The Drive Home
by Jackie Burrell aka
Someone said after Bailey
was diagnosed with GME, that I was in for a
long ride. In my mind, I've pictured this journey we've been on
together as driving in a convertible down a tree lined country road.
It's fall and the air is crisp, but the sun is warm on our faces. We
aren't going fast, just cruising along with no cares. Bailey's on
the seat beside me and he sniffs the fresh air while his snow-white
ears flap in the breeze. I can tell he's happy and at peace and
feeling very special because he gets to go all alone with Mom.
Beyond the trees are fields of yellow and white daisies just barely
moving in the wind. Puppies and kittens and cats and dogs are
running and playing in the fields. He watches them as we pass by,
but he's been content to be with me on this journey so far.
Sometimes we come to a detour and the road turns to barren, dry land
and the sun goes behind the clouds. It's a frightening time and he
huddles closer to me, wanting me to make it better. When that detour
is over, we're back on the highway cruising along again. Sometimes
he looks over at me and I see gratitude in his eyes, mixed with a
calm, quiet love. The understanding between us doesn't need to be
spoken. I reach over and scratch his head and he smiles the smile
only I see. I will never be able to convince him that he's given me
so much more to me during our time together than I could ever give to
I often wonder while watching him, if he wants to be out there
playing with buddies he may already know and new ones he could meet,
but I figure he'll let me know when it's time to pull the car over
and open the door for him. I don't want that day to come, but I
realize it may. The thought fills me with utter sadness to the point
that my heart actually hurts, but I know I must do what is best for
him and do what he wants when that time comes..
Today when he looked over at me, I didn't want to, but asked, "Is
this where you want me to stop, Bailey?" For the first time, his
little brown eyes looked uncertain, so I pulled the car over to the
side of the road while my heart slowly began to break. We both sat
there staring straight ahead knowing what this means. Tears are
falling down my face and I see them in his eyes even though his don't
fall. I selfishly don't want to open that door because it means he
leaves my life. This is a pain I don't want to feel.
He comes to sit in my lap and licks a tear off my chin as it falls.
I place my hands on his little body, trying to memorize forever his
warmth, the feel of his fur, his essence. I tell him he's been a
good boy all of his life, he's been a wonderful little guy, and I've
considered it an honor to be his master. I know he hears me when his
head tips and he looks into my eyes. I bury my face in his neck and
cry and kiss him. I ache to keep him with me forever.
Reluctantly, I lean over and open the door. He walks to the edge of
the seat, but doesn't jump down. I know he's watching the others
play and perhaps feels a longing to be with them. I know he's torn
between my love in this life and the peace in the next. I look over
at the friends he could make and wonder if that's Hugo or Dino or
Noelle's little Natia running around out there. Is there a GME task
force waiting to lead him to the other side? It occurs to me then
that we've never been traveling down some nameless country road, but
perhaps our journey has always been on the Highway to Heaven.
So, here we sit at this moment in time at this dark detour in the
road. I'm holding my breath, so hoping my sweet little boy's weary
body has the strength to keep fighting. Sometimes I wish I could
take it from him and put it upon me. I could handle it.
When he makes the decision to stop fighting, I must accept that.
When the moment comes, I know he will look at me for my permission
and I must say, "I love you, Bailey. Go into the light now, my
precious Sweet boy, go into the light and go home."
And though I know when he jumps down and runs into the field and he
will stand strong, healthy, and his coat will shine like silk in the
sunlight, my heart will completely break to let him go.
I'm praying that day doesn't come.
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