There’s a Heaven and Sully is Roaming Free

Sunday I lay on the couch for hours. Not really watching the Jesse Stone trilogy, but rather using it as an excuse not to move. My eyes stared blankly at the tv screen; my thoughts were elsewhere. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’m losing everything. Like watching a movie unfold that you’ve already seen, I laid there picturing the ending. Sully was gone, my marriage was over, the house had been sold, but where was I? I couldn’t see myself, my future. Was I gone too?A song kept playing in my head: Buffalo Tom’s “Late at Night”. What did it mean?

My husband had left hours earlier. He took Sully with him. All the weeks of worrying, crying, begging for resolution finally took it’s toll on me. I told him to leave, go to his dads for a couple of days till his vacation time was up, and take Sully with him. I needed a break. I needed a break from watching him die. He’d taken a turn for the worst Saturday night and I just lost it. I couldn’t do it anymore. So he’d left, he did, but returned later. I could hear him fumbling with the lock and opened the door for him. I could smell alcohol on his breath. He hadn’t gotten far, only to his buddies in the neighboring town. He whispered, “Tomorrow. Doc Ed is coming out and going to put him down tomorrow.”

I could’ve reminded him that the following day was the anniversary of Beth’s passing, but I didn’t. He explained that he realized it was time while they were over at his friends when Sully had a coughing/gagging fit that knocked him over, and that while down he started shaking and my husband said he thought for a moment he was seizing up. It was then he called his friend, the local vet, and asked him to take on the difficult task at hand. I could’ve reminded him what day it was that he was choosing to put Sully down, but I didn’t. In a way it seemed poignant that he would join Beth on the day that she had passed, so I let it go. He had finally made the decision and I wasn’t going to risk his changing his mind again by postponing it.

Sully and Daddy sharing secrets

I didn’t sleep much Sunday night, and Monday seemed to just be going through the motions. My husband too. Several times we found ourselves just sitting in the living room, not speaking, but lost in thought; waiting for the call that Doc Ed was on his way. My husband had gone out in the morning, found a spot under the tree near the swing in the very back of the yard, and dug the hole. Sully stayed inside with me. He seemed so tired. I started drinking. By afternoon the weather was beautiful so we took him out in the yard with his blanket. We decided that was where it should be done. If he knew what we had planned he didn’t let on. He just sat in the shade, letting the cats hover round and nuzzle him, and we waited. By then the alcohol had kicked in and began to numb my pain.

Sully's last day laying in the shade
Sully and Daddy
Sully and his drunken mom
Sully loves Doc Ed
Sully and Doc Ed

Sully died early Monday evening on the blanket that he loved, surrounded by those that loved him the most. It was as it should be. Doc Ed was overwhelmed with emotion, crying as he checked Sully with the stethoscope, then walked away without a word, got in his truck and left. My husband asked me if I needed anything. I whispered the words “Jack Daniels”. He left. I sat with my boy on that blanket till he returned. He still felt so warm. I kept thinking that he was just sleeping and was going to wake up at any time, but he never did. Evening came quickly and gave way to darkness. The two of us buried our boy together by the light of a tiki torch. I sat on the ground shoveling the dirt in by hand as my husband wielded the spade. I couldn’t help thinking as we walked away after, that I was leaving him behind and he should be following us into the house. That, and nothing would be the same again.

Swing in the back yard
There appears to be 3 orbs. I'd like to think that it was Angus our first Chihuahua that passed and is buried there, and Beth coming to take Sully home.
Sully's final resting place

I’ve grown to hate my husband over these last painful weeks. His lack of emotion and sensitivity apalled me. I’ve asked myself many times lately how I could love someone that doesn’t care about anyone or anything. The more I asked myself this, the stronger the feeling I had that after Sully was gone I would be too. Then something happened yesterday. The loss triggered something in my husband, and he became a real person. He sat on that swing then walked the length of the drive carrying something in his hand next to his chest. When he came in the house he put it on top of the fireplace and I realized that it was a mason jar full of dirt. Dirt from the grave. It was all he had left of Sully to take for a walk. My husband cried. Sully had done the impossible. He’d touched my husband’s heart. Maybe he was the only one that ever would, but at least I now knew he had one.

