How long has it been since you had a really good cry? You know, one of those cries where you are sobbing loudly and making those noises that you're embarrassed you can create? Well, it has been a VERY long time since I cried like that - until this afternoon, that is. I was driving to a baby shower with Noah in his carseat when we drove by our vet's office. Almost immediately, the tears began streaming down my face. I have only been to the vet's office one time since we said goodbye to Layla (click for link to story), and everything hit me like a ton of bricks - a very surprising ton of bricks.
When Layla's seizures became too severe for her health, we had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye. I can't bring myself to say "put her to sleep" or anything like that because it's just too painful. We said our goodbyes to her on May 22, 2008, just 7 short days after Noah was born. For reasons we may never know, her biweekly seizures progressed to cluster seizures overnight. We have our suspicions that she had a brain tumor, but again, we'll never know for sure.
So there I am, tears streaming down my face on the way a baby shower, trying to hide how I feel from Noah. I don't mind if he sees me cry, but I needed to put those feelings aside before I became a total wreck. Since Ryan picked Noah up about 30 minutes before I left the shower to come home, I didn't have that same excuse not to cry. The second time of passing the vet's office was torture. I saw the exact spot outside where the vet gave Layla medicine so that she could be free from the seizures...where I felt her soul leave us forever. The memories came rushing back to me - memories I hadn't fully experienced since the weeks after she died. I was remembering the last hours we played with her in the back yard. I thought about how we told Kya to say goodbye to her before we left the house, explaining that she would never see her best friend again here on Earth. Kya kissed Layla all over her face before we left, and those images again replayed in my head. I remember the drive to the vet's office, crying the entire way there but not taking my hands off our sweet dog. I thought about Ryan carrying Layla to the grassy spot that we picked to say our goodbyes, knowing she would be too scared to go inside the office. We wanted her last minutes with us to be happy, peaceful ones. I remember holding her tightly and Ryan laying his head on her when the vet gave her the medicine, and it was as if I could feel her spirit ascend. She was gone.
Those memories flooded my mind as I drove home, and I couldn't stop the tears, sobs, and all that comes with a cry that hard from pouring out of me. For those of you who have never loved an animal, this won't make sense. But for us, we loved Layla as much as we could love anything. She had the sweetest, purest soul you can imagine, and when I think of the day that heaven is in my sight, I believe with my whole heart that Layla will be the first one to meet me there with her tail wagging and her tongue licking my whole face! That image always makes me smile.
Layla's been gone for over 2 years and 9 months. She was only 2 years, 7 months old when we said our goodbyes. She has been gone for longer than we knew her, and still, Layla's gentle nature, sweet soul, and loving personality stay with me every day. I am sad that Noah will never know her, and that his little baby brother didn't even get the few days that Noah had with her. To say I miss Layla is not enough. I truly long for her and look forward to the day when we can play together in green grass under beautiful rays of sunshine.