The Final Car Trip

Jack's Last Evening

Jack’s Last Evening

In the previous post, I wrote about our precious Jack’s last night and morning. Our last trip in the car follows.

I put Jack’s bed and warm, purple blanket in the car. The softest, most cozy blanket in the house and my favourite colour. We took him to the lawn for one last wee-wee. Of course, my mind started its familiar tricks again with “The last time we do this …” Stay present, Liesel, just breathe. Be there for him.

I wanted to sit in the back of the car with my boy. He lay in his bed, tranquil and half asleep. I pulled his bed close to me, put my seat belt on (“what, such a normal thing again??”) and he rested his warm chin on my left leg.

The very last trip in the car. Hearts breaking, silent tears rolling down cheeks as we set off. Surely this isn’t happening? Not really?

My thoughtful husband let the car fill with the most divine and uplifitng classical guitar music (my birthday gift to him a few years back). A Vivaldi guitar concerto, played on an 8-string guitar suddenly made the trip bearable. It was a gift I’ll never forget – the soothing, calming sounds that took me to a calm place of knowing this was the right thing.

On the way there no-one said a word. Andrew caught my eye a few times in the rear-view mirror and we managed small, teary smiles.

At one stage the most unbelievable image entered my mind. A lightness and gratitude and relief filled my heart as I whispered, “Jack, you’re going home! It’s going to be so exciting! There are colourful balloons, a welcome party, a huge, fun banner saying “WELCOME JACK!” and there will be a band announcing your arrival. They’re going to be so happy to see you, they’ve been preparing your place and it’s ready for you now! You’re going to love it there!! Marianne’s adorable cats are waiting to show you around!”

I felt an unreal joy through the unbearable sadness. Happy for Jack, who would have no more pain, discomfort, nausea, icky. He’d be running again, soon. He was ready and peaceful.

While I stayed with Jack, Andrew went into the vet’s office and told them we’d arrived. One of my usual fears is we’d have to hang around forever while Jack and I got more and more nervous. Of course, this event was Divinely orchestrated, not in my hands. There was only one person ahead of us who was busy paying, then it would be our turn.

Andrew took a few last photo’s of my boy wrapped in his purple blanket. Within a minute or so, Dr Sampson came out and let us know to come in.

Andrew carried Jack in his loving arms while I went ahead and laid his bed and purple blanket on the steel table. Little Jack sat on it, with Andrew’s hands on him, a bit uncertain. He really didn’t like the smells in this place, yet the tranquilizer was doing its work.

Dr Sampson had to take him to the back room to insert a small catheter in his right arm for the injection. He kindly explained exactly what would happen. I looked into my brave, brave boy’s eyes, sent all the courage and love in my heart to him and said “Be brave one more time, my Jack”, before Dr Sampson took him to the back.

The two of us together, alone in the office, I collapsed into Andrew’s arms, cried. After what felt like 10 minutes, which was probably only 2, I felt ready to dry my tears and be strong again.

Dr Sampson came back with Jack and put him gently on the blanket. My heart was beating wildly. We stroked him, loved him, not believing what was about to happen. He asked “Are you ready?” We could only manage a nod.

We both stood with both hands on our Jack while the aneasthetic was injected into the catheter in his arm. He was sitting up, not lying down. I sent love, asked him to be brave, stroked his warm head. Within 4 or 5 seconds, suddenly there was only a statue sitting there. Both still with our hands on his body, we stood silently for a few minutes. The vet respectfully stood in a corner and gave us time. I didn’t howl, didn’t cry out loud, although I rested my head on Andrew’s shoulder and shed silent tears.

Jack went peacefully. He was no longer in pain.

We stood talking to Dr Sampson for a few minutes. We even managed a feeble joke. Strange, what can happen in unusual circumstances. It felt like I was a witness, not a participant. I watched it all happen even though my body was present.

All the normal things had to happen. Life was still happening all around us, though it felt like ours would never be the same. We went the pay the last bill, and the receptionist was kind enough to offer that we settle another day. We didn’t want to return for that, would rather complete it all now. We paid and sat numbly in the car, still parked in the vet’s parking area.

More tears, still feeling like this didn’t just happen. What now? What the heck now?

We hadn’t had breakfast yet, and even though it was now 12 pm, we couldn’t face food. We both felt like just driving, into some country areas where we used to go a lot before we had little Jack. About 20 minutes into the drive, I suddenly remembered… and said to Andrew – “I know EXACTLY where I want to go.” I told him, he agreed instantly and we were on our way. Synchronistically, we were already more than halfway there.

You see, in the letter that Yolanda sent, only 2 days before with the precious message from Jack, he said: “I can’t be with you for much longer. You have to go in your car to your favourite place. (It is a place in nature. Looks like a botanical garden, stream or river….). You have to start walking around the block again and drink your water, Mom”.

