Animals will often chew their own limbs off in order to get out of a trap.
I only wish it was that easy.
I would gladly chew off a limb to get away from this pain. I feel trapped. No matter what I do, where I turn, where I go this grief stays with me. There is no getting away from it - I need to trudge, waist deep, through it and hope I can drag myself safely to the other side.
Today I had to make the decision to put our dog to sleep. At 11 years old she was way past her prime. Arthritis in the hip, congestive heart failure. Today I found a large lump on her chest. While she had two similar lumps last year that turned out to be benign she is too old to go through surgery and this lump apparently was growing quickly (since I hadn't noticed it before). She acted like she was in pain the past few days and that made up my mind.
While I sat in the room with her, waiting for the medicine to take effect, I rubbed her ears and wondered how one comforts their dog as she's killing it (I realize euthanizing is not murder, per se, but it feels like it). That brought back feelings of how one comforts their child as they are dying.
Because as bad as it is to lose a child, to have that child gone from your life, it may be worse to be losing a child. Watching a child, your child, slowly die is the most gut wrenching, twisted pain there is.
The only thing worse than watching your child die is not watching them, die day after day. To watch their pain linger.
That's not to say that much of Jacob's journey home wasn't holy and beautiful. I think, and pray, that the medicine kept him pretty comfortable those two months.
But it was a solo journey for him, one that I couldn't walk step for step with him. I couldn't take it all away or make it better.
When a child lays dying, when a child dies, a piece of you leaves with them. Each of my children are literally a piece of me and one of those pieces is now gone. The pain of that is as physical as it is emotional.
If only the answer of escaping that pain was as simple as chewing off a limb. Because I know that would hurt a lot less.