It has taken me two weeks to get the emotional strength to write this post. I figured I had cried myself dry and I knew that putting this down on “paper” would reopen the wounds. But it had to happen.
Today is the day.
Pepper was my office-mate for 2.5 years, which was almost exactly 2.5 years longer than she was “supposed to live.“ I won’t recount Pepper’s miraculous story, since it’s in an earlier post.
Pepper continued to thrive until about eight weeks ago, when she started losing weight steadily. Fearing the worst, we had an ultrasound done and discovered that she had developed a third kind of cancer. There was nothing to do. I was heartbroken and expected her to leave me at any moment.
Once again, however, Pepper refused to listen to the medical community and she did amazingly well for six weeks. Admittedly, she slowed down and spent less time on my desk. But she still enjoyed human interaction and food (her two favorite hobbies :-).
Those weeks were very difficult for me, as I watched her body wasting away and her immune system become compromised. The latter caused some dormant eye issues to flare up and her eyes began to develop lesions and mucous. It was so incredibly painful, yet intimate, as I tended to her medications, cleaned her eyes and made sure she was comfortable. Pepper had been an amazingly faithful office-mate and I was happy to be able to return the favor in her time of need.
Finally the day came when Pepper would not eat and was non-reactive to human attention, even mine. I would never be ready for Pepper to leave … but I also knew that she was ready. She went very gently in my arms, surrounded by the love of many other staff.
It is still hard to believe that she is no longer with me physically. I lost a dear friend and a great love. We cared for each other for those 2.5 years. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Rest in peace, baby girl. I will see you again.