Five Stairsteps to a Healing Heart

Ooh child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh child, things’ll get brighter

On February 13th, 2003, sometime in the afternoon, I was driving back from Clinton, SC in my old Honda, with BoBo stretched out across the backseat on some blankets. He never liked my choice of music, but when I got to our song and stopped singing (I think THAT is truly the issue he had with my music…my warbling along) he settled back and stopped whining. For the 3+ minutes that song lasted, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that strong jaw, those bright eyes, and that beautiful light yellow brindled fur. “Oooh Child” by the Five Stairsteps was on the CD player, and it quickly became our song, Bo’s and mine, and I’d been singing it to him at night while sitting with him downstairs.

Some day, yeah
We’ll put it together and we’ll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter

Scott had to help me get him out of the car, of course, because he was so weak that it was tough to manage the backseat of a Civic. We also had to watch and make sure that we didn’t damage the IV line that was now a permanent part of one of his front legs. Once in the basement, I found my standard spot on the floor next to his dogbed and reminded him that once he was better he could sleep anywhere he wanted, even on that stupid fluffy rug in the bathroom.

Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter

As I’d done for the past two weeks, I fell asleep that night on the concrete floor in the basement with my head and arm on his dogbed. I didn’t sleep long though…BoBo couldn’t always tell us fast enough when he had to go out, so I think for those two weeks I drifted in a state of near conciousness so that I wouldn’t miss him calling if he needed me. If I’d known I would have stayed up all night talking to him, memorizing every last brindle stripe in his fur and making sure I told him just how much his Mommy loved him. But I didn’t know.

Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child, things’ll be brighter
Ooh-oo child, things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child, things’ll be brighter

On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2003, Scott took Bo to the vet for his daily fluids. We had plans to possibly go out that night but we would probably have stayed in and had dinner on the floor in the basement. Scott called me at about 4:30 pm. Bo left us shortly thereafter. The first person I called was Amy, poor thing…she and Charles were out celebrating Valentine’s Day and all I could say on the phone was “We lost Bo.” They offered to come sit with me until Scott got home from Clinton, but I thanked them and told them no.

Three years later I still miss Bo. Three years later I still hate Valentine’s Day. But it doesn’t hurt as bad as it did last year, and certainly not as much as it did the year before that. I still don’t deal well with all the commercials on television showing happy couples exchanging jewelry and smiling children holding up hand-made cards to proud parents. The overload of candy and roses in the stores just seems hollow to me. Bo was the first greyhound we lost, and while his death did prepare me for Liz to leave us, it was a painful lesson. The fact that it happened on the day that it did I think just makes it more vivid and harder to forget.

Right now
You just wait and see how things are gonna be
Right now

My heart is healing. I got a card today from my parents, a Valentine’s Card, and for the first time in three years I didn’t completely lose my composure reading it. I’d like to think that Bo was watching as I walked back into the house with the card in my hand, finally satisfied that his Mommy is okay.

I love you Bo, and I won’t ever forget. I’m just learning how not to hurt so much I guess…

Maybe next year I’ll buy myself a rose and a candy bar.

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