I love you. You are one of the greatest gifts of my life.
It has been one year since I held you in my arms. I really don’t want to be marking this day on the calendar. I just want you here. Our time was cut way too short, Jakey. I’m not sure I will ever makes sense of that. But, thoughts of you rarely make me sad. In fact, just the vision of you, brings on a flood of glorious joy.
You are my sunshine.
You were meant to be mine. There is no doubt. Your first family was to give up on you so that I could see you through your ‘special opportunities’. They were not joy warriors. They would not have been able to make sense of you like Melvin and I did.
You needed to know my love. In the process, I found more love than I ever knew existed.
You are the closest I will have ever come to having a child. Not just because I changed your diapers and carried you, but because out of all the dogs I have had, you are the only one that relied on me completely. I doubt I will ever nurture anyone as much as I did you.
I was honored to be chosen to show you the way. But guess what little monkey, I think you guided me far more than I guided you.
Those months of intense grief that we shared after Melvin died, are forever, only ours. I would not have made it through if it were not for you. We grieved in exactly the same way and we needed space at the same time. Melvin was the Yin to your Yang but I was happy to fill in when it was just you and me. While I would have preferred you stayed here with me, I know that if given the choice between here and there, you would choose Melvin every time. Trust me. I get it. I love you even more for understanding so perfectly what Melvin love is all about.
Jakey, I love you completely, and beautifully and eternally. It’s a love that is woven through my bones. It’s a crazy love, that even has me missing your damn meatballs sometimes.
You were not an easy puzzle to solve. I hardly ever knew what to make of you. I felt pretty confident, daily, that I had no idea of what you wanted or needed. You were my little cinder block. Impossible to read, unpredictable as F, and the funniest living creature that I will ever have the joy of laughing at/with/near.
I miss you. Some days, it’s still too much to put into perspective.
I’m not mad that life dealt you the hand it did. I mean, I’d obviously prefer you lived a struggle free life, filled with joy and zoomies and peanut butter (and your odd carpet love making). But that life may not have lead you to me. Sometimes, the road to true joy and unconditional love is paved by lessons in perseverance. That is our beautiful story, Jakey.
We earned our joy. We earned our love. I would only change that you stayed with me longer. It felt like there was not enough time with you. I will always feel that you deserved way more than eight years on this earth. And this earth, deserved more you. There was just never enough Jakey to go around! You brought the noise and the funk, and you were this tiny puzzle piece that when snapped into your forever spot, made our world come alive.
You made everything make sense.
Your eyes. I would give anything to stare into them (one at a time of course) again. But that is what all those photos and videos are for bud. I can’t be a crazy dog person without admitting I have over 40,000 photos in my library. That library of memories of you and Melvin, is my most cherished possession.
There is something very soul changing about caring for a special needs dog. I remember how scared you were when your legs first gave out but Melvin rushed to you and I watched as you inhaled his love. I reached for you as your legs were swimming and you began to panic. You exhaled and melted into my arms and I knew and you knew and Melvin knew that no matter what was to come, we would always be there for you. Caring for you the last year of your life, with your eye, all the skin infections and the cancer, I learned so much from you. For all the shit that this universe dumped on you that last year, you responded with joy.
You and me, we won.
You and Melvin and me were meant to be. We are, and always will be, that little family who grew love and watched joy bloom.
Also, I know it’s you who watches over Doug. I know this with absolute certainty. You are the perfect big brother for him. You guiding him makes my heart happy. I only wish you were here to torment him in person. You would be the ultimate boss of him, bud! And, if you are taking request, calm him down any day now!
Jakey, my love for you lives on in so many beautiful ways. You changed me. I scroll my Facebook feed and I see a dog with no eyes or a dog dragging their legs and the old me would have said poor thing but Jake’s mom knows that there is nothing but opportunity in those photos. Because of you, I see the beautiful in the broken, I see opportunity for joy when faced with struggle. When the journey gets hard, I see you, and I’m reminded that all the obstacles, and all the twists and turns that occur, are part of my beautiful life unfolding. I know that you and Melvin and Max will always show me the way.
You know who doesn’t miss you? All the neighborhood wildlife. But they are stupid so who cares what they think.
I’m so grateful that I was chosen to love you. You are my beautiful purpose. My wonky, little-monkey. My googly-eyed, chicken nugget.
I love you. Your love lives on, in me. Forever.
Photo Credit: Kate With A Camera / Kate Juliet Photography
Photo credit: Kate Juliet Photography