It’s been just over 4 months since the dreadful day that we had to let our our beloved Buster go, and those words still replay over and over and over in my head.
I refuse to say “put to sleep” because that implies that he’s going to wake up, and we’ll have him back, but we won’t. The truth is, we asked the doctor to kill him. We didn’t fluff a blanket for him or pat an orthopedic dog bed and invite him to sleep on it. We didn’t tell them to “kennel up” or “go to bed.” We had to ask the veterinarian to end his life for his own good. Because he was suffering and too loyal and stubborn to go on his own. And, while I know in my heart that it was the right thing to do (gotta love a pit/lab hybrid! Lab- loyal, and pit bull- strong and stubborn), it still hurts a lot to have to make that call. So, I refuse to use the term “put to sleep” or “put down.” And, those are not phrases that I want my kids hearing because it sounds scary- go to sleep and never wake up. Why would they want to go to bed?
After we got home that evening and put the kids to bed, my husband said, “We don’t have a picture of all of us.” And, I realized we didn’t. We had “plenty” of pictures (are there ever enough pictures when you lose someone you love?) of Buster by himself, with the other dogs, with the kids. We had a picture from Christmas of the kids and all 4 dogs. We had pictures of us with “all” the dogs, but that was before Maggie (our newest dog, of 2 years), and before Buddy Boy. So, unfortunately, he was right. We didn’t have all 4 of us humans with all 4 dogs. Somehow, that combination had escaped us, partially because the thought of gathering up 4 dogs, two small children, and coordinating clothes for a photo session while hoping that we could get everyone looking at the camera at the same time just seemed like too much, and partially because time flies by and life happens.
I asked him why he didn’t say anything sooner. His response? “I thought I had more time.”
We always think we have more time. “Oh, I’ll get to that tomorrow.” “We’ll do that later.” But, sometimes later doesn’t come. We have a gazillion things on our plates. We’re juggling more things than ever- kids, work, bills, husbands, laundry, cleaning, keeping everyone fed, shuttling kids from activity to activity, and so on. So, it’s easy to put stuff off. But, tomorrow doesn’t always come. We don’t always have “more time.”
So, take the picture. Take lots of them. And, while you’re at it, take pictures of yourself with your kids. Who cares how your hair looks, if you look like you haven’t slept in days (you might not have!), or if your clothes are stained. Your kids don’t know the difference or care now, and they certainly won’t care when they’re older and you’re no longer here for them.
Plus, it’s not like you post and share every single picture you take, right? So, who’s going to see them? Does it really matter if you don’t look your best? No, it doesn’t. You’re you. You’re real. You’re you. That’s enough. It’s real life. Take the photo. And, if you need to take a “selfie” to have pictures of yourself, then make it a selfie. While I hate the term, a selfie is better than no picture at all. Trust me, it is. You’re worth having pictures of- bad hair days, spit-up, under eye circles and all. Just take the picture. Please. Your future will thank you. I promise.
For more on how we helped Sweet Pea deal with the loss of one of her dogs, check out this post.