Sunday, December 27, 2015
Lilli had a favorite blanket. She slept on it every night for years. She used to drag it around and arrange it properly before circling in to sleep. It was a very cozy off-white wool blanket that I shuffled her around with when I went on trips and had to leave her with friends. I know this is dumb, but I had the thing dry-cleaned. Yup - my dog's blanket, dry cleaned. Well....
When Lilli passed away a few months ago, her blanky kind of went with her. It was really worn/torn and not much of anything. I have kept other mementos of her. I probably shoulda kept a piece of that stupid blanket. (Things you think of later.)
I still have her collar with her little pink heart ID tag on it. Her pink floatation jacket (boating/swimming). A few of her favorite sweaters. A few toys (that Mikey has now confiscated). The "usual."
Our family Christmas gift-giving tradition is an opening event that continues from Christmas Eve (which is when we have our big family dinner) to the next morning when guests have gone and it is just the immediate family opening. The wrappings and ribbons and decorations had been gathered in 400 gallon (I exaggerate, but you get the point) hefty bags. All of the gifts were cleared from under the tree. There were miscellaneous gift bags hanging out on the huge coffee table (I've seen an F-16 land on that thing once). There was one gift bag next to my feet that I hadn't opened yet and didn't have a tag. Turned out to be mine from my sister. The very last gift. .... I opened it and my breath caught.
There is no way she could have known. I've never told her. It wasn't the type of gift she would normally get me (said it was a shawl, but looks more like a throw). I started crying and couldn't get the words out. The family's immediately thought I was hurt or sick (it's really rare when I burst into tears.) . It was such a dear gift..... and it wasn't really FROM my sister, but through her. Cait had given me the same blanket (only not for a dog as it now appears in cashmere). Same fringy things. Same color.
Lilli was letting me know she's ok and sending me some comfort. (Call it "reaching" if you will. I don't care. I believe in signs where ever/how ever they come.)
You know - when you have to put down a pet, you don't expect it (even if you do, you don't). I still don't expect to cry (but I do - 18 years of constancy is a hard thing to lose in any case). I didn't expect the amount of guilt I've felt over it. There is no way I should feel this guilt. Lilli Putian was in pain. It was the right thing to do. But I have felt so bad about it.
The little blanket was such an enormous gift.
There is no way Cait could have known the meaning when she got it for me. She was being guided by a little, white, Maltese angel dog. One of the many joys of Christmas.