Since February 3, 2012, 366 days, or 8,784 hours, or 527,040 minutes, or 3,1622,400 seconds have passed. That’s easily measured. However, in that same time period, I can’t count the number of times that I’ve thought about Miss ABBA. It was one year ago today, after her courageous fight with cancer, that our beautiful golden walked over the “Rainbow Bridge” away from us and I lost my best friend of almost 12 years.
For those of you that followed Miss ABBA and our life in person, on Facebook, or in my blog, you know she led a spoiled, beautiful life.
If you’re unfamiliar, here’s some of what I wrote January 28, 2012: In late March of 2011, I discovered a tumor on Miss ABBA that was unlike the “fatty tissue” tumors that are common in older, larger breed dogs. Her veterinarian examined her and made arrangements to put her under to do x-rays. He called and told me the x-ray confirmed his suspicions that the cancer had already started metastasizing. He could remove it, but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, it would be a painful process that would require more surgeries to remove the lymph nodes, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation.
“Those surgeries and the recovery would take place over several painful months and it might buy Miss ABBA another year. Without surgery, chemo, and radiation, she would live about two to three months. I made the painful decision to let it be and make sure she had the most enjoyable two to three months on top of the wonderful almost 11 years we had already shared together.”
Spring turned into summer and Miss ABBA celebrated her 11th birthday. Summer turned into fall and fall into winter and Miss ABBA was still around for our wedding, our reception, and her first snow of the winter of 2011-2012.
On the morning of January 28, 2012, Miss ABBA and I went on a walk and she enjoyed the 0.9″ of snow that had fallen overnight by making snow angels.
The next day, I noticed that her back leg had swollen several times its normal size and I called the doctor Monday. After a visit, he confirmed that the lymph nodes were being attacked and that she probably would lose the fight this time.
Four days later (and ten months after being given two to three months to live without ever getting outwardly sick), Miss ABBA became disoriented on a walk. As the day progressed, she became lethargic and slept the rest of the day and I knew the end was near. While Ray was at work and Gretel was at school, I laid on the bed with her caressing my beautiful golden. Lying there, I had to hold back the tears because I didn’t want her to be concerned with me and I knew that she would have looked up to see what was wrong.
I grabbed a notebook and just let these words spill onto the page without thinking about what I was writing:
Here’s the translation if you can’t read my tear-stained letter or my handwriting!
ABBA: My Best Friend
The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes
You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side
I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper
Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep
As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,
You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears
I don’t want you to hear me cry,
I want you to let go and not fight for me
You’ve been there for me all your life
And I want to be there for you now, my love.
After napping on the bed, she spent part of the afternoon on the sun porch allowing the golden rays of sunshine to warm her sleeping body. That evening, I bought her one of her favorites, a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and she ate it like there was no tomorrow. And, for her, there was only a few hours of tomorrow left!
After dinner, she went on a walk and was energetic and even carried my glove home. I began to think that I was wrong for thinking the end was near. However, her restlessness that night and not being able to walk the next morning confirmed that we had to make the decision not to let our baby girl suffer.
I told Gretel before she went to school to talk to Miss ABBA because she might not be there when she came home in the afternoon. Once Gretel was at school, it was time for that fateful R-I-D-E. I always had to spell the word “ride” because ABBA would get so excited to go anywhere in the car. That morning, she had to be carried.
And, I held onto my baby when she went to sleep in my arms and she walked over the “Rainbow Bridge”. Miss ABBA lived every day to the fullest and she would never have to worry about anything else on Earth.
One year later, I think of her many times every day. Except for tearing up while writing this, I smile when I think of her now. I miss her, but I’ve made peace with her absence. Her urn still rests on my night stand by the bed. I’m still not ready to put her in the curio cabinet with the urn of my chow chow, Keshia, that died in 1998.
Miss ABBA, you’re in our hearts and in our memories forever. And, we even had a double cheeseburger last night for a snack and I’ll have one every February 2nd in your memory. 🙂
Here is a video tribute I made for Miss ABBA.
Anthony, Ray, & Gretel
May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012