Thursday morning is the only morning I don’t work. It started just like any other day.
I woke up, put Gelsemina and Ruby on the bed. We snuggled and I chanted my gratitude list, like I do every morning and I started with how grateful I am for Gelsemina for being with me for so long and for being cool with Charlie and with all the weasels I brought back from Peru. That morning I spent a particularly long time detailing Gelsemina’s, virtuous qualities, her resilience and her grace of giving me 3 more years after her stroke that took her sight. She didn’t care that she was blind or that she was seventeen, she championed life. We laid there for a while, the three of us, women, two canines and a human. Then I took Ruby out and left Gelsi on the bed. I came back minutes later and my angel made her way off of the bed. Blind or not, she leaped off the bed. I took her out for her brief outing. Then upon our return to my apartment, I placed her by her food bowl prepping her for breakfast. Just for a moment I ran to the bathroom. I came back and found her fallen over on her side, her tail dancing a strange pattern. She had a stroke. I picked her up and tried to make her stand. She collapsed like a house of cards. Her motor skills were a thing if the past. And I knew…I caressed and held her in my arms and sat on the floor. I could feel her sighing out her soul. Seven strong sighs…I knew she was going. I took her outside, so she could feel the sun on her silver coat and the earth beneath her limp body. Time didn’t matter. Cars whizzing by didn’t matter. I was the strange woman clutching a drifting dog on a random patch of grass in the middle of West Hollywood. I held her in my arms again, I could feel her releasing her bowels on my legs as I held her- she was going…then I carried her back upstairs and laid with her for a couple of hours. She wasn’t in pain, her body kept trying to hold on. Her faint heartbeat and a few more of her sighing her soul out made us remember the good times when I picked her up from the South LA shelter after she was brought in as a stray. We remembered the harder times when upon returning home my now ex-husband told me it’s him or the dog- and I chose the dog- and packed my bags. We remembered the times of her hiding under the coffee table showing teeth, and the three months it took me to tame her. We remembered, our time at Washington Square Park and her harassing the nearby chess players, We remembered the crisp Chicago snow and her disappearing in it. We remembered…Upstairs I laid her on her bed with Ruby holding vigil. She kept cleaning Gelsemina’s feet as if readying her for the road to Heaven across the Rainbow Bridge. Her little heart still beating, she told me she was worried about me. “ I am ok” I said, “don’t worry for me” - she could have laid there for hours or days, not eating or drinking and eventually fading away. But that wasn’t what I chose. I called Dr. Kumar. Her arrived a few hours later.
At 12:45 pm Gelsemina crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I was with her every breath of the way. The gracious girl that she was, she picked the only day I don’t work in the morning and if the slow burning pain is the price I have to pay for 12 years of incredible friendship, loyalty and unconditional love, I would do it all over again. Creator made me so strong for this moment. Charlie went to heaven July 7, Annie went to heaven on August 7, Gelsemina Dec. 13. Three of the greatest beings I have had the good fortune of knowing and loving- gone in six months. Creator doesn’t give us more than we can handle…and I got just enough. I know all three of them are looking down now marveling and the miracle and the savior that Ruby has become.