To Our Big Ol’ Baby
5/1/1998 – 10/14/2013
(originally written on 10/14/2013)
The day that I have dreaded for 15 years came and went today. We said our goodbyes through our mutual tears. Yes, I saw the tear that you shed as you looked at me while you laid on your bed in front of the fireplace, unable to move anything but your sweet head. It moved me so much to wipe that tear away from your face, and I hope you saw how much I loved you in that special moment. I have cried buckets of tears since leaving you at the vet this morning.
The stroke finally took away your ability to move on Sunday evening, but as always, you followed us with your eyes and your heart until we gave you back to God shortly after 9 am this morning in the hands of the doctors that have kept you healthy for us for so many wonderful years. I count it a privilege to have been with you, looking into your sweet, soulful eyes as you finally drifted off to sleep and as your heart finally quit beating about a minute later. While it tore me up to watch you slip away, it also helped me to see your pain and distress leave you as well. For that small blessing in the midst of my grief, I am grateful.
You are as much a part of our family as any person has ever been, and I have loved you just as much as any human being I’ve ever loved. Looking back through pictures of you with our family and friends over the years today kept me in tears, both happy and sad. You were there when our little family was whole, and you remained behind as both kids moved on. You have helped me so much through my empty nest period, and I just don’t know how I will go on and be happy without your sweetness and companionship in my life every day. You were always there for me, ready for a big hug, and you have been my constant daily companion. You were our first big dog, and you were our first big-hearted four-legged love. I am going to try very hard to remember your example of unconditional love every single day, too. I’ve never met a being, either dog or human, that showed this kind of love so consistently. No doubt, God gave you to us as an example of His perfect love, so that we could witness it for ourselves and know it is possible.
The memories are so rich and full in this house and in my heart. I will no doubt spend days and weeks in memory with you, but one day, I know my heart will eventually be able to move on just a bit while keeping you in a safe place to comfort me when I need a fuzzy hug from you once again.
I thank you for taking Girly Girl under your “wing” two years ago to show her some of the ropes around the house. She is still just a kid, but with your guidance, she is learning how to love already. I know a lot of that came from you showing her how to love us, and I will do my best to continue to work with her on learning how to love and trust, as she came from a home that apparently didn’t show that kind of love to her before she came to live with us.
Right after you had the stroke and could no longer walk yesterday, it started raining and continued to rain for hours. This morning, when my husband loaded you in the back seat of my car and we took you to the vet, it seemed that the cloudy sky was still so very sad, even though the rain had mostly quit. The dreary clouds have hung in there with no breaks today, and I know that is probably contributing to my overall sadness right now. The first real cold front is moving though, and the leaves are just beginning to change. The plants in the garden are dying off, and it’s time to finish picking the garden this week before the first freeze. Between the rain, the clouds, the evidence all around that nature is preparing to hibernate for a few months very soon, it seemed that God spoke to my heart that his creation is perfect and that your passing was just as it should be right now, at this time. It was your time.
I am absolutely heartbroken over losing you today. I think you may be, too, as it always seemed that you took your job so seriously to love us and always be right with us. We will be fine, but we will always have an empty place in our hearts where you have been.
Please save me a spot in Heaven close to you. I cannot wait to give you a real hug once again and take another long walk with you at my side. You will always be my Big Ol’ Baby, and I will love you forever.