Last Saturday night was a fairly normal day.
I woke up early, went to work for eight hours, drove back home, wrote a letter of recommendation for a co-worker, opened my latest Snack Crate, ordered food for my girlfriend and I and was lounging on the couch watching a movie. Truth be told, I don’t even remember what movie. I think it was a show. Maybe Shark Tank? Maybe Last Man Standing was turned on TV? My girlfriend likes that show. either way, it doesn’t matter. Almost bed time, we both had to be up early and work, so it was just about ‘sleepy time’ as I call it.
Pretty ordinary day. Just the usual crap with a bit of Super Bowl excitement as the ‘Big Game’ was a mere 24 hours away…
…then I saw my mom texted me.
We’re a close family, so the family group text is usually rocking and rolling all day, every day with jokes, memes, news, whatever. However, it had been eerily silent for the past couple hours. I just assumed my brothers, sisters, cousins, and others were out for the evening or busy. No harm, no foul. Yet, out of the blue, here was a text. I looked over and saw “Mom.” In a matter of moments, I went from tired to wide awake.
Our precious family dog Prince had passed away.
I immediately sighed VERY loudly, put the phone down, and just said “BABE!” Not in a loud, yelling voice but in a sad, defeated tone. I showed her the text, and she just stared at me before finally asking if we were driving to my mom’s house. It was about a thirty minute drive and kinda late with both of us needing to be up early, so my plan of attack was to ask more questions first. I texted back. I texted my siblings. Any kind of answer would suffice. My brother in law called. Usually we joked around and sarcastically ripped on one another; there was no laughing during this phone call.
It turns out he simply collapsed and after awhile, his slow breaths stopped.
My mom was frantic and didn’t know what to do, despite his recent failing health and previous ‘fainting’ incidents. My brother had arrived and tried mouth to mouth or any kind of resuscitation. Nothing worked. My younger sister was in tears. My other younger sister drove over in tears, wanting to just see him one final time. Personally, I had stopped over to the house a few days ago and yeah, our beloved Prince no longer looked like the lively dog we all knew and loved. It was heartbreaking. His doctors had previously gave him months to live but nearly a year later, here he was alive and kicking.
I didn’t know that was the last time I would ever see him. Much to my regret 48 hours later, I never did make the drive over Saturday night. Rather, I stayed in contact with everybody through my cell phone and said encouraging messages. My girlfriend wanted us to go; I didn’t. I wouldn’t…I couldn’t. I chose to look at old photos, tell stories to my girlfriend and simply remincense on his amazing quirks we grew to love. Now Monday afternoon, I know I should have gone over. Even worse, I went to work Sunday and missed the family burial.
Sunday morning, even though the ground was frozen and it was below zero outside, my brother dug a hole and buried him with his favorite blanket. Many tears were shed, stories were told, all the while I was at work. I had a rough time on break, again looking at old photos. My boss told me to go home and be with my family, later saying I should have just called in and took a personal day. I should have, but maybe the distraction was just me trying to block out all the emotion. I don’t know? I finished out the day but not before getting a phone call and a voicemail from my crying mother.
Just crushing, especially when you consider the fact Prince died exactly two months to the day my father passed away as well. In truth, I will be fine. It sucks now, but I’ll get through this rough stretch. What I think about most isn’t even Prince or myself. He lived a full 12 years with us (early 2009).
What I think about is my mom in tears now coming home to an empty house. I think about my youngest sister who went outside by his grave during the Super Bowl game last night because she was worried Prince was cold outside. I think of my other younger sister currently writing a tribute to him for the local newspaper and texting me she already misses him so much. I think about my brother who I have never seen cry wiping away tears trying to put on a brave face for me.
That is what I will think about. As my brother put it, Prince had a heart so big and loved so much, it finally gave out on his little body. We loved you Prince, just as much as you loved us. Enjoy the all the doggy treats now, enjoy all the belly rubs, and enjoy the steak. No more thunder storms or fireworks for you. The pain is gone. The world lost a bit of royalty on Saturday as doggy heaven gained a prince.