I’d completely forgotten this part, through all the sadness, arrangements and decisions. The perfect, perfect place for us to be now was the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. We both love being there and it was one of the first places we visited as a new couple, 9 years ago. And it was only minutes away from where we were already.

It seemed that little Jack was already guiding us lovingly from beyond. Our hearts relaxed.

To be continued, with our story on Healing the Sadness.

Liesel Teversham
Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.

She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.

Click here to read about the book.

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9 Comments

  1. Lynette Rink

    Dearest Liesel and Andrew

    What a gift and privilege to experience Jack’s journey – and yours – through your words. Thank you so much for sharing it all.

    I remember precious Jack so well … being lucky enough to chat to him many years ago! Through my tears I smile, as I remember his energy and enthusiasm for life – the purposefulness of his walk and the almost seriousness of the way he took his job of being your doggie and doing all he could for you.

    My heart is with you at this time, and I send love and courage and hope that you find peace knowing that little Jack will be with you always.

    So often pets cross over on the brink of something new so that they can prepare and continue to be of support from the other side …

    Much love – always
    Lynette xxx

    Reply
    • Liesel Teversham

      Dear Lynette,

      Oh thank you for your most wonderful comment here. I’d completely forgotten about your chat with Jack, if I remember correctly it was because of him growling and growling non-stop at our domestic Sarah. Thank you for that wonderful memory, what you just mentioned about him, and how seriously he took his “job”. Thank you for your loving support here, Lynette. We have found MUCH peace and comfort in so many friends and other messages and sharing of these posts. And I LOVE your last sentence – pets cross often on the brink of something new so they can support us from that side. I’m so very delighted to hear that and will be watching for little Jack’s guidance and support.
      Thank you for being here.
      Much Love,
      Liesel and Andrew

      Reply
  2. Maggie

    Thank you again, Liesel, for another beautiful writing. I especially like the vision of the homecoming party and the big welcome banner. I have been feeling such profound sadness and emptiness at the loss of my Ivyn and Freckles.. but that vision actually helps lift me above that (even if only for a moment) to see another perspective. I look forward to your next entry of your journey.
    In love and gratitude,
    Maggie

    Reply
    • Liesel Teversham

      Thank you so much Maggie, for coming back and reading another post. I’m so sorry for your sadness and emptiness. I really understand that pain. I’m so very glad if the “WELCOME FRECKLES” and “WELCOME IRVYN” banners can help you to see it from a different angle, even for a short moment. In the next blog post I’ll add a few more things that really helped us in the first few days and week. Blessings and love to your heart!

      Reply
  3. Gunilla Wachtel

    Losing a fuzzy family member is something that is incredibly sad and painful and something that not everyone understands. Now your Jack no longer needs to hurt but will be with you in spirit.

    We just had to put our beloved cat to sleep the other day. She had a large tumor in her belly and the vet said there was nothing they could do. They said it would be a matter of days.

    It was so quick, within a few weeks, she was very sick from being a healthy cat before. Now she doesn’t have to hurt anymore. We miss her so much.

    Reply
    • Liesel Teversham

      Gunilla, thank you so much for your wonderful comment here and I’m so very sorry for your loss and pain, too. Yes, I prefer to have our dear furr friends with no pain, where they are happy and running with whole bodies. That gap that they leave takes a long time to fill…. in the meantime, I have bought a beautiful bouquet of pink roses and every time I go past, I say “Hello, my boy!” It certainly helps me to connect with love in my heart, and not only sadness. Bless you and be well. xx

      Reply
  4. Jenny Rose

    Oh my word!!! I cried all the way through the last three blog posts
    It is everything that I have been through with 6 dogs and four rabbits
    It is heart breaking and each one is so very different
    It is also mind expanding and growth inducing
    My heart goes out to you for the pain
    I must also commend you on how well you have written, as other people are able to sooo relate to what you went through allowing them not to be alone in their pain
    Bless your little Jack on his journey and he will be there to welcome you when you move through to the next phase of your journey
    Having said that, I feel as though three of my dogs have reincarnated and planted themselves on my doorstep to take in, as they had not completed their time here
    Blessings, love and light
    Jen xxxx

    Reply
  5. Portia

    Hi Liesel,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Jacks journey was incredible. You wrote it so beautfully. I am also glad that Jack is in a better place now. May time heal your pain. I send you lots of love and light.

    Reply
    • Liesel Teversham

      Hi Portia,
      Thank you so much for your kind comment and your expressed sympathy. Jack is always in our hearts, he is a most adorable soul and we still get so many reminders of him. It’s no longer so painful, at least our kitty keeps us wonderful company and fills some of the gaps. I’m sure that’s why she moved in with us a year ago! I appreciate your presence, Portia – thank you. xx

      Reply

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