Our dog Peaches fell ill over a month ago. She's lost weight, suffered from frequent vomiting and persistent intestinal upset. Several visits to our vet and to the emergency clinic have failed to resolve the problem, and the vet now tells us she either has a long term condition we can manage, or else a cancer that will kill her in at most two years.
When I think of her joyfully leaping off the deck into the yard, or leaping back up into the kitchen, or singing as we filled her dog dish and burying her dear face in it the moment we put it down, I feel as though my face and chest have turned to lead-- lead with a great ache behind it. The thought of losing our dog, and losing her so young hurts. The thought of her losing her life, a life she enjoys, hurts more.
I don't have much of any control over all this, but I can at least choose this: to learn from the joyful wholeheartedness of Peaches's life. If I put some of that into my work, then let her live a long and full life, or let her barely get beyond a puppy, that happy spirit will not have disappeared from the world.
And so I choose to face what the next weeks or months or (I hope) years bring us in that spirit. Not that I would have chosen this; I'd rather have my dog with me, joyful and healthy, forever. But time doesn't grant us many victories, and those we can eke out come from joy and learning. I'll do the best I can and take the best I can get.