Today he went back to work and I’m sitting in a very quiet house. Sully’s bed still lay in front of the fireplace and I’m not ready to move it yet. I’m not ready to do anything yet. I’m still trying to figure out how to restart my life without my boy. I’ve always believed the “When one door closes another opens” theory, and that loss happens when your life needs to make room for someone or something else that is quickly approaching. I wonder now what my life is making room for. What is so important that Sully couldn’t be spared?

My handsome boy
Rest in peace, Son

19 thoughts on “There’s a Heaven and Sully is Roaming Free

  1. Resy in Peace, Sully. My daughter is so close to our two dogs that I don’t know what she would do in your place.
    God Bless and keep you, young lady.

    1. Yep, this has been a hard one to deal with. My husband is taking it really hard right now. I’m beginning to adjust. Get those dogs checked for cancer. I didn’t know it, but one in four dogs will get some form of it, and by the time you realize it’s there they are usually too far gone. That is something you and your family–especially your daughter–shouldn’t have to go through.

  2. I’m so sorry you’ve had to part with your beloved Sully, altho’ I’m glad he has finally been allowed to rest, forever free of his illness and pain. I know it’s been excruciatingly hard for you, but I think it’s also been hard for your husband. I know there were times when you didn’t think so, but most men don’t deal well with emotional issues… they often can’t express what they’re feeling, nor do they know how to cope with us and our emotions. They either hide or deny how they feel, or they shut us out. I hope you’ll both be able to work through the loss and grief together.

    May your memories of Sully’s better days bring you occasional smiles during this difficult time. Take Hound Dog for some walks in these coming autumn days. The exercise and one-on-one time together will be good for both of you. Bad times DO pass so hang in there.

    1. I’m getting through it. It’s really hard though, because the house seems so empty. Sully was always bounding around here, getting Hound Dog all worked up, and then the two of them driving me nuts. Hound Dog doesn’t seem to wanna do much of anything, stays in his bed a lot, and as small as he is seems to have just disappeared. I feel completely alone. I haven’t been alone in years. I’ve been crying over stupid things, and now wish we would’ve had him cremated, because knowing we laid him in the back feels like he’s just outside chained up and waiting for me to let him back in. I find myself looking out the dining room window all the time to the spot where he lay. I think it would’ve been better to have his ashes on the mantel, because then it would be more real to me that he’s gone. But I guess this is something we all have to go through when we lose a pet we love, so I’m doing the best I can to work through it. And I know my husband is grieving too. I’m trying to be there for him as best I can. It’s just been a long while since we’ve been close so I don’t know what the future holds for us.

    1. Thank you. I believe he’s at peace now, and hope that eventually me and my husband will also find some closure. I’m finding just trying to figure out how to live my day without him right now is hard. I’m sure it will eventually get easier, but for now it’s a task. And I’m worried about my Chihuahua, Hound Dog. I noticed this morning that he hasn’t ate since yesterday. I guess it’s taken its toll on all of us more than I thought.

  3. This is an amazing tribute to Sully (and to you). My heart is hurting for you. Lots. But what a beautiful way to go – surrounded by people who loved you, in a place you love. You gave Sully the best end that any of us could hope for.
    Thank you so much for such a powerful and beautiful post – a reflection of the woman who wrote it while she bled inside.

    1. I hope we gave him the end that he would want. I only hope when God takes me home that I’m fortunate enough to be in a comfortable place with those I love around me. I’m glad we were able to do this at home for him. I believe it made it easier on all of us.

    1. Thank you, Renee. It’s finally over and I’m just trying to grasp now how to move on. At least the worst is behind us, he’s not suffering, and perhaps we can eventually heal. He had as beautiful a heart as he was handsome. There will never be another like him.

