It’s been a year since I last saw you. One full rotation around the sun, 366 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes. One full rotation around the sun too long. 366 days too many. 8760 hours since your last kiss. And 525,600 minutes of having an unfixable hole in my heart.
You came into my life on August 17, 2002. It was a normal, lazy Saturday morning until my parents’ next-door neighbor knocked on their back door and asked if we happened to know if anyone who was looking to adopt a puppy. I looked down. You looked up. And that was it. It was love at first sight for both of us, I think.
I wasn’t looking to adopt a dog. I still lived with my parents. But I begged and pleaded and eventually, they gave in making me promise that you would move out once Daddy graduated from college and moved back to Maryland. What they didn’t know was that they’d fall in love with you too. Your adoption created Grandmommy and Granddaddy, since we had to differentiate between me (Mommy) and them. Even now, with you gone, my children call them that. My brother’s daughter calls them that. Because of you! How’s that for a legacy?
I’m pretty sure that everyone who knew you loved you. How could they not? You were so happy, always always smiling. You were so laid back. You were so loving. It sounds so cliche to say that you were my best friend, but you were really were. You were so much more than just a dog. A lot of people won’t get that, even if they say that they do. Even if they think that they do. They don’t, not really, and they never will.
They will never understand the bond we had. They weren’t there on our quick jaunts to the snowball stand or the road trips to Virginia Tech to go see Daddy. They weren’t there when I’d cling to you after a particularly hard day or a big fight. And you’d just let me. You’d stay there as long as I needed you and just let me hug you. God, I miss that.
I miss everything about you. I miss that dent in between your eyes that was my favorite place to kiss. I miss how you’d walk over to and nudge my elbow up to pet you. I miss how you’d follow me wherever I went. I miss how you’d get so excited at hearing “go look out the window.” “Daddy’s home.” “Do you wanna…” “Grandmommy/Granddaddy/Uncle Robbie’s here!” “Sammie, look – there’s a bunny!” I miss how you’d look back at me when I made you go outside to do your business in the rain. (You were such a priss.) I miss how you loved to go bye-byes and how you would stick your head out the window. I miss how you said “boof” instead of “woof.” There isn’t really anything that I don’t miss about you.
I always said that when you died, I’d lock myself in my room for days and cry and as much as I did want to do that when the time did come, I couldn’t. I had to go on, I had kids to take care of and work to do. I actually surprised myself at how “strong” I was through such a sad time but I think – I hope – you’d have been proud of me. I had (and still have) my moments. Daddy, Grandmommy and Granddaddy gave me a gift certificate to get a stuffed version of you for my birthday that made me burst into tears. Looking at pictures of you has the same effect. Writing this was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written and it still doesn’t feel like enough. You deserve a book or a song for everything you were to me.
You left us on Friday, June 12, 2015, just two weeks shy of your 13th birthday. The kids traced their handprints so you wouldn’t be alone. We had you cremated along with the handprints, and Baby and Hedgehog, your two favorite toys. Your ashes sit on top of our mantle in a beautiful marble urn that says “Our Sweet Girl” with your name and dates on it, and one day it’ll be buried with me so we’ll be together forever. Grandmommy even had your paw print turned into a pendant that I wear every day, so you’re never really far from my heart. I usually go to sleep each night holding the pendant, remembering the 12 years and 8 months that I had it all.
I love you, Sam, and I miss you more than I could ever put into words. I hope you know that somehow. And I pray that we will be reunited one day.