Gertie is dead.

Imbolc and the Full Shadow Mountain Moon

Under the full Shadow Mountain, at the age of 12, Gertie died. I cried a lot, didn’t go in with her. Only Kate. Too hard for me. Not sure why, but it is.

On the drive couldn’t get Jan and Dean’s line out of my head: Gonna take that long, last ride. I feel relieved, certain this was the right decision even though I could not have carried it out. Kate said it was very peaceful.

Seoah believes Gertie will watch over us, help us be happy. I choose to agree with her. Gertie is an ancestor in that sense, I guess.

Sometime next week we’ll have a combined birthday party for me, 73, and a celebration of Gertie’s life. There are so many Gertie stories. If you have one, send it along and I’ll make sure it gets shared.

paragraph deleted. jen says it was untrue. I apologize.

The sun is out, the sky is blue, the snow is white and copious. And Gertie is no longer suffering. All good.

While I was waiting for Kate, I said the most important line of the Shema: Hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. I’ve been saying it regularly now since reading Art Green. He reconstructed it to mean: the one is. In saying it I remind myself that we are part of the one, that the one is that in which we live and move and have our becoming.

As I did, I felt Gertie and Kate. I saw with clarity that Gertie’s death was her life which was my life which is your life. That the cycle of emergence and reabsorption, the turning of the Great Wheel is another way of saying the Shema. Life, death, birth and decay, all one. All.

The Mexica, the Nahuatal, the Aztecs saw this life as a dream, entered into between a sleep and a sleep. Death brings us back to the real world. That’s why the Day of the Dead has a joyful overtone. See Coco. Death takes us to a world more real than this one full of illusion and pain.

The Celtic Otherworld has some overlap with this idea though it includes the realm of Faery, a place both wonderful and terrifying. Neither is like heaven which in the popular portrayal involves spending eternity in the 1950’s. Everybody’s polite, delightful, having a good time.

Though I find the rainbow bridge (stolen from Norse mythology’s Bifrost) corny, it does say something to me. It speaks to the purity of a dog’s soul, of their unending love, their affection. If any mammal deserves a privileged spot in an afterlife, it is the dog.

That’s why I choose to believe with Seoah that Gertie will look after us now.


Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon (full)

Monday gratefuls: A heart to heart with Kate. Seoah’s compassion. Gabe’s, “Getting over Gertie’s death is going to be hard.” Gertie, still with us. Murdoch, in doggy juvie. A full moon lighting the lodgepoles. 2 feet of fresh white snow. Family. So grateful for all of us.

Kate gave Ruth the title, Honorary Doggy ICU Nurse. Ruth hit on crushing the oxy and delivering it to Gertie in sugar water. She also slept the night on the couch next to Gertie, getting up every so often to clean Gertie, move her around. She also brushed Kepler, who’s blown his coat again. Probably anxiety coupled with the warm spell last week.

Her current passion is baking. She made me a white cake with pink frosting. It was moist, sweet. Ruth shoveled the back decks, too. I appreciated it since I threw my back out last Tuesday carrying Gertie outside to pee.

Gabe brought down a quilt and a soft pillow for Gertie. He and Ruth have known Gertie their whole lives. Gertie is 12, Ruth 13, and Gabe 11. Her dying is hard for them in a way I can’t imagine.

I do know that in spite of Gertie’s suffering their opportunity to be with her for two days and nights was important for them. It was true family with many tears, many laughs, consoling of each other.

Seoah has taken the role of night nurse after Ruth went home. We’re downstairs and can’t hear Gertie over the sounds of our oxygen concentrators. We get up during the night and go see her, but we don’t hear her when she starts to cry. Seoah does. And, she comes down to comfort her.

Ruth told me that Seoah would make a great mother. And, she would. I told Seoah and she shyly thanked me. I hope she and Joe have a child. They want one.

Down the hill with Ruth and Gabe, taking them back to Jon. I suggested to him that he take another rest day and I’d take them home. Jon’s feeling better, not well, but better.

On the way home I stopped at the New York Deli and bought Kate two quarts of their chicken noodle soup (CNS). I got a grilled ruben and Seoah wanted a sandwich that would never have occurred to me, a tuna blt. Which she reported, was wonderful. Well…

Our house has a snow roof about 18 inches over the solar panels and shingles. The lodgepoles lost most of their snow in the winds Saturday and Sunday. They sent clouds of snow falling into the forest. At any one moment Black Mountain had several isolated pockets of fresh falling snow as the wind danced among the pines. It is quiet and mountain beautiful here.

Today we plan to take Gertie to the vet for euthanasia. In this case I can understand why, wish I’d seen it as necessary earlier. But, I didn’t. Later in the day Seoah and I are going to Bergen Bark Inn to visit Murdoch. Seoah wants to talk to them about boarding Murdoch for the whole 10 months. Wow.