🔥🔥Impassioned Marketer
🗣️Speaker 📋Coach ✍️Writer
🚑Aortic Aneurysm Survivor
🙏Devoted Dad

 


“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

I write it as I see it. My exercise in understanding this crazy thing we call life. A simple archive of stories to survive me. 



I was showering today when I heard my 17 year old daughter Milan screaming at the top of her lungs.

"Dad!!!" 

I thought it was because I had the radio turned up, but upon grabbing my towel and getting out she shrieked "Lennox has been hit by a car hurry!" She was crying. 

She had just arrived for a 3 day visit from college in Alabama. We didn't even get a chance to say hello and I was running around my bedroom frantically looking for a pair of pants to put on and run downstairs to see what happened. 

I threw on a pair of jeans and ran outside passing my 11 year old Sully on the front porch who was also crying and looking at our dog Lennox who sat in the driveway. 

I looked back at Sully as I ran over to the dog and told him "calm down it's going to be okay." 

I told Milan the same thing but after I saw the dog I realized I might be bullshitting them both. He sat in the driveway upright. He was alert, but stunned and not moving. They had thrown a towel over him and there was blood everywhere. 

"It's his legs Dad, you can see the bones and they are bleeding badly," said Milan. I was proud of how calm and collected she was, clearly a result of her EMT training in high school. Sully cried harder.

"Okay everyone relax it's going to be okay, we're going to take him to the hospital just calm down," I said.

I ran inside as fast as I could and pulled 5 or 6 beach towels out of the closet. Pots and pans crashed onto the floor that were stored next to them but I left them and ran out the door. I wrapped the towels all around Lennox and then I picked him up and laid him in my back seat. 

I ran upstairs to put a shirt and shoes on and returned to them waiting in the driveway. The towels were quickly soaked in his blood. 

"Stay here. I'll be back I'm going to take him to the hospital, I have to get him there quickly before he loses more blood." 

"You aren't going anywhere without me he's my dog," Milan said. 

I saw the look in her eyes and knew there was zero chance of changing her mind. 

"Get in the back seat and sit next to him then. Sully get in the front seat, let's go," I said to them as I hopped into the car. 

I wasn't even sure where to take him. We pulled out of the driveway and called his vet. They told us not to bring him there, but instead directed us to the veterinary emergency room nearby. I put my hazards on to excuse my excessive speed and got us there safely in less than 10 minutes. 

I parked the car out front and picked up Lennox in the bloody mess of towels and carried him in. The doctors descended upon us immediately and brought us into the operating room where they had me lay him down on the table. 

Sully and Milan stood near me as they tried to keep him from moving. He began moaning in pain. The doctors took off the towels and you could see most of the bones in his rear legs. All the skin was torn away and the blood was still seeping out. I directed Sully to the waiting room.

"You shouldn't be here now. Go sit down out there and I'll be right out," I said to him. 

Tears rolled down Milan's cheeks but her poise was great. I have always had an innate ability to stay calm in the worst of situations and put people at ease. It appeared that trait had rubbed off on Milan over the years because she just stood at the foot of the operating table politely asking questions as if she was one of the doctors. 

The weird thing about veterinary E.R.'s is that they allow you to remain with the pet. Milan stayed beside him the entire time while I went out to console Sully and make trips back and forth between them. 

Sully had calmed down and went through bouts of staring out the window silently followed by more crying. 


Over the course of the next hour and a half we learned that Lennox had multiple fractures in his hind legs, the tissue was torn off, and he had potential damage to his bladder and internal organs. They told us that his needs were beyond the scope of what they could do there and that we would have to take him to a hospital that was more advanced where they could do further tests. 



They told us if he made it he would be in the hospital at least a week and would need multiple reconstructive surgeries adding up to an estimated 20k in medical bills. 

After listening to the doctors I took a breath and went outside. I noticed Sully trying to go back to the dog and I motioned through the window for him to sit back down in the waiting room. 

I went on the side of the building where no one could see me and I cried. Not as much for the dog as for the idea that I would have to explain this to him and see him go through the pain. 

They were inseparable. They were like the boy and his dog in Old Yeller. He was constantly doing stupid things with the dog, laughing at him, having full blown conversations with him, and entertaining himself til no end. The dog slept with him every night. I knew his world was about to cave in, and the kid had been through so much in the past year with his cancer battle. The situation sucked. 



Milan who had just stepped into the house from her plane ride when this happened was still in shock. It was some homecoming for her first trip back I thought to myself. 

