Jackson: Little Prince Charming
In May 2012, I received the best gift I could ever receive, my baby boy for whom I prayed. I called him Jackson. He was the bestest friend, the most patient teacher, the most loyal companion, the most beautiful child, inside and out, the joy of my world and the colour in it. I cooked all his meals fresh, nutritionally balanced, if there was one thing I thought was certain, it was that he would live a long life.
Last month, at 3.5 years, he became sick and rapidly deteriorated. He could not keep food down and refused to eat. He was weak and hot. He had masses of drool coming from his mouth. All this developed in the space of two days.
He was hospitalized and put on fluids and syringe fed, but he did not respond to any medication. His first day in hospital I visited him, he licked and licked my hand, as he lay on his baby tummy. I think it was his way of saying, 'I have not the strength to move but I am SO glad to see you.' I kissed and kissed his lovely head and nose, stroked his beautiful long back and paws, and told him I love him so many times. The next day, I came back, he could no longer lick or sit up, or gaze at me, but I was lucky to hold him for hours.
I could tear the skin off my face at my powerlessness in the situation that I never thought would happen. There were so many things we planned that would be forever left undone. I prayed endlessly and held on to the hope that there had to be a way for him to survive. I could not picture a world without him in it. There had to be a way. I would have done anything to save him, and would do anything to bring him back to our lives, at home.
Tests revealed multiple organs were failing. It looked as though he had tonsular cancer (as his tonisils were very enlarged and abnormal) which spreads rapidly to the surrounding organs. His heart and liver were failing, not to mention his stomach and what seemed like his brain. He could not walk or close his eyes when sleeping. He spent the whole last day drifting in and out of sleep in my arms as I discussed with the internal medicine vet our options.
She offered operating to biopsy every organ but it was clear he would not make it past the anesthetic. Being so weak, how could I expect him to heal from a mutilated body? Remembering the pain of his castration, I knew how much a more elaborate operation would hurt him and demand of him. And what of the treatments? Could I put him through chemotherapy just to prolong his days and his suffering? I could not put him through any of those options. She said his prognosis was very poor, additionally because his heart was attacked. I knew he deserved the best.
Without thinking of myself, I know his last wish would have been to be in my arms and not in a crate somewhere among strangers. I held him in my arms, kissing his neck and telling him I love him repeatedly, like I always did. My daddy held his head and Jackson fell asleep peacefully by injection. Just like that, in that fateful and heavy moment, I felt his spirit leave that beautiful, once chronically alive, body I loved on constantly. My whole world ended there. He brought every single light into my life.
I sat there crying my eyes out, the doctor left the room, and Jackson's spirit came to me and said, "Don't you ever feel unloved mama, I loved you more that love itself. I will always run beside you." Is there anything more deep than a Schnauzer's love for his family? He was my first dog, and so, I made mistakes in the beginning for which I feel such overwhelming guilt now because he deserved the best, but he never held a grudge. He loved me when I did not deserve such wonderful love at all.
It's been a month and a week since my world changed. I miss Jackson terribly. My arms hurt. If I could just see him again and kiss him again...those things that came freely before I would give anything to have now, even just for a single minute. He made me the luckiest girl in the universe and beyond. That's just how amazing he was to me. He was the best of everything. Being Jackson's mommy was the greatest and best opportunity of my life.
Where is Jackson now and why did he have to go too early? These are the last questions. Medicine deals with the physical but not the spiritual. The vet said dogs go to heaven for sure because they are better than people. I have conviction that his spirit is with me. Life is a mystery. All I can know, I am so sorry for each mistake, which I so wish I could correct, and I love you more than air. If there is one thing I could have, it is to be with Jackson again, one day, that is all I want, nothing else. I hang on to that hope; and I hope it is true.
My Jackson, I love you endlessly, my dearest, dearest, sweetest friend, brother and son, and now my angel. As I live on in this physical body, I'll make sure to keep you alive by living up to all the things you taught me: To have courage, to be patient, to forgive quickly and, most of ALL, to love, to keep your light on. It is so hard, I do not know how you did it, but that is what made you Super-Jack. I hope the angels are treating you well. You showed me heaven is real.
Mama loves you, no end, no end, no end.