I laughed more than I cried today.

I call that a good day.

For those who are still unaware, we had to say goodbye to Copper last Friday. Even after everything we had been through with him, even knowing for weeks that our time together was limited, I was still surprised by how quickly it all happened at the end. At the beginning of last week I had said to Eric that I thought we might not leave the vet’s office with him after his Friday morning appointment and then my boy, a fighter to the very end, rallied and I allowed myself to hope for a little bit more…I am a greedy girl.

Unfortunately,  his rally was more based on his fighting spirit than actual improvement. Monkey was home sick and had accompanied us to the appointment. He was very upset and did not want to take Copper inside when we arrived. After I promised him that we would take Copper home with us, he settled down. Then Copper collapsed in the vet’s office during the exam. Eric took Monkey to the car to wait while the vet and I discussed how to proceed. She did not think it was time to euthanize him, she thought with an adjustment to his medication we would be OK.

She ran some simple blood tests while I waited just to be sure there wasn’t anything more going on. When she brought back the results, the printout was covered in red ink. His kidneys had failed. I was given 2 options, 24-48 hours on an IV in their emergency hospital or euthanasia. I had promised Caleb that Copper would be going home with us. I also just knew…his time was short even with the IV treatment. I didn’t want his last days to be spent with strangers in a hospital. So she gave him fluids under the skin and I told her I would call our regular vet for an appointment the next day.

When we got home around 11, I convinced Copper to eat a bit and we cuddled on the couch. By 2 he was too weak to move around and I moved our appointment to that afternoon at 4. It was utter torture to sit there with him, knowing the minutes were ticking away bringing us closer to our goodbye…mostly because they weren’t going fast enough. I know that sounds horrible but my love for him, this dog who was the only lifeline I could see when my depression had been at its worst, was such that I couldn’t bear his pain. I would take my heartache and grief gladly if only to spare him those painful hours.

Many years ago I promised Copper that I would never leave him. As hard as it was, I kept that promise until his last breath. I’m glad I was there, I know he was completely comfortable at the end. I heard his last breath and felt the last strong beats of his heart, he did not suffer. The suffering is left for us to bear. The only moment I feared I could not cope with was the moment when I had to finally break the promise and leave him there while I went home. It took a long time for me to do it but I did finally do it. I am counting the days until he comes home again for good. I won’t leave him again.

I know there is a good percentage of people who think I’m nuts, some might even be related to me…but he saved my life. When I had to make a promise to my doctor, all those years ago, when she wanted to admit me to the hospital to treat my depression, I promised I would not hurt myself because I couldn’t leave Copper. That promise that I had made to him when I adopted him was the promise I leaned on when I didn’t have anything else.

So today, when my son was spraying me with vomit, I laughed because, really what else can you do at a moment like that? And I suddenly realized that I had laughed a lot today. Even though there is1 a Copper-shaped hole in my heart he did more for me than I could ever hope to do for anyone else. He had been my reason to keep going and, because I did, I found a whole new world of reasons to keep going. I have Eric and Caleb and Holly and these awesome2 Mamas I go out to eat with every month and the Cupcake ladies and CANADA and the Pinterest peeps and you…each one of you reading this and supporting us and loving us…it’s all a gift from him.

So if my love for him seems over the top it’s because his gift to me was so…wondrous.

  1. and always will be []
  2. fucking []

19 thoughts on “I laughed more than I cried today.

  • January 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm
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    Melissa-again, your words are perfect! I’m so happy Copper saved you and to consider you my friend. Maybe a Copper tattoo??

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  • January 25, 2012 at 11:53 pm
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    I don’t think there is a person alive who reads your blog or follows you on facebook who wasn’t touched by Copper. When you think of all of us who can relate to how much you loved him, all of us who cried when you said Goodbye and all of us who are so very thankful that this amazing little guy saved you so we could have you… in a way, he saved a lot of us by saving you and being Copper. And I will always hold a special place in my heart and love him for that.

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  • January 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm
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    Then I have FAILED! What about holey Saint Holly??? That was prime material!

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  • January 26, 2012 at 12:11 am
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    And the tears just keep on coming. So many things I find you and I have in common wish I had taken the time in HS to get to know you better at least Facebook has reconnected us and I have the time now.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 12:57 am
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    Oh, I was a hot mess in HS…I’m WAY cooler now so I think you got it right, Nicole!

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  • January 26, 2012 at 7:20 am
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    Melissa Copper was a dear friend, to you and your family….not to mention a certain dog who we both love 🙂 I will miss seeing pictures of him and hearing about him. I do know though that I asked an animal loving man to greet him at the bridge. He’s hanging out in good company.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 7:22 am
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    to think this was going on behind that smile and we didn’t have a clue. It scared the heck out of us.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 7:35 am
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    Beautifully written… You are an amazing woman. Copper not only saved you but gave you so much to live for. Glad you are laughing while we are all crying at your post 🙂

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  • January 26, 2012 at 8:14 am
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    I know that was a hard decision for you to make. Now you can think about the good times and Laugh even more. Each one of our pets hold a special place in our lives 🙂 So glad Copper was there for you when you needed him or else E and C would not have been. Love you and your special words and for being part of our family.

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  • January 26, 2012 at 9:13 am
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    I know it did Dad (Wesley Jackson) and I still feel badly about that…I tried so hard to keep anyone from worrying, I guess I’m a better liar in some areas than I thought.

    Reply

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