Harry has kidney disease.
He is still eating. Still running around with joy. Super loving. He is also turning into skin and bones right before our eyes. He is so skinny. And thirsty.
The vet says he could have two months or two years; hard to know how it will progress. He turned 14 this year, and I was hoping (but knowing otherwise) for him to make it to 20. Or 100. You know, whichever.
I’ve been trying to prepare myself for his death for a while now. As I do with everyone I love.
In some ways, there is no being prepared. In others, it helps. I’m not sure how to write about that yet.
We’ve now entered the time of active vigilance. It may be months. It could be years. Hoping the new food helps Harry gain some weight back. Hoping for many things. And yet I need to be present with what is. To observe what is real rather than what I wish to be.
And so I start my morning researching the stages of kidney failure, the matching symptoms. To learn what to provide Harry and when. And to better recognize where he is in his journey. And somewhere it shifts from thinking about Harry to remembering my father’s own journey down this path.
The way he became emaciated. The devil’s dance of renal failure and Alzheimer’s.
Grief is like an ever-present fog. Sometimes it grows wispy and light, and the ache attaches to a sense of beauty and awe. That familiar painful knowing that this world is magical precisely because it is fleeting. Other times, it sinks low and heavy, making it difficult to navigate the day, replacing wonder with the weight of absence and loss.
Bound by time and mortality, our lives are tethered to the angel’s dance of love and grief – one swirling around and through the other, always.
Today, I can still hold my Harry, feel his heartbeat beneath my hands. Feel his deep purring in my own body as he relaxes against my chest.
Love and grief and Love. How fortunate I am to have this moment.