“Everyone is taught that angels have wings, but the lucky of us find they have four paws.”
I’ve always vowed to be as real as possible on here, and to help others through my experiences. This is the most painful thing I’ve had to go through and this may be helping me more than you, but if you are or have gone through something similar, I hope you can find peace in my words.
A letter to my beautiful Sierra,
As I sit here at 4am, in my bed, the morning after your passing, I’m at a complete loss for words. My heart is shattered into a million pieces and there is a gaping hole that was once filled with boundless love and joy. The pit in my stomach is as deep as it can go and my heart won’t stop aching. No one and nothing could have ever prepared me for the day that we had to say goodbye. You were the best fifth family member that I could have ever asked for, and I sit here asking why you couldn’t live a life as long as mine. Thirteen long, beautiful, amazing years was not long enough and I’m not sure any amount ever would’ve been.
Remember the time you took the turkey right off the counter at Thanksgiving? Or when you came leaping across the dining table at the old house, because Hershey had decided to do so? I think you thought you were a cat, just like him. Or when you took countless baked goods off of the counter? Cupcakes, bread, cakes, pretzel rolls, you name it. All the times we took you swimming in the cool Tahoe waters. You loved Lake Tahoe, it was one of your favorite places, and you went there at least 15 times. All the times I would come home from school or work completely stressed out and you would just come sit right in my lap or give me sweet kisses, you always just knew. No questions, no words, you just knew. So many car rides, that you would just fall asleep in the back and not complain once. All the puppy and human friends you made, nobody could ever pass you without saying hi. Everyone knew you were the most beautiful. The way you followed Daddy around. It was the most precious thing to see. You loved all of us, but man, when Daddy came home and you would rush as fast as possible to the door, that was love on love. Your warm tongue. Those kisses could cure heartbreak. The way you smiled. I swear, I knew you were smiling and that was pretty much all the time. The amount of Kongs that you tore up? Remember those toys that were “indestructible”? Yeah, not so much, five seconds with you and they were gone. You would always get these crazy fits at night where you just had to run, or moreso, bunny hop. You would just perk up and run and run and run around the house in circles until your burst of energy subsided. You would run so fast, I used to think you would run straight into the walls. The games you and Hershey would play. I know you two loved each other, whether it was clearly apparent all the time or not? I’m not sure, but I always knew you love each other. I have plenty of photos to prove it. The best cuddle buddies there ever was. Your bark. So big, so strong. To any stranger, you would’ve sounded like the biggest dog. But all you really wanted was to lick people to death. You loved everyone. No discrimination, no questions, no proving themselves, you just loved everyone. Something so many humans could learn from you. I remember when we first brought you home and you thought you were bigger than Ryan, Ryan was just merely seven at the time. You thought you were above him in the pecking order of the family, the reality was, you were always at the top of the pecking order.
Your boundless joy and unconditional love are what I will miss the most. You had the sweetest face that was so expressive. You always watched us and always knew what we were thinking. I’m so sorry we couldn’t save you from the cancer. We tried with so many pills a day and chemotherapy. We did everything we could, but you told us it was time to go. It was time to be pain free and cancer free.
Your beautiful heart and strong love and positivity are things that I am going to take into my everyday life. I’m not sure if the pain will ever subside and it’s hard to imagