I don’t normally post tributes to every dog that I meet who has lost their battle to cancer. Maybe I should, but I don’t want to give the impression that cancer is a hopeless situation. Sometimes it sure feels like it is, but in reality, for every pup who dies from this disesase, there are many more still fighting the good fight and living a normal, happy life despite their diagnosis. Some are even cured of their cancer for the rest of their lives and never look back. It’s just that, during the good times, we are usually so caught up trying to fully enjoy each moment, that we don’t spend as much time reflecting on that joy. Also, I think a lot of us (myself included), get superstitious about sharing too much good news during the times when cancer is in remission, out of fear that somehow we’ll jinx it and the cancer will rear is ugly head once again. Some sort of divine punishment for getting too cocky. It’s silly, but we humans are often silly about things like that.
When we say goodbye though, we have lots of time…sometimes too much time…to reflect. We remember the life that was lived and think back to all of the happy memories, perfect moments and simple joys that we shared with our companion. But, often we also replay in our minds every decision, every bad day, every time we lost our patience, and every time we wish we would have put work or worries aside to do more to show our love. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t go through this as a part of grief. It is a normal, but painful thing that we humans choose to put ourselves though, even though in reality, none of us is perfect and could never hope to be.
I don’t really know why Abby is different. Why I felt compelled to pay special tribute to her today. All of the dogs that I meet are so amazing, and all of their lives deserve to be honored. Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Christmas and I always feel extra pain for people who lose loved ones during what is supposed to be such a happy, family-oriented time of year. Or, maybe it’s because losing Abby to cancer, especially so quickly, came as such a surprise.
I had first met Abby’s mom via email almost two years ago when their other dog, Sampson, was suspected of having cancer. I felt a bond right away since my little guy’s name is Sampson too. Fortunately, he did not have the dreaded disease, only another minor illness that was causing his health issues. He got back to his normal self and life too, returned to normal for their family.
Then, a few months ago, the shadow of cancer cast its shadow again in their family, but this time for real. Their beloved little girl Abby was diagnosed with cutaneous malignant epitheliotropic lymphoma. A rare form of lymphoma, and also one with a relatively poor prognosis. She started chemo, supplements, low-carb diet. Everything by the book. But, around Thanksgiving, they received another blow. Abby was diagnosed with a second form of lymphoma, this time the more common version of the disease. Despite treatment, they just couldn’t hold the cancer back though, and so it is that today, sweet Abby is at the Rainbow Bridge, and her family is mourning the loss of their beautiful girl.
I think what has made knowing Abby so special to me is really how her mom has handled things throughout this experience. In addition to emails, I was able to follow Abby’s journey with cancer through a blog that her mom started after the first diagnosis. And with every post, I found myself inspired by how her mom was dealing with things and wished that I had been as strong and positive during Georgia’s battle. The blog title alone always made me smile — “Living Like Abby”. It was first and foremost a chronicle of a life…well lived. Not just a record of the ups and downs of cancer. In each post, I felt I knew Abby a little better, and I felt I learned so much about how to accept difficult situations, and how to let go, with true grace. Taking a moment to share every bit of good news, and to celebrate every small victory. Remembering to treasure those tiny details that make you smile. It was an honor to follow Abby’s brave battle.
So, as a special tribute to this special soul, I wanted to share with you a couple my favorite posts Abby’s blog, and also invite you to read more about Living Like Abby at: www.livinglikeabby.blogspot.com.
Just One More…
…trip to New York. Just one more summer. Just one more run in the woods. Just one more happy car ride. Just one more night. Just one more jump in the air. Just one more adventure. Just one more minute. Just one more…
We always want just one more…something. It’s not possible to want “just one more” and ever be happy. I’m trying to sit with what is and what we have and stop looking for “just one more” – but it’s hard to do.
Abby’s time is short – but it was really good time for a really long time. And that will be enough.=================================================================
Does Not Mean