I went to the opera last night and got home close to midnight. I took Zeke for a late walk in the park - he fell at one point, something that was alarming and terribly heart-breaking when it first started happening months ago, but unfortunately has become a semi-regular thing since then. He ate a few cookies, a couple who was walking their dog saw that he wasn't feeling well and stopped to pet him for a few minutes, then we came upstairs.
He couldn't get comfortable once we got in; he was panting, drooling, and he wouldn't stay in one place - I was wetting his nose with water and he was halfheartedly drinking it from my cupped hand. I held him, but he wouldn't lie down. He licked my ear and the side of my head a few times, and his tongue felt warm. I gave him extra pain medication, and sometime close to three o'clock I went to sleep. A couple of minutes after I closed my eyes, I heard him leave the room and walk down the hall.
I woke up this morning and he wasn't in the room. I looked all around the apartment and it took me a while to find him. He had situated himself behind the drapes in the living room, lying in the corner, behind the drapes and against the radiator, and he was dead. My beautiful friend is gone.
I knew last night that I was going to have to call the vet this morning and go in with him today to ask her to do the unthinkable. I brought him into her office a few days ago and she told me we needed to start thinking about making the decision to euthanize him. It was something I couldn't imagine having to decide, but also a reality I knew had to be dealt with, and soon. I got pain medication for him, and that was three days ago. In a final act of love, Zeke has saved me the heartbreak and misery of having to make the decision to end his life. I'm sorry I went to sleep at all last night. I wish I had held him all night long, told him how much I love him and let him know that he's not alone. He's not alone. He's now with everyone who has ever gone before: Nanny, Cleveland, Frankie, Johnny-Marie, Greg, Tom, Alexandra, Jesus - he will continue to be loved, and he can sleep in the hollow of God's hand. I know that these tears will eventually stop, but there's a hole inside of me that will never go away; a void so absolute, nothing could have prepared me for it. What this sweet and simple animal taught me about love is immeasurable. I'm so blessed to have had him in my life and to have been able to care for him. I wouldn't be who I am without him - he will live in my heart forever. And as sad and disturbing as his passing is, it is strangely comforting to know that wherever he is, he'll be keeping a spot warm for me for when I get there.