Farewell, Sweet Lupe
The dimly lit room was a nice touch. That’s what I was saying to myself. It was meant to calm the bereaved. I kept thinking it was a nice touch without connecting that it was meant for me. This is nice, I kept thinking.
Dr. Trina our vet, Lupe’s oncologist, was dressed in sweat shorts and a black tank top because she was supposed to be at the gym – I was supposed to be training her at that exact hour. But when I called her weepily telling her I didn’t want Lupe to suffer any more she said, “Meet me at the hospital. It would be an honor to come in and …” I don’t know what she said. Transition Lupe? Maybe she didn’t say exactly. All I remembered was the word “honor” because it choked me up more.
A stethoscope hung around Trina’s neck now in the dimly lit room, over her gym clothes, and she smelled of lilac. Would she have smelled like that working out? I thought, Lilac is a nice touch. So was the lighting. Lupe tensed against my arms, unable to move much.
Three months ago, during a training session, I had asked Trina about a growth on Lupe’s leg. She told me to bring Lupe in immediately. The grim prognosis was that she had weeks to live. An aggressive mass cell tumor had metastasized and was spreading quickly. We were devastated. Dr. Trina prescribed steroids and cannabis oil, which worked well immediately. Lupe was back to a version of herself we hadn’t seen in a year. The growth stopped growing and even shrank a bit. She was eating a lot and peeing a lot — all over the house – but she was happy, and so were we. Until a couple nights ago when our sweet, old pug took a sharp turn for the worst. The tumor had ballooned in what seemed like hours. Last night she had trouble walking, sitting, sleeping. This morning she refused to walk or eat. Her eyes twitched. Her tongue chapped to a color we had not seen before.
Lupe lay in a towel on my lap. Mina next to me. Julio next to her. Carmen, Lupe’s sister, on Julio’s lap. We all huddled on a loveseat meant for two people. That was not uncommon for us. Many times we’ve all fit — including Maya — on a queen-sized bed to watch TV. There was no question where’d we sit; that we would sit together. We said our thank yous, our I love yous not just to Lupe, but to each other. The sleep medicine went in first. Lupe’s tension left her body. She relaxed against me. She was given the second medicine and I could feel her slip out of the physical and merge with the energy around us. It was such an instant relief. I didn’t expect to feel so relieved and grateful. We all huddled in and placed our foreheads against our old baby, our first dog, and cried.
I’ve been in a bit of a fog since. Rushing around from thing to thing like I do in normal life seems of no importance right now. I drove home from the hospital, puzzled by other drivers’ constant aggrevation behind the wheel. My dog had been all love, all joy, all comfort, and all fun. And the importance of these things feel so heightened right now. I have read so many times how common it is for the dying and those around the dying to wish they had loved even more than they had, or been more compassionate, or given more, but it never seems as clear as when life is in its last throes. In these hours after my sweet dog’s death, who died in my arms and who lived the best life a pug could hope for, I am again reminded that the only things that matter are love, connection, compassion, and helping others out now and again.
Rest in treats, Lupe. I love you forever.
6 1-Leg DB DL (25% BW / 17% BW)
*Switch sides each round
10-10-10-10-(10) (By feel, LESS THAN 60%)
75% x 3
85% x 3
95% x 3+
6 RFQ (30s:30s)
Candlestick to broad jumps
6 RFQR on the 2:00
15 RKB Swings
Max Candlestick to broad jumps
–1min Cap each round–
*45 Double unders