Yesterday was a difficult day for our neighbor, Mercedes. Her husband has been in and out of the hospital battling cancer since we moved into our apartment in July. One of her dogs, Mini, has also been sick for a few months.
In the months since we’ve lived there, we’ve become close friends with Mercedes and her husband. Mercedes only speaks Spanish, but we do our best to understand and rely on the translators on our iPhones to communicate. Regardless, she watches our dog when needed and we return the favor in any way possible, including driving her and Mini to the vet earlier this week.
Mini had to stay overnight at the vet for tests, and I drove Mercedes to the vet to pick Mini up on Tuesday. Mercedes discovered that Mini had diabetes. The vet sent her and the dog home with insulin shots and a $400 bill.
Throughout the night, Mini threw up every time she drank water. Mercedes asked if I would take her and Mini back to the vet the next day to put her to sleep. She asked with strength, but I know she was distraught inside.
So, yesterday around 11 a.m., with Mini bundled up in a red towel, we drove back to the vet. Before getting out of the car, Mercedes looked down at Mini, and in Spanish, said goodbye. By this point, my heart was breaking and the tears were almost coming.
As the vet proceeded to take Mercedes into the room where Mini would be put to sleep, I asked Mercedes if she would like me to come with her, and she said yes. As I waited for them to bring Mini into the room, I thought to myself how I reached this point in my life. Here I am in a room with a woman who I would do anything for, trying to be strong for her, yet we don't even speak the same language and our communication isn't always together, yet the bond is stronger than that.
Once Mini was in the room, laying on her side, I couldn't hold it in anymore. The tears started to flow as they injected the fluid that would end Mini's suffering. It wasn't I who was the strong one, but Mercedes. Yes the tears flowed from her eyes, but she was there to comfort me, when it should have been the other way around.
When we left, Mercedes talked about the good times with Mini, but in Spanish of course. All the meantime, I just kept thinking about how important it is to support and help each other. Life is too short not to.