Fiona Apple has posted another one of her wonderful open letters to fans on her Facebook page, but this time, it brings sad news: Fiona Apple’s 14-year-old rescue dog Janet is dying of a tumor in her chest, and she needs to cancel the South American leg of her tour to be with her in her final days.
In the long, heartfelt, poetic, handwritten letter, Fiona talks about how Janet has been with her since she was 21 (she’s 35 now), through numerous relationships, recording sessions, intense times, ups, downs, etc. She can’t take her on tour with her, she explains, because she has a disease that requires daily injections, and it sounds like she’s too old and frail to travel, anyway. She movingly describes Janet as “my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor,” as well as “the one who taught me what love is,” and muses a little on animals’ peace with the end of life.
But it’s the last part that really has me bawling like a baby:
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 to pick which 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 and friendship.
I am the woman who stays home and bakes Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend.
And helps her be comfortable, and comforted, and safe, and 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 and 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 reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel.
And I am asking for your blessing.
I’ll be seeing you.
The whole beautiful thing is available here; read it if you’re not afraid to have a good cry. My heart goes out to Fiona and her furry companion in this difficult and super sad time. She’s right to cancel the tour dates, in my opinion. The needs of one’s friends (human and animal) should come first in situations like these.