Mr. Daisy's Gift

By the time Daisy reached 14 I had been smoking for 45 years and
trying to quit for 5. I had tried everything and every product but had failed
each time after only a few hours. I believe part of the reason for failure
was that deep down inside I really didn't want to quit. Now the habit had
been taking it's toll. I was short of breath all the time and had
developed a chronic cough and wheeze. Mornings were terrible.
Withdrawal impossible. I knew I was in trouble.
I couldn't quit.

January 3, 2008

Daisy passed at 14 from old age and, they believed, kidney failure.
He was more than an elderly gentleman! On this day I went downstairs
as always to look for him and bring him his breakfast. Since
developing cataracts at 9 he spent a lot of time downstairs in his
comfortable bed by the sunny window.
But he wasn't 9 and he wasn't in his bed.

I went to the utility room where his water and hay were kept.
He was there but not enjoying fresh hay or cool water. He was
lying on the floor unable to get up and had soiled himself.
Panic hit. Daisy had never been seriously ill.
His vet visits were "well bunny checkups" and nail trims.
And soiling himself! I was horrified!
Scooping him up in a towel I went upstairs and
called our vet. It was 9:30 a.m.

The receptionist informed me that Dr. Cate wouldn't be in until 1:30.
She asked if I wanted her to call the doctor to come in early.
I told her I would wait and bring him in then.
I knew at his age what was going to
happen when I brought him in.
He showed no signs of discomfort... just very weak.
I honestly hoped he would pass at home with me holding him.
He didn't and later Dr. Cate said she didn't think he would.

At 1 p.m. I transferred Daisy to his carrier with a clean towel.
Attempts to clean him had passed in vain as I held him and talked to him.
Nothing seemed more important than talking to him.
Our good-night words I said over and over.
"Do you know how much I love you? Do you know?"
I'd hoped he did know and I think he did.

Arriving at the vet's we were ushered into one of the small rooms.
I held him as we waited for Dr. Cate. In minutes she entered the room.
Looking at Daisy as I held him she said:
"He has led the most dignified life. Let's keep it that way."
In other words, no needles and blood tests, no painful intervention
in nature finally taking it's course.
I nodded and she left the room reappearing minutes later.
I don't know who handled her other patients as she sat down in the chair across
from Daisy and I and I was so grateful! Grateful for the kindness shown
to myself and Mr. Daisy who the clinic had dubbed their "Grand Old Man".
Kindness on what would be our last visit.

Dr. Cate and I relived all of Daisy's antics and there were many!
Everything from chasing a pet sitter into a nearby chair...
to not moving from a place he was sitting even
when the vacuum gave him a nudge after he had been
asked to move several times!
Daisy never bit anyone in all of his years
but he had this air about himself!
Respect! And he got it.

Daisy passed at 3:10 that afternoon.
My little boy was not going home with me this time.
I knew that before I came but
often the heart does not accept the reality.
At least not right away.
I almost expected to look and see him
in his carrier, anxious to get home...
but of course, I didn't.

On the way home I stopped for the usual 2 cartons of cigarettes.
By now I was smoking well over a carton a week.
Usually over 2 packs a day.

But then an odd thing happened before I went into the store.
Or at least I thought so at the time.

Still seated in my car my mind went back
to the week before Christmas.
Just a little over a week ago.
In his elderly years Daisy was not much into grooming.
However, I was into it for him.
For one thing he had developed two bald spots on the bottom of his feet.
Though small they needed cleaning and care every night.
No one knew why they were there
but they were there and needed attention.

So our new nightly routine was putting a very disgruntled Mr. Daisy
onto a towel on the washer, cleaning his feet with cotton balls
and sitting in a rocking chair while the meds dried.

And now, I thought of this one particular time...

I had tried to quit smoking again and had failed.
I decided that this would be the last time.

As I put Daisy on the washer to begin caring
for his feet, I started crying.
I buried my face in his coat and cried.
"Daisy, I'm going to die. I can't breathe and I can't quit.
I don't know what to do. I wish you could help me.
But no one can because I can't help myself."
Finally realizing I had a poor rabbit waiting to be
groomed and get down I went back to the task at hand.
When I raised my head I saw that he had one ear up as if
he were listening. But he did that a lot. He wasn't listening.

And I thought of this time as I went
into the store to purchase the cigarettes.

Arriving home I put the carrier down and went
into the utility room and began to clean.
It felt good to be doing something for him.

January 10, 2008

The week passed slowly and the following Thursday I
sat down at the kitchen table and looked at the clock.
It was 3:10. He has been gone a week I thought.
I had lit a cigarette but then quickly put it out.

It was the last I would ever smoke.

Mr. Daisy photo link
"Daisy's Gift Given"