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Love and Death

...and the stuff in the middle

It's been a hot second since I last wrote... And by a hot second, I mean 6 freaking months. Since I last wrote, I celebrated another year on this side of the dirt (#46 for anyone counting), another lilac season has come and gone, we got TWO canoes (long story), while not complete, the backyard project (stock tank pool setup) is usable, we got real Internet, I traveled to Montana, Minnesota, and South Carolina, and I learned that Ernest will likely not be on this side of the dirt for much longer.

It's that last one that has me all flummoxed lately.

Since I haven't written anything on my blog IN A HALF A YEAR, you wouldn't know how much time we've spent over the past six months at the vet with Ernest unless you've also been following along on Facebook. Over the past couple years, we've tried various diets (nothing worked but crickets), made tank/environmental adjustments, given him shots, oral meds, added supplements (powder) to his crickets - we've basically done everything our sweet vet, Dr. Raab at Animal Wellness Center, has suggested. Our last effort was putting him on a Chinese herbal medicine. But it doesn't seem any of that was destined to work for the long haul.

I had an appointment last Friday to bring him in to the vet to have him put down... But I couldn't do it b/c he seemed so "normal" other than his back legs no longer working. The vet agreed that it was fine for him to continue with us until deterioration was evident; and I think he might be slowing down now. I'm hoping for a miracle, but I don't think it will be long.

Ernest has always liked music. His habitat is in our music room and from the very beginning, he'd crawl out of the water onto his rock when we'd play music - he seemed particularly drawn to the harp. Lately, without the use of his back legs, he's unable to climb onto his rock to listen, but he still stops where he is and listens whenever I play. I've taken to playing for him in the morning, at lunch time when I'm home (sometimes I'm at the office), and in the evening. I'm not sure I can explain just how moving it is to witness a creature appreciate something you love so much in their own way. I know animals experience things differently than humans, and I'm not saying he can even know what music is with any significant depth, but there's something special in the way Ernest shares music with us.

I don't know how much longer I'll have with Ernest, but I do know that when I have to say goodbye, it's going to be heart wrenching. It's all the stuff that makes Ernest who he is, separate from other beautiful creatures in this world, that makes saying goodbye so damn hard. I'll always smile at how picky he has been since the first day we had him. How he refused to eat turtle food. Or a vegetable. Or his minnows. I will giggle when I remember when I learned Ernest is a female... And how happy I am that I didn't change his name to Ernesta or Ernestina when I did. He's Ernest. He's a he. I will always treasure all those times he climbed out to listen to me play and sing. It is one of the most heartwarming, beautiful things I've ever been a part of. I am so thankful. All of those things - the things between when you first love something and when they're all-of-a-sudden-gone - those are the things that make a life. Those are the things that make the end sting.

I will console myself knowing we tried everything to help him - but it won't make the transition any less sad.

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