Jakey, four years ago, you came into my life. Four months ago you died. This is not the gotcha letter I thought I’d be writing.
I still pretend that you’re here. I can’t seem to let go yet. I don’t know, I just figured since the universe was so hard on you, almost all at once, that it would at least give us time together after we made it through.
I was wrong.
I’m still haunted by your last year, how many times I said over and over that next year will be better bud. We didn’t get a next year. Spinal cancer had other plans.
It’s not fair.
However, I would choose love and loss every time over never loving at all. Loving you was worth every heartache that came after losing you.
Four years ago we became a little family. To say I never expected you is to say the sun provides light. You snuck in and my life and Melvin’s life was proven to be incomplete because you, in fact, completed us. That one little puzzle piece that we didn’t know was missing, was you. You became the humor in my life. No one has brought me as much laughter as you have.
Where Melvin taught me what unconditional love was, you taught me how to live it. You made me see challenges as things we were meant to overcome. Before you, I would have seen a paralyzed dog or a blind dog and thought poor thing. But through your lens, life became more about what we could achieve, not about what we couldn’t do. You gave me a purpose that changed me at my core. I already knew I was put on this earth to love you and Melvin, but I was also to make sure you knew your opportunities in life were endless.
We won and yet, you’re not here, so I have to hold onto that win even in loss. I’m sitting in my office and I’m still telling myself you are on the couch. Of course if you were actually on the couch I’d hear you barking and snarling because Doug would be driving you bonkers!
You and I are so much alike. I didn’t realize how much until after Melvin died and you and I grieved in the same exact way. Needing space, then needing each other, then needing space. In our last year, that year without him, you are the only living creature that understood exactly how I felt. You and I spoke through silent glances. Our very own special language. When I lost you, I lost that beautiful connection. I had to bear losing you on my own.
I will likely never care for anyone to the extent I cared for you. I still miss nurturing you. My hands still reach for you. I still wake up in the middle of the night to check on you. Even though you’re gone, I still need to be your mom. Our beautiful relationship continues, I just have to be patient as it evolves.
Something tells me you sent Doug. Not because he has crazy energy and you’d get a good laugh out of it (although I know this to be true), not because he tries to eat my feet (still not funny bud), and not because the house was so lonely (good God I’d never felt so alone). I think you sent Doug because he is so much like young-Melvin was. Not nearly as loving as Melvin (we’ll give him time on that) but he was the closest thing you could send me that would remind me of Melvin being here to get me through the loss of you. I know you love all things Melvin. It makes sense you’d want me to have a reminder of him as my emotions flood over you.
Jake, you will always make my heart swell. I love you in a billion different ways. I loved your sour smell, your googly eyes, your love of Melvin’s butt. I loved that in the early days, you’d stomp your rear leg to crank out meatballs and as your life progressed, you began to leave them more covertly. I loved all 31 billion of your noises. I loved your grumpy expression. I loved buying rugs for you. And diapers. I miss your pee. I loved your glance that said I love you and feed me all at once. I love Jake love. There is nothing else like it in the whole world. I know that Melvin and I were your puzzle piece too. My life took a turn with you, I would never go back. Four years ago, we said hello forever. We were meant to be.
I feel you next to me, watching me. I can almost hear you scooting along side of me. That makes me smile.
Happy Gotcha Day, Jake. I love you, bug.