This is a note I wrote my brother some years back when I lost my dachshund Sweetles to cancer in 2004. He wanted to know how she was doing…

” Sweetles reached the end of her struggle against cancer on July 10th.

Her earthly remains, in a position of rest, were creamated on the 11th.

From the onset of symptoms to the inevitable, I had a little less than three months to enjoy her, tend to her, to praise and love her.

There is a hole in my heart that cannot be filled.

The worst part was taking her to the room and holding her as the gift of life left her body.

Before the eager glint in her eye vanished, she was still licking and barking — not as she did in her youth, but with a growing weakness leading to a gruesome end save human intervention — the time to enter heaven chosen, in part, so she would “die with her boots on.”

It was the humane thing to do.

Still, I can’t help thinking that on some level, I killed her even though I know cancer was the cause.

If I had noticed sooner, force fed her a little more or a little less, authorized more proceedures or stopped while we seemed ahead, etc. etc. etc. maybe she would have survived.

Thinking like this can lead to nothing good because where does it end.

This is part of the bargin I suppose.

Parents know they shouldn’t outlive their children.

But as a parent to child that was Sweetles, I knew the day would come to say good bye, no more pain, no more hunger, no more fear — only love and the promise that the Lord willing, we will meet again, renew our friendship and enjoy it forever.

With a very broken heart, I am,

Your brother,

Bob from VA