I began to look for the silver-lining and realized this whole instance was probably written long before it happened. And that Milan was supposed to be here for this because the universe knew Sully would not get through it without her. That was the best sense I could make of the tragedy. She was the second closest to Lennox, often calling home from college begging me to put him on Facetime. We named him Lennox after the NYC hospital that all 3 kids were born in.



Finally we left the veterinary hospital and the two of us went to pick up my middle son Preston from basketball practice. We pulled up and the door to the gym was open. We were late but there were still kids shooting around. I told Milan to go in and surprise him. He had no idea that she was coming home for a visit, and he had no idea the dog was just ran over. 

The rain poured down as Sully and I watched from the car. She called out to him as she stepped inside the gym, and a few seconds later we saw him walk across to her smiling. They hugged in the frame of the doorway for what seemed like an eternity. That image will stick with me for a long time. 

"Why is he sniffling? Why you sniffling Sully???" Preston asked when he got in the car. 

I smirked because his tone was so abrasive and out-of-context for what we had just been through. 

"Lennox got hit by a car," I said. 

My eyes welled up. Sully burst out crying and Preston sat dumbfounded and blessed us with a few profanities. He is probably the most compassionate and sensitive one of my 3 kids, but he has a shell of armor and rarely shows any emotion when he is hurt except for anger. 

We discussed dinner options on the drive home but unanimously scratched them. No one was hungry. 

About an hour after we were home the doctor called. 

He was gone. Lennox had died from the internal bleeding and injuries. 

I gathered the 3 kids and told them the news. It was a bad scene. Sully's heartbreak and anger reminded me of his emotions on the day I had to tell him he had cancer.

"Why!? Who's going to come to the door when I get home!? Who's going to sleep with me!?" he shouted. 

The deep belly cries continued as Milan tried to console him with some sort of explanation about God which he didn't seem to be buying. 

Milan started crying and then said "I have to go for a walk, I want to call my friends." 

Sully stayed on the sofa sobbing with his face planted in the pillow uttering things I couldn't make out. 

Preston walked in from outside. 

"What were you doing??" I asked. 

"I was washing the blood off the driveway with the hose" he said. 

When I heard him say that it put in perspective how each of them was handling things so differently. Sully was emotional and needed physical affection and love and reassurance. Milan needed space and respect, and Preston needed to feel helpful through his acts of service and also needed some space to process it by physically exerting himself. 

I wanted to force Milan and Preston to stay home. I wanted to hug them and let them cry on my shoulder, but I realized that all 3 of them were dealing with it in different ways.

I needed at that moment to love them each differently in spite of what I felt myself. When you love someone you love them in the way they need to be loved, you don't force your own coping process on them because that's how you think they should handle things.

Everyone handles shit differently when life comes down on you. There is no wrong and right, it's not about age or gender. And to be enlightened and armed with that knowledge is to have the most fulfilling and healthy relationships. 

They left and I stayed with Sully rubbing his back until he calmed down a half hour later. 

I turned on the TV for a distraction, and later in the evening everyone returned to the living room on their own terms. When they were receptive to it I was able to love them the only way I knew how; with affection and words of encouragement. I reminded them that Lennox was an old man and lived a nearly full life. I asked them to focus on the memories and not his absence in the days ahead. I told Sully what a great dog owner he was. 

And I shared something someone had told me earlier in the evening that I thought was so appropriate: 

"Everyone knows on the first day they get a pet, that someday they will have to say goodbye."

Sully has been robbed of so many things over the past year and a half due to his treatment for Leukemia. I am nervous that he will become depressed. He was so close with Lennox, we are going to have to fill the void.

The man who was speeding down the block in the pickup truck and hit him saw us off when we left for the hospital and he returned later in the evening to apologize again. I am glad my kids were able to get that closure and saw that there is still good in humanity. I'm not sure how destiny connected him with the event, but I'm sure there is a lesson learned for him. I can't imagine how he felt standing in my driveway with the kids crying over their bleeding dog. 

On a lighter note; we love everyone in our neighborhood, but coincidentally the only asshole on our block stood on his lawn shaking his head when the dog was hit and the kids said he didn't even come over to offer help before I arrived. The same "Karen" that calls the town on his neighbors that park on the street. He hated the fact that our dog was trained to piss at the curb. Another hollow man. 


 

1 comment:

  1. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I can’t even imagine how you must all feel. Lennox sounds like he was an amazing dog and a Huge comfort to you all. I’m glad you were there to console the kids.

    ReplyDelete

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