Fiona Apple: Appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time

Singer Fiona Apple and Janet

Singer Fiona Apple has canceled her scheduled tour of South America to take care of her belovèd dog, Janet, in the pet's last days. She wrote this letter to her fans explaining why.

I have a dog, Janet, and she's been ill for about 2 years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She's almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then — an adult, officially — and she was my kid.

She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face.

She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders.

She's almost 14 and I've never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She's a pacifist.

Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We've lived in numerous houses, and joined a few makeshift families, but it's always really been just the two of us.

She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.

She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me, all the time we recorded the last album.

The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she's used to me being gone for a few weeks, every 6 or 7 years.

She has Addison's Disease, which makes it more dangerous for her to travel, since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.

Despite all this, she's effortlessly joyful & playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She is my best friend, and my mother, and my daughter, my benefactor, and she's the one who taught me what love is.

I can't come to South America. Not now. When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference.

She doesn't even want to go for walks anymore.

I know that she's not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That's why they are so much more present than people.

But I know she is coming close to the time where she will stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything. She'll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.

I just can't leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I'm afraid she'll die and I won't have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.

Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to decide what socks to wear to bed.

But this decision is instant.

These are the choices we make, which define us. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love & friendship.

I am the woman who stays home, baking Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable & comforted & safe & important.

Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life that keeps us feeling terrified & alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments.

I need to do my damnedest, to be there for that.

Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I've ever known.

When she dies.

So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and I am revelling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I'm asking for your blessing.

I'll be seeing you.



I gently put my paw on you


I was with you at my grave today.
You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you
that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you--
I smiled and said, "It's me."

  --(If you know the name of the author of this poem, or the source of the image, could you please send it to me?) You can find the whole poem here.

Maurice Rollinat: The doe mourns her fawn

The doe brays in the moonlightDoe_in_moonlight
and cries till her eyes are melting:
her delicious little fawn
has disappeared in the brown night.

To tell her sad luck
to the forest of her forefathers,
the doe brays in the moonlight
and cries till her eyes are melting.

But no answer, none,
to her long anxious calls!
And with her neck stretched out to the skies,
mad with love and rancor,
the doe brays in the moonlight.

        --Maurice Rollinat (1846-1903)

La biche brame au clair de lune
et pleure à se fondre les yeux:
son petit faon délicieux
a disparu dans la nuit brune
Pour raconter son infortune
à la forêt de ses aïeux,
la biche brame au clair de lune
et pleure à se fondre les yeux.

Mais aucune réponse, aucune,
à ses longs appels anxieux !
Et, le cou tendu vers les cieux,
folle d'amour et de rancune,
la biche brame au clair de lune.

Matthias Claudius: When the dog died


Alard is gone, and my eyes are flowing
with tears of melancholy!
There he lies at my feet,
                the good beast!

He was so friendly, stuck to me like burrs
until he died of his palsy.
I wanted to save him from death,
            I could not.

At the oak tree he often sat with me,
in the quiet night, alone with me;
Alard, I will not forget you,
and I will cover you lightly with earth

Where you often sat with me, by our oak,
the friend of my daydreams.—
Moon, shine softly on his body!
                He was true to me.

  --Matthias Claudius (1740-1815)

Als der Hund tot war

Alard ist hin, und meine Augen fliessen
Mit Tränen der Melancholie!
Da liegt er tot zu meinen Füssen,
Das gute Vieh!

Er tat so freundlich, klebt’ an  mich wie Kletten
Noch als er starb an seiner Gicht.
Ich wollt ihn gern vom Tode retten,
Ich konnte nicht.

Am Eichbaum ist er oft mit mir gesessen,
In stiller Nacht mit mir allein;
Alard, ich will dich nicht vergessen,
Und schar dich ein,

Wo du mit mir oft sass’st, bei unsrer Eiche,
Der Freundin meiner Schwärmerei.—
Mond, scheine sanft auf seine Leiche!
Er war mir treu.