I was tumbling when the gym receptionist got a call from my dad. She walked out onto the floor and told my coach to have me come to the desk. I went to the desk and watched her anxious eyes as she said, “Your father is on the phone for you.” As I brought the phone up to my ear, I was puzzled about why he would interrupt my practice to speak with me but then he said, “Lizzie, I just got to the vet with Boomer, when we were playing in the park…,” his voice cracked and he paused then continued to say, “a car hit him.” I was in shock. How could something that was so normal, so routine, go so wrong; what were the chances? I didn’t know what to do and my body was numb. My mom came to pick me up shortly after I put the phone down and we rushed to the vet, both sobbing in the car in fear and anticipation. We got there and saw dad and then, Boomer, lying on a table.
“He’s gone,” said my dad, crying, with his eyes glued to the floor. Boomer’s body was so still; he used to twitch in his sleep so I had truly never seen him like this. I kept looking at him, hoping by some chance he would open his eyes and wag his tail at the sight of me. I couldn’t believe it was true; he was really gone.
The drive home was silent with occasional sniffles that came from my mom. I was shaking, completely unable to process what had just happened. I thought about how happy I was at gymnastics just a couple hours earlier and now I was absolutely devastated and filled with sadness. I thought about what skill I was doing the moment that Boomer ran into the street, chasing his ball; I don’t know why I did this. I thought to myself, if I had stayed home from practice, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Thoughts like that ran through my mind until we got home. I was filled with so much regret.
I got home, ran to my room, locked the door, and buried myself in my bed. I cried and screamed into my pillow. I had never been so overcome with sadness. I couldn’t fall asleep for hours, there was no way to heal the deepening pain in my chest.