” Well my big man, its been a year without you. Tomorrow is the calendar date. But today is the day. Today was the Friday last year, a cold, wet day, that you made my decision for me, and made it clear it was the end of the line….. I won’t ever forget it. How could I? You were everything to me. You did everything for me. God knows, you did many things just the hell for yourself (smile). You were always there, my whole adult life, looking out for me, taking care of business – as they say.
Boy its been chaos since you went! I know now how much respect you commanded from the other dogs. Every new puppy fell into line immediately. Not a cross word between dogs. Not a moment when anyone else here wondered if they might just ‘try and be bossdog’… never once. Yet I never saw you do a thing. Lift a finger. Tan a backside. Raise your voice. How did you DO that? You amaze me. The sweet dogs here jostle and hump and leg lift and flail around trying to decide, from one day to the next, who might take the reins. ‘She who must be obeyed’ was and is always, ultimately, me. But the dogs needed a govenor who spoke their language too, and you, my darling man, were him. Always. We were a team. And they are lost without you. There is no obvious replacement leader. There is no other you. But then did I ever think there could be?
Most days I speak to you. Every day I think of you. I wonder if that will ever change? If one day suddenly three days will have passed and I suddenly realise I hadn’t thought of you? I don’t know if that is a terrible or a comforting thought that it might happen one day.
Allan says he always thought you though he was a bit of a loser. I’m sure you didn’t – (slight laugh). I know he says you always looked at him as if to say ‘Oh right, Ok… so how long will THIS one last then? Don’t think you are going to order me around, Matey…’ So he never did. He lived in terror that something might happen to you whilst he was meant to be in charge. And he was probably right. You always were a ‘make or break’ feature in my life. If you had time for someone they were probably pretty alright. If you took a while to warm to someone it was always a pretty good indication that I should be sending them packing.
Dyl, I miss you. I’ve never missed something or someone like I miss you. Its a dull ache. Its hard AND its easy. I have so much of you here, both in the beautiful pictures up we have of you and in the other dogs (I’ve got your grandaughter now – shes damn well just as stubborn as you always were! Are you SURE you aren’t actually inside her somewhere because I catch her looking at me some days and its so bloody familiar! ‘Shan’t! Can’t! Won’t!’) Someone sent me a picture a few weeks ago of one of your sons. They had just lost him to old age at 12 years old and it was like staring at you. He was your clone. You know i’m not religious but somehow I hope you got to walk past him whereever you are, because I’d love to see YOUR double take. He really was your clone. Sometimes your daughter here sits and looks at me. I stare back at her and see you. She is so unlike you in her personality, but so like you in her little mannerisms. The way she gets vocal when we have a fight on the floor. The way she will mutter in the back of the car when we turn down the lane to the shoot. Her play-bow to the other dogs. Her absolute perfect timekeeping as regards dinner and her hugely pointed prompts when that time has ticked past!
Nothing has faded. Nothing has left me. I don’t fight to keep it there it just sits at ease with me. Maybe the photos keep it fresh in my memory. I prefer to think you are just locked into my minds eye from staring at you one million times in your 14 years, thinking ‘Is he really mine? My god. He is so bloody beautiful….’
‘He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.’
………….. I did used to wonder how I would get through the darker days without you in my life. Allan now holds my hand on the days when I used to lean on you. He does a perfect job. You’ll be pleased by that.
So for now, sleep well my angel. I’m not crying soppy tears as I write this, they are just the tears of someone who was never as strong as you. You were quiet and kind and calm and solid. You cannot know what you gave me. So losing you has taken away more than you can know too. But i’m good. I’m alright. I just…. miss you…always.