  4. My “like” for this post is for the courage it took for you to put all this down in writing, post the photos and share your grief. It is not something I ever would have thought to do since I was taught to grieve privately. I admire you so…and offer sincere condolences for your significant loss.
    My heart litterally ached for you, your husband, the vet and Solly as I read of you pouring out your grief.

    ☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine

    1. Thank you Siggi. I assure you though, it’s not courage I have. I just feel like I need to get everything that is going on inside of me out somehow. The photos were my way of documenting my final goodbyes to the most wonderful, best friend I could ever have. I want the world to know that love is available for everyone. Just adopt a pet.
      I feel really bad for our vet. He’s the one that’s been treating Sully since we first brought him home, but when he got sick this last time I felt it would be in our baby’s best interest to get someone more experienced from the big city to take a look at him. Once the diagnosis was made, we realized that there was no hope, it made no sense to continue going there. Besides, I had difficulty wrapping my mind around the fact that Sully would take his last breath in a clinic. It should be here, with those he loved, and he loved Doc Ed. I guess I just didn’t consider what it would do to him. I called him the next day to thank him again for coming out, and he told me he decided that this was the last time he would euthanize an animal. He said he just doesn’t have it in him. He’s a healer. I understand, but told him I’m still glad that he was the one to help Sully cross over.
      There’s nothing wrong with grieving privately. I feel as if I am because I’m alone, although I know by putting it in my blog it seems a very public thing. I guess I just need to talk. I’m kind of numb right now. Anyway, I’m hoping this is the answer.

  5. Oh Lou, I am so sorry for your loss, when we put our pit down, we had the doc come to our house as well, we were all there with him and my boyfriend at the time held him in his arms as he went to sleep, my heart still breaks as I think about watching him leave, he was the best friend ever. I know it is so hard now to know, but it will get better, I now cherish the memories I have of our stubborn, loyal best friend. I know too what it feels like to need to find yourself, I am going through some personal stuff right now that is making me search my soul for what I really want and need in my life. I have decided that it is time to stop living my life based on what other people want or need from me. I am moving on…alone. I am terrified, I have never been alone long, and this time I know I have to be to heal the stuff inside myself that needs healing…we are here for you hun, I know that doesn’t make it a lot easier, but unfortunately I am not close enough to you to come and give you the big hug that we both need…xoxoxo you are in my thoughts…

    1. I’m feeling a bit lost right now Donna, and am trying really hard to give myself permission to just let things happen as they will. It seems in the last couple of months everything changed for me. My youngest son left and then took on the stance that he no longer wanted my input in his life. Sully was diagnosed with terminal cancer and started rapidly deteriorating. My daughter should have been celebrating her 24th birthday September 3rd, but instead was nursing wounds from being woke from a sound sleep by her drunken boyfriend who proceeded to beat the hell out of her. I have no control over anything or anyone including myself, and am watching everything I love be torn apart. I don’t know what I want for my future, and like you am terrified at the prospect of starting over if I have to. I need answers and don’t have a clue where to start, and definitely don’t trust my own judgment anymore. If it were just one thing I could probably handle it, but it hasn’t been. It’s got to be one after another lopped onto the last. I’m just so fucking tired. I just want to take a deep breath again, but feel it being choked from me from emotion. God, does life ever get any better?

  6. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for your loss. You post is very strong and I can feel your pain as tears roll down my face. As you know, time will heal all just know you gave Sully the best life he could have. God bless you and your family and remember, goodbye is not forever. You will meet again. Hang in there! ~hugs~ We’re hear for you!

    1. Thanks Bren. I thought about waiting to post, but think I needed to talk about it. I know I feel better having shared it. I’m now just trying to figure out how to have a day alone without him. It’s really quiet with just me and Hound Dog. I have this empty, nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach and can’t get rid of it. I guess that’s my way of grieving. Hug your baby. They are so precious and leave us too soon.

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