I would have been bawling before now, right now I am teary. We had Shadow for half of my life, since I was 12 years old, I am turning 24 on the 22nd of this month. So he has been a part of our lives for almost 12 years. He has made our lives so rich, so fulfilling, and best of all he taught all of us kids to care deeply for another being. He was our brother.
When we went to choose our new puppy 12 years ago, there was this chubby little fluff ball at the bottom of the pile, just trying to get to us, but all the other puppies were climbing on him. I lifted him out of the pile, and gave him a huge cuddle, and the first thing he did was licked me square in the mouth. It was gross…but funny.
Our Dad bought Shadow for us as a joint present for Christmas, about 9 months after our parents decided to separate, it was a tough period for the four of us kids, and Shadow, he was the light of our lives.
When he was little he used to sleep on my bed (he wasn’t supposed to, he was meant to be on the floor, but how can you say no to a fluff ball? Huh? Huh?). He would sleep dead in the middle and push me out to the edges of the bed, at the time it was annoying, now it’s a great memory.
He was such a character. I would lay on the timber veranda when I was a kid, and just look at his face, and talk to him about how I was feeling, and how I was so sick of my parents behaving younger than me (I was 14). I know it sounds silly, but it felt like when I was fourteen, angry, wearing army pants and big black boots, that he was the only one who understood me (Shadow and the Smashing Pumpkins of course).
He sat by my feet when I was 22, and writing my honours thesis for hours and hours on end. He kept my feet warmer than any pair of ugg boots. He made me giggle. Even when I moved out of home, it felt like he was always there for me, and whenever I went over to Dad’s, there he was sitting on the park bench on the veranda, waiting for me. (If you can’t guess, I am bawling my eyes out right now, if you aren’t you are an icicle!)
So, Tuesday, it was the end of an era. Now it feels like there is a void, and I know it will be the same for each of my brothers, and for my Dad, who has cared for him so lovingly over these past few months, when Shadow has been operated on to remove his cancer, and lived through the pain of it growing back, and gradually taking over his body.
Putting Shadow down, was one of the hardest decisions that we had to make, harder than writing an honours thesis, harder than travelling overseas alone, harder than having your heart broken by a boy. I know that we did the best thing for him, and I know that wherever he is he will be missing us just as much.
Shadow…we love you.