Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Gone but never forgotten

I often receive extremely touching emails from my readers. Especially during these many long months as the pandemic continues to keep us from our "normal lives." I'm honored that so many people have found comfort through the escape of my stories. That I receive emails from readers is not all that odd, after all I do encourage people to write, but to hear that my "little scribblings" have brought joy, or comfort, or a release from pain is something I never expected when I started down this windy road of writing.

Some of the letters tear at my heart. People tell me of the anguish they have experienced, and while I've spent decades penning my tales, I often find myself at a loss for words--not knowing how to express my appreciation for them reaching out and how inadequate I feel to respond. 

A recent email came to me from Leslie, who shared the sad news that her younger sister will soon lose her beloved companion Haddy (named after Hadrian Blackwater). And she requested a short memorial for Haddy. Hence the purpose of this post.

Our family has suffered this pain many times, but no one experiences it quite so acutely as my loving wife Robin, who upon each passing laments the injustice of a life so short. With each passing, Robin vows to never get another dog because the pain is too great...and yet, before long she opens her heart once more, knowing the scales are more than balanced: the joy of even a short time together will far outweigh the crushing agony she experiences with each loss.

So this post is for Teresa & Elizabeth, in the hope that this tribute can bring you some comfort. I'm sharing with my readers some pictures that Leslie sent of Haddy. What a fine boy he was, I'm sure!

As I mentioned, words often fail me at such times, and in these cases, I turn to those who are wiser than myself. I don't know who first said it, but I think this sentiment is in the heart of every dog lover when their friend has departed.

“I loved you your whole life. I’ll miss you for the rest of mine”

In closing, I'll turn to George Graham Vest (December 6, 1830 – August 9, 1904). An odd person for me to tip my hat to because there is much that he stood for that I stand against. But as with most people, there is almost always common ground to be found, and I find that we share the belief that a dog truly is man's best friend.  George was, among other things, a lawyer, and in the closing arguments of a trial in October 1869 (while arguing a case seeking damages for the killing of a dog) he said the following:

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens."

So, although I never met this particular Haddy, I bid you safe travels to wherever your soul will travel. Here's hoping for rich green fields and rabbits to chase until you and your loved ones can be reunited. I know you'll be dutifully waiting for that day.

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