I came to you in a dream last night. You were so happy to see me that it woke you up. You looked for me and then you were sad because the dream wasn’t real. But it was real. I was there with you when you slept. I will always be there.
I watched you crawl out of bed, make coffee, take the dogs out, and stop by my spot under the desk by yours to say “Good Morning.” I smiled at you, but you couldn’t see me because of your tears. It will get easier and time will heal your heart. I will be there with you every step of the way. I will always be there.
I listened to you curse the universe for taking me from you too soon. But would there ever have been a time when your heart didn’t break? Be happy for the time we had together. You rescued me from a puppy mill at five weeks old. You saved me. I had the best life ever because you loved me and I loved you. I will always love you. I will always be in your heart and by your side.
I felt your heart breaking as you pulled on your clothes, preparing for this last thing you had to do for me. I followed you to the car, climbed in, and rested my head on your shoulder, as I always did. We drove together, listening to James Taylor sing “Fire and Rain,” and I saw you smile, remembering how we listened to James on our trips to the beach. I kissed your cheek before you got out of the car and took those long slow steps into the building. I didn’t wait in the car, but followed you, knowing you would need me there. I stood by your side, when the vet handed you the pretty wooden box. You tried so hard not to cry, but sadness overwhelmed you. We walked back to the car, and the whole time I was telling you, “I’m not in that box. I’m right here with you, where I will always be.”
We went to the pet store, where I laughed as I watched you overcompensate for your sadness by purchasing too much stuff for the kids still at home. I’m sure they will appreciate the thought, but don’t spoil them too much. I did notice that you avoided the treats that I loved. Buddy likes them too, so the next trip, go ahead and buy them. In time, being reminded of me will bring laughter and not tears, as long as you remember I am always with you.
When we came home, I saw your reaction, when Freddie saw the wooden box on your desk. He sat down beside it and you wondered if he knew the ashes were my earthly body. He’s a cat. He saw a box. Not sure it goes any deeper than his love for all things box shaped. He did linger, even after you shook his food bag. So, maybe he already knows what I’m trying to tell you. I am here with you and will be always.
I saw you reach for the bag of my hair you saved. I saw you open it and smell my scent. I saw you breakdown for a moment, before you closed the bag and slipped it inside the wooden box. Leave it there, until the day you can open it and smile. Believe me, I know scent is a strong emotional trigger. I could track you to the end of the world, but I don’t have to look for you, because I’m right here.
I just have a few more things to say to you. I know you are feeling guilty for hurting so much, when so many others have sorrows you deem to be more worthy of grief. Grief is not measured in how other people perceive loss. Your loss is your own. You need not qualify your sorrow or compare your loss with others. I was such a big part of your life; it is understandable that you are devastated. Give it time. You will heal and I’ll be there every step of the way.
Now, about this pain you have for putting me to sleep. Honestly, I was so ready to rest. I held on for you, but I really needed a nap. The vet was telling you the truth, when she said that I went easier than she had ever seen one go. I knew you were holding me. I felt you, heard you, and if I could talk, I would have told you thank you for letting me go. I’m free of pain now. I can run and jump again. I can go anywhere I want, but I choose to stay with you. I’ll see you through this, just like I saw you through the last twelve years.
I heard you say that you loved me too much, that you would never love another like that because it was too painful to lose me. Hey, I loved you more than chicken, and that is saying a lot. Dry your eyes, silly woman. You could never lose me. Simply say my name and I’ll be there. As long as you keep me in your heart, I will be with you always. You just have to believe.
Now, go write another book.