Working with technology is mostly predictable. There are clearly defined lines when it comes to what and how something will behave. Sure, there are various ways to solution a problem. But while the individual methodology chosen can vary, there are still rules that apply (syntax, functions, structure, logic). Understanding these “rules” can make all the difference when it comes to problem solving.
Life, however, is not so easy to troubleshoot. Yesterday was a tough day for my family. We said goodbye to our dog Eli. He had begun showing signs of renal failure a few weeks before. Eli was disinterested in both food and water. The doctors were able to control his dehydration through IV fluids and the vet and vet techs assist-fed him. Unfortunately, even on three of the strongest anti-nausea medications Eli was unable to keep anything down. He spent the weekend in the ER but with no improvement. On Monday, his vet and I made the decision to end his suffering.
Eli was the sweetest dog. He was loved by our family and many friends. Even children who were frightened of dogs, quickly bonded with Eli. He was gentle, loving, and happiest when cuddled up in a warm, welcoming lap. Eli was my couch buddy as well as my work buddy. Whether it was decompressing from the day or stressful nights working in front of the computer, Eli could be found by my side. He welcomed the many additions to my life, first my husband when I got married and then my sons. Admittedly, my sons diverted my attention from him, but what he lacked from me, he gained from the boys. They loved him so much and would often fight over who got to take him outside or love on him. He was the perfect dog for our family, both loving and patient.
Eli spent a couple of hours at home on Monday morning between the ER and his regular doctor. I am so grateful for that time, both boys got to love on him before school. He rested comfortably in our laps. The boys knew he would be returning to the doctor, but did not fully comprehend that their goodbye that morning could be the last. I was still holding out some hope as I drove him to the vet. As I waited for his final lab results, he grew increasingly uncomfortable in my lap as his pain medication was wearing off. We discussed possible options, but none seemed fair to Eli. He deserved to be at peace.
Breaking the news to my sons was beyond difficult. My three year old did not understand. He processed the loss in his own way, he kept saying, “Eli is dead, he’s gone forever, we will never see him again.” all the while asking for confirmation and questioning, “Why?” He knows the family is sad, and that he should feel sad too, but he is too young to grasp the concept of death. My seven year old on the other hand is heartbroken. He had bouts of sadness throughout the night and cried himself to sleep. He even started to wonder about his own mortality. These are the life moments that are so very gray, there is no right thing to say to console someone. There are no formulas, scripts, rules to follow, the only thing I could do was be in the moment with him, be sad with him, and so we just cried together.
My son told me how much he missed him, how he wished that he could hold Eli in his lap. I told him “The people and animals that move on, are at peace. There is no more suffering for them. It’s the people who are left behind that feel the sadness and hurt. So don’t feel bad for Eli. Eli was very loved. Eli was very lucky to be loved by him and he knew and felt it.” And then my son, through heart wrenching sobs said this, “My…heart…is…broken…I…feel…so…sad…I…feel…like…I…am…the…luckiest…boy…to…have…Eli…as…my…dog.” I could not have expressed this sentiment better. I was lucky to be Eli’s person, to have his unconditional love and companionship. Rest in peace Eli. We love you!