It was dark, save for the glow of lavender candles, and it was quiet, save for the strains of classical music in the background.
Saturday was a good day. Thanks to some sub-q fluids, Orion had rallied. The day before as the vet tech had instructed me, he suddenly raised his head as if calculating the trajectory from the exam table to the floor. He'd been alert, and he'd been engaged. The Spouse brought a garden cart, one of those wagons made to haul tools and what not. We put a bed in the back, and put Orion on the bed. The Spouse took him on a ride around the property line and up and down the road to the amusement and aggravation of motorists.
Then came the crash. His gums and ears turned an odd putty-like color. We called the vet's emergency number. Two choices: go to the emergency vet hospital a good twenty to thirty minutes away and subject him to St. Francis knows what, or ride it out with him on his terms.
We chose the latter. Let him lie in the grass until we all grew chilled, then made a pallet in the kitchen for him. We told stories of his volunteer days, of the grace that had lead us to one another, and the gratitude for the time that we'd had. We laughed. Rubbed his ears, told him he was a good boy.
I sat with him. Let people know what was going on, asked for support. Felt it come in. Told him that I understood if he needed to go, although it saddened me to no end. Told him I'd be ok--his aunties and The Spouse would support me.
Sometime in the darkest hours, he quietly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
When the sun came up, he looked as if he merely napped. The Spouse came downstairs. We patted him, blessed him. I did a sage smudge.
At a quasi-decent hour, The Spouse gently placed him in the car. We took his body to the emergency clinic and made arrangements to have him cremated. The horrible final moment when the vet techs arrived at the service entrance with the cart. They offered condolences, gently lifted his body from the back seat, and gave us a moment for a last pat. We wished him Godspeed and God bless, and said goodbye, collapsing into each others' arms. Then we did the paperwork, accepted condolences from the front desk staff, and got on with the clear blue day.
Profound sadness and many tears? Yes. Tempered, however, by a profound sense of gratitude for the time that we'd had together I hope I was as much a blessing to The Boy as he was to me.