This past week I had to let my beautiful companion of 13 years go. She was only in real pain for a few hours until my vet returned from tending to cows. I was fortunate enough to lie with my body wrapped around her and her lovely head in my arms during that time. She was awake, alert, wagging her tail and putting up the best front that she could. Unfortunately, the x-rays revealed an enormous tumor above her heart that was pressing against her trachea and spine. She only had a few days the vet said and she was in obvious pain.

I told my vet she’d already told me it was time to go that morning. And she had, with one painful look into my eyes. She’d told me that it was time – that I needed to let her go. In fact, she’d told me that a couple nights before when I couldn’t rouse her to come upstairs to sleep on my bed. I’d said my goodbyes that night, but when I rose to leave her she struggled to her feet and I held onto her crying and begging her not to leave me. I knew it was selfish, but I didn’t understand at the time how selfish.

You see, I’d gotten a new pup just a week prior and I thought she was giving up on me. I thought I’d hurt her in the worst way possible. So I was begging her to not give up and to stay with me. I told her how I had room in my life and heart for both of them. What I didn’t know was that it was her body giving up, not her heart. 

I am grateful for the knowledge that her body was what failed her, but it does not ease the pain of her passing. This is a letter to my dear sweet Bella, the kind of companion you are blessed to have once-in-a-lifetime.

Bella

We had some amazing times together and no one can ever take that away from us. What we shared was a bond that I’ve never known with any human being in my life. People have come and gone in my life, always leaving. You never left. And, I know that in your heart you weren’t ready to leave. If your heart could’ve sustained you, we would still be together. But, your stupid body failed you. I know now, after seeing the condition of your body that your heart pushed you to stay with me as long as it could. Thank you for that. You knew how much I needed you.

My heart is broken Bella and the pain I feel enormous – at times seeming more than I can bear. But, you know what my responsibilities are in my life. I must persevere. I understand now, though, how two people who’ve shared a life together can die just moments or hours apart. Were things different I would not want to be here without you to share my journey. But, my life is much more complex than that and we both knew you would be the first to go. Still, I take comfort knowing that I will see you again and that always you are in my heart.

Mostly, I take comfort in the memories we made together. So many images over so many landscapes and you were there for me in all of them. Always you gave me comfort, instilled courage, and lent me strength. Because of you I am here today, strong again, able to be the mother that I need to be for my two little bugs. I can’t imagine embarking on the journey I began nearly six years ago without you by my side. And, while I feel such loneliness deep inside, I know that I am never really alone. You are in me.

God, I will miss you my dear sweet dog. I will try to love this new little guy and give him a chance to fill your shoes. But, always I will see you watching over us, knowing that he’s just trying to occupy a space that is forever yours.

I’ve lived and loved enough to know that will change, but right now, in this moment, I want you to know that is how I feel.

All my love – always my dear sweet Piglet. May there be ample water where you are now and lots of dirt to roll in after. Goodbye my love.

Andre

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