2 Million Dogs – The Blog

Cancer. Touches. Everyone.

Sermons in Stone

Posted by Erich Trapp on June 19, 2011

by Luke Robinson

Republished from the 2 Dogs 2000 Miles blog

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

I love this passage from Will Shakespeare’s As You Like It and for this Father’s Day, I couldn’t find one more appropriate. It speaks to the fascination and beauty found in the simple wonderment of nature. It’s reminiscent of my father who first taught me that and as a dad myself, it’s a lesson my own boys, Hudson and Murphy, always keep me mindful of.

Life is a messy thing but there’s no finer, more effective therapy for it than a good piece of wood in your hand, the path beneath your feet, and your sons at your side.

This Father’s Day for me is a bittersweet celebration. It was one year ago today we walked the final mile into Boston but it’s also Murphy’s last day. Tomorrow he will be given eternal rest.

A few weeks back Murphy’s left eye ruptured and I made the decision to have it surgically removed rather than euthanizing him then. He was still willful, eating healthfully, and in true Murphy tradition, full of piss and vinegar.

It was a controversial decision and one which tore me up internally. I suspected the rupture probably meant the tumor had breached the orbit, a suspicion that was confirmed by the vet during surgery. At most I hoped for a couple of months together and if we were lucky, a few more than that.

Since the surgery, we have seen a deterioration of mobility in his right hind leg which can only mean motor cortex involvement – that the cancer has finally spread to his brain. And though he has had some really good days this week in Eureka Springs and yesterday at 3 Dog Bakery, I know what comes next and that I cannot allow to happen to my boy.

I have no doubt now the decision I made to extricate his eye was medically unsound but it was not an inhumane one. I don’t write this because I feel a need to justify it to anyone. I absolutely don’t give a goddamn what people think about the choices I have made on behalf of Murphy.

I am writing about it because to me this is what being a father means. It means having to make extremely hard decisions often in the absence of any certainty and always in the face of adversity.

A father’s love is the grit and iron will that cannot be ground down even at the end. It’s looking into the eyes of your dying son and finally admitting, “I can’t save you.”

To all of the fathers who have had to say that and to the ones who thankfully haven’t – this is our day.

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7 Responses to “Sermons in Stone”

  1. We honor you, Luke, for your commitment to Murphy every step of his incredible journey–both the grand and the horrific. Throughout it all you have respected your son’s dignity and listened to what he had to say. We pray you find comfort in knowing that along makes you an extraordinary father. Remember, love is eternal. May you find peace.

  2. Rich P. said

    And it is sometimes a son saying to a dying father, “I can’t save you” and we give them the ok to go and be at peace. All my love to you and Murphy, it seems to me he has done things with you in his life that a 1000 other dogs combined have not done in their lives. Peace….

  3. Kimberly said

    Oh my God, Luke, I’m so sorry. You did everything you could for your boy and he knows it too. As I write through my tears, it brings back all the horrific memories of my Lelu. That goddamn cancer! I’m worried about you now and will send good energy your way. May your son find solice with Malcomb now and may you do whatever it takes to relieve your pain. We all alove you, Kim

  4. SandyG. said

    Erich – My heart aches for you and Murphy but I’m sure he is in blessed peace. Thanks for the updates and stories as you went through this struggle. God bless you.
    Kindest regards, Sandy Guile and my two pups Maxwell and Shadow.

  5. Ray Hebert said

    Don’t cry because it is over, Smile because it happened — Dr. Suess
    This simple saying has always comforted me when I have had to let one of my friends cross the Rainbow Bridge and wait for the day when I will join them.

  6. Tracy said

    Luke, We all know you did everything in your power to help Murphy
    and if anyone does judge you ignore it and them. Murphy knows he was loved and you took care of him.I am so sorry for your loss. We had to put our 15 year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi to sleep 3 months ago as he had Cancer and we could not bear to see his quality of life decrease. The love we have for our 4 legged babies is something that cannot be put into words. Please know we are thinking of you all and we are here for you xx

  7. Frances Gaeta said

    I am so sorry to hear about your Murphy Boy .You did everything you could, no doubt about that. And Murphy knew how much you loved him. They know. It’s one of the hardest decisions someone with a beloved pet has to make. We went throught the same thing almost 2 years ago when we had to say goodbye to our beloved 15-year old Lab, Mr. Sammy after having lost my mom earlier in the month. We have a 13-year old Lab (Mr. Max) and although he’s doing well we know the time for him is coming soon.

    You are an incredible and giving human being who has inspired many other people along your journey. I am absolutely sure your Murphy willl be waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge, along with our Mr. Sammy. Take some time to mourn, rest and continue your cause along with Hudson. Murphy will be watching over you to give you strength.

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