Beloved Saint Pyrenees, Charly Marcum, 9, went to heaven October 9, 2017 after succumbing to the painful effects of bone cancer. She is survived by her treasured family members, including parents, Chris and Julia, and her spunky sisters, Greta, Faye and Polly, whom she spent all her days protecting, loving, playing with and waiting for them to come home.
Charly came into our lives when we really needed her. We had been struggling with secondary infertility for years and our oldest, Greta, was lonely and longing for a sibling. Charly became her first friend and sister, and stole the hearts of our entire family. Now, just weeks after our third daughter was born and completed our family, Charly had to leave us. It doesn’t feel fair, but at the same time, it feels like a miracle. She carried us through so many years of heartache, filling our home with love and warmth and left us when she felt her work was done.
Last Tuesday, when we woke up, Chris found Charly on the couch in the living room. He was immediately taken back because Charly is not allowed, nor has she ever been, on the furniture. “Charly? What are you doing?” I came running and knew right away that something was not right. She had arthritis for a little over a year and we treated it with medication, but this felt different. When she hopped off the couch, her back leg was swollen and lame. We made an appointment for her the next day and the vet confirmed our worst fear–bone cancer, advanced. Her somewhat normal limp that came and went from arthritis disguised the cancer and now it was spreading quickly. We selfishly begged for one more weekend with her (by the time Monday came, her breathing was labored and one of her front legs had also developed a tumor) and we made the most of it. Chris cooked her all her favorite foods. It snowed–her favorite! We took one more road trip to the mountains. We took family pictures and stayed up extra late stroking her long, soft fur. Monday still came too fast.
Chris and I both agreed that losing Charly was the greatest loss we have ever experienced. She exuded a non-stop pure love that we took for granted and now that it is no longer there, it physically hurts. Our house feels cold and empty and devastatingly quiet. We miss the sound of her lapping up her water. The sigh she let out every time she laid down. Her dog door opening and closing. The sound of her collar jingling when she scratched her own chin. The dining room chairs scooting across the tile floors as she tries to get whatever food Faye dropped at meals. Her soft little bark she’d give us, almost as if saying, “Sorry to interrupt..” when she needed to go out and we forgot to re-open her dog doors. The sound of her nails on the floor. Her snoring that rumbled the entire house and relaxed us all throughout the day. It’s all quiet now. It’s hard. And cold and empty and quiet.
We stayed up late on Monday, all snuggled in our bed with the girls and told our favorite Charly stories. Like when she stole my Christmas stocking two years in a row and buried it in the snow, not to be found until spring. Or when she spooked a couple of cows at my in-laws house so badly that they charged through the fence. Or the first time Chris tried to give her a bath and could barely get all 150 lbs of her IN the tub, let alone a much more slippery version out of it. And that time she came running down the stairs so fast, barreling into the girls room, we all jumped up and screamed because we thought we were going to get trampled. We also shared what we would miss most–the way she followed me around all day and would sit at my feet wherever I was working or on top of them if I was especially cold. She’d park it under Faye’s chair during meals, happily cleaning up after every meal. The way she was always waiting at the front door when we got home. And somehow, we’re even going to miss the way she would bust into our bedroom every night while we were watching a show and the door would land right in front of the TV, requiring us to step over her and shut the door until she decided she was sick of the show and wanted out again. Cue another courteous soft little bark. Every night.
While she can be spotted in so many photos of our home and projects we’ve done with brands–the very last photo I took of Charly, the day she died, was on the Charly sofa we designed with Interior Define. We named it after her because it was big and cozy and family-friendly, just like her. It’s comforting to know her spirit lives on in our home, and in the homes of so many others.
Just when we felt our family was complete, it suddenly doesn’t feel whole again. But now we’re not looking to add a dog to heal the wounds of a longed-for child–we’re aching to heal the wounds of a missing dog. Until we meet again, Charly. <3
We’re so grateful for all the condolences we received over the last week. I would love to put together a post of all the helpful, thoughtful, wonderful things that have aided in our grief during this difficult time. Look for that in the coming weeks.