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Bailey’s Bucket List


After having to say goodbye to my younger Saint Bernard, Leila just this past September, it has been a difficult recovery for our family (especially for my 4-year-old son). Now our older Saint, Bailey, is deteriorating rapidly. She will be 13 in a few months, and that is, frankly, ancient for this majestic breed. I’ll admit, she has had a wonderful run thus far, longer than most. I remain eternally grateful for the wealth of time we have shared…However…I am not ready to say goodbye, and I worry about my son losing both his girls in such relative close succession. I have slept downstairs with her the past few nights because she can’t make it upstairs, and she has been crying…So have I.

This is a dark cloud, during a time when we as a family are already plagued with emotional fragility. Still recovering from loss and firming up our strength for the journey ahead, as we embark on another IVF cycle. There are so many questions my curious son has about babies and new life, but he also harbors fears about death and separation. We strive to keep open the lines of communication, so he feels secure in seeking answers from us. But we don’t have all the answers. I wish we did. I wish we could take away all his pain and anxiety, but the best we can do is shield him from ours.

I wish there were some magic pill or secret treatment the vet could give her, to bring even a shadow of my girl back to me. I’m not ready to give up, but when Bailey is ready, I will let her go. In the meantime, I will prepare myself and my son for the hard truth that nature brings. The reality that just as we welcome life, we too must accept death. We will talk of the life cycles of plants, animals, and people. I will assure him that the feelings he has, everyone has. I will make sure he knows that being angry is ok, being sad is ok, and expressing himself how he needs to is ok. We will talk…a lot! We will remark on the impact of Bailey’s life on our lives, and how she will linger in our memories long after she is gone, just as “Leila Dog” has. My son will lament about how he misses Leila, and how he didn’t get to say goodbye. He will ask if he will get to say goodbye to Bailey, and I will be at a loss for words.

I will tell him that we will help her enjoy every day that she remains on this earth. We will celebrate the twilight of Bailey’s life, and every day will be a party. My son will want her to be happy all the time, and I will help him make it so.

I don’t know how long we have with our sweet furbaby. Her strength seems to fluctuate from one hour to the next. It could be days or weeks…Could it be months? There is no way to know for sure. I will keep a wary eye fixed on her for a sign and the vet will provide guidance. I don’t want her to suffer needlessly.

Tonight, we will begin Bailey’s Bucket List. Stay tuned for her Twilight Adventures. Please send my son strength, and a little for me if you can spare.

Wishing you all PEACE, LOVE, & BABY DUST.

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Published inChildren's StoriesThe Winding Path of Persistence

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