Chapter One – Meg
By John McHugh
Rob, a doctor, received a phone call at his office. It was his wife Karen.
“Rob, I have decided to put Meg to sleep. The vet is coming at lunch to give the shot. If you want to be here, that’s when I am doing it. I cannot bear to see her like this anymore.”
Rob left work after his last morning patient, and arrived home as the Veterinarian was leaving. She offered a pleasantly restrained yet consoling type smile as they passed each other.
“She is up in the woods,” she says pointing to an area of trees at the edge of a garden.
Meg had been sick for months now. She had an abdominal cancer which was not operable, and had been slowly losing weight despite her belly increasing in girth. Rob and Karen had debated for weeks about the timing of putting her to sleep, but had not reached a consensus about when, where, or how to do it. Rob had wanted to wait until a time more definitive of impending demise not willing to throw in the proverbial towel, Karen elected to take matters in her own hands. She had seen enough.
When Rob arrived at the spot in the woods alluded to by the vet, Karen was sitting with Meg. Meg had the appearance of sleeping comfortably in Karen’s lap. There was a shaved spot on Meg’s front leg with an I.V. in it. As he approached it became clear the Vet had already injected the life ending medicine. Meg was motionless, and Karen was crying. Karen crying was as gut wrenching to him as it was seeing Meg lifeless. He instinctively knew and felt the emotional rollercoaster Karen had been through that morning.
“I am so sorry Rob . I could not look at her anymore. I don’t think it has been fair to her. I hope you don’t feel I have been unfair to you. The time had come. Please don’t be disappointed in me for doing this.”
Rob said nothing. His eyes moistened as he sat down next to Karen and began to stroke Meg’s hair; that familiar, soft, and beautiful golden hair which was so characteristic of their beloved golden retriever. It was the same hair which Rob, Karen, and their three children cuddled in time and time again, and had come to love for over fourteen years.
After about thirty minutes of silence and the rush of memories that filled both of their hearts, Rob said, “You go in and I’ll burry her.” He had begun digging the hole to bury Meg several weeks ago. The spot was just a bit further into the woods from where they were sitting and the reason Karen chose that particular spot to end Meg’s suffering.
Karen said, “I can help you.”
“That’s okay, I finished the hole last night, and I would like some time alone with her as well,” Rob said.
He put Meg in a large trash bag, which he had put in the grave days before, and very carefully placed her in the grave. He positioned her in the bag and placed her head in such a way as to protect her beautiful face from the weight of the forthcoming earth. The first dirt he placed on Meg he did with his hands being careful not to let it land directly on her head or where he thought her eyes would be. Once she was completely covered in dirt, he then used the shovel to complete the task. He got the rocks which he’d collected over the last several weeks in anticipation of this day, and spelled “MEG” on the top of the grave. He then sat alone. Quietly remembering all she had meant to him and his family, he wept.
To be continued………