WEDNESDAY: Saying Good Bye to Humbug

BY LESLEY BARTON

Copyright is held by the author.

HER VISION is limited, her hearing almost gone, but she doesn’t appear to be in pain. Her life has been long; nevertheless, it is coming to an end. Stretched out on her favourite rug my little dog, Humbug, calmly lies at peace. The afternoon light filters through the lacy curtains sprinkling her small golden-furred body in a shower of angel dust.

I must peer closely to witness the rise and fall of her chest. Her breathing is shallow. It takes perhaps a second or two for her to take a breath, and I wait a moment to observe her exhale. And then nothing. My heart pauses. Was that the last one?

The wait is intolerable. I kneel down beside her. Her eyes are shut, her nose a little dry and warm. Tears threaten to well up in my eyes. Visions of her past escapades jump through my mind. I see her stubby little legs propelling her elongated body along a winter path and watch her wiggle on ahead of me. Abruptly she stops; her nose instantly bores into a snow bank. Her cheeky doggy face emerges triumphantly sporting an unidentifiable tidbit that immediately disappears down her gullet.

Convinced I need to say good-bye I lay my hand on her. But the action causes her to stir — imperceptibly. She takes a breath. I let mine out. Her eyes open. And her tail thumps a welcoming tattoo on the rug. My tears fall anyway.

3 comments

  1. Michael Joll

    Loved the story, short and poignant as it is. Been there ten times with two senior citizens still to go. There is no sweetness in this kind of sorrow.

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