It is said that we are — each of us — the sum total of our deeds. That in the Ledger of Life there are two columns: One for good deeds, the pluses; one for bad, the minuses.
Just as we would not want to erase any of our pluses, so cannot erase the minuses. How we live our lives is recorded.
While we strive to do good, endeavoring not to add to the minus column, there they are: The minuses.
All we ask O Lord is when the last entry in our Ledger is recorded, and the columns totaled, that the glow from our good deeds outshine the dark of our minuses. And whoever reads our Ledger, will be inspired to acclaim, “Ah this was a good and giving life.”
This morning, crying inconsolably, I brought Cyrano, our rat terrier, to the vet, knowing within the hour, I would be ending his nearly 16-year old life. While we’d had him barely four month, the prior years of his life, spent with my mother, he’d brought us joy, and added to our lives.
Rich called him “Buddy.” I preferred “Sneezy” or “CyraNose.”
His health had declined rapidly. We’d been carting from place-to-place. Every other weekend, he traveled with us to Sherwood, Oregon, where we’d been fixing up my mother’s house. He’d lived in this house for most of his life and was no doubt confused by it being torn up, and then reconstructed with new paint, flooring, refinished cabinets, and much more.
After a long day at the house, we’d trudge up the stairs to our room at the Tualatin Motel 6, conking out on the bed until we began again the next day.
On alternate weekends, he visited my mother in Mount Vernon, happy to lay on the carpeting or join us in shopping for groceries and other supplies.
And during the week, he lived in Kirkland, hanging out with cats, chasing squirrels in the backyard, and sharing the futon with Lila at night (they got along very well, and even sat on the front seat of the car together).
The first weekend in March, he was very crabby and discontent during our final weekend working on the Sherwood house. He’d landed poorly while jumping out of Rich’s truck. And the next day, he missed a few steps while coming down the stairs in the Sherwood house.
He started limping, and favoring his right foot. By Sunday afternoon, he was very uncomfortable so we placed him in the truck where he could sleep undisturbed, and keep warm with the Oregon sun shining through the windshield.
When we returned to Kirkland, late Sunday night, we had hopes that his leg would improve. It grew progressive worse, as did his energy level. By the time we took him to Mount Vernon, last weekend, Rich was carrying him everywhere.
Not only was Cyrano struggling to breath, but he was distressed, struggling to pee or poop. Monday I made an appointment to bring him to the vet this afternoon. However, when I got home from work on Monday, I knew it would be his last car ride.
I cried and cried Monday night, seeing his discomfort and struggle to walk with his right leg dragging, and the other leg also starting to give out.
This morning Rich had to get up earlier for a final trip to Oregon to oversee the installation of a gas fireplace (we don’t want the renters to use the fireplace for burning wood). I stayed in the bed until 7 o’clock, quickly dressed, woke up Cyrano, and then took him outside for one last walk in the backyard. He could muster only a few feet.
I scooped him up in a towel, placed him in the car, and cried.
The vet was compassionate, saying he had heart failure, his lungs were congested, and most likely a disc slipped in his spine (or was crushed), resulting in the paralysis of his legs.
I called Rich on my cell phone, and held it up to Cyrano’s ear so he could hear Rich’s voice one last time.
I’m sure Cyrano’s ledger is a long list of pluses with few minuses. He loved cats, chasing leaves, running in the waves, long walks, sleeping under the covers, car rides, shredding tissues, nibbling on carrots, Nylabones … and so much more. He is missed. And will always be loved and have a special places in our hearts.