General Non-Fiction posted November 8, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
The death of friend is hard to bear.


by Jessica M Lee

True Story Contest Contest Winner 

She was my best friend and most loyal companion. It's the day after Christmas, just an ordinary day. As the afternoon sun shines its brilliance she begs me to take her outside. Her playful bounce says "throw the ball for me," then, "let's go for a gator ride," as her eyes dance with satisfaction. Whatever we did she enjoyed because I was there to enjoy it with her.

Everything was fine until evening fell that night. She began to pace anxiously, obviously uncomfortable. I took her outside thinking maybe she had to go, but began to notice her midsection starting to bloat. No, not again! This can't happen to Sage! I can't loose another pup to this same thing! With panic in our voices, my husband and I called the vet's office to tell them what was going on. Within the next few minutes we were rushing out the door and on our way. With adrenaline pumping, trees blurred as we drove. Hearing her in pain was unbearable.

Once we got to the vet's office, we got her out and I saw how big she had gotten - almost three times her norm! Oh, how much pain she must have been in. How quickly this wonderful day turned into a horror scene. My husband volunteered to help the vet do surgery since she needed an extra hand and no one else was there to help. Seeing her lie there sedated under that florescent light and watching the vet remove her stomach in order to flip it back over was a nightmare and I prayed a mile a minute. How could this have happened? She was doing fine just hours ago. What changed? Is it something I did? Was there something I could have done to prevent this from happening? When the surgery was over, they sewed my precious friend back up; and afterward she was placed in a crate to be kept overnight. I hated to leave her alone in that cold and sterile room. I wanted to take her with me so that I could remind her how much I loved her. As hard as it was, I had to pull myself from that room and go home to my two-year-old who needed her mommy.

That night, I tossed and turned. I don't think I got a wink of sleep. At about 5:00, I said forget it and got out of bed. I agonizingly waited for that phone call from the vet telling us to come get her. To take my mind off of it, I tried reading, but it was too hard to focus. At about 7:00, my husband came to me with tears in his eyes saying that the vet had called and told him that Sage didn't make it through the night. She said that Sage survived the operation, but her delicate body couldn't handle the anesthesia and that she had probably passed away that morning around 3:00. It was heart-wrenching to know that she breathed her last breath when I was not there. She died alone, and that about killed me. How could I have left her? She had always been there for me. And when she needed me most, I wasn't there.

Tears streamed down my cheeks like a steady brook as we drove in silence to collect her body. Seeing my sweet and precious friend motionless in a bag seemed so unreal. Those lifeless eyes staring right through me. Desperate for one last touch, I wrapped my arms around her neck for an embrace and ran my fingers through her cold fur, where no life remained. I tried to understand why she had to go. Why she had to leave me. The drive home was as quiet as corpse in a grave.

When we got home, my brother had already dug her a grave by one of her favorite spots.
Before lowering her into the ground, I wanted to embrace her one last time - to trace my nose from her forehead to the tip of her nose just like I did the day before. Wrapping my arms around her neck I sobbed into her shoulder, letting out my heart's cry which reverberated throughout my entire body as I mourned for the loss of my friend.

After we said our goodbyes, I watched her body get lowered into the ground. Memories flooded my mind as I stood and watched the dirt cover her. Staring at her grave, I felt so cold and empty. And I remained that way for a few days afterward as I was constantly reminded of her wherever I went. Her footprints were still in the road, her toys were still scattered around the house, her unvacuumed fur still clung to crevaces throughout the house. My daughter asked where Sage was every day. How was I to explain to my 2 year old that Sage wasn't coming back? The life that once filled these walls, now an empty place it has become. With her now gone, a part of me wanted everything to stay as it was, but open wounds will never heal if you continue to remind yourself of them. And so in time, I allowed people to comfort me and I allowed myself to grieve. My heart, still broken, slowly continues to heal as time goes on. Now all that remains are memories of her. Many memories are happy and some, not so much, because a piece of me still lies in that grave where the grass grows tall and withered flowers sigh.

True Story Contest
Contest Winner

For five special years, I was blessed to have such a wonderful companion. My best friend she became, forever in my heart, she'll remain.

R.I.P. Sage (Dec. 25, 2014 - Dec. 26, 2019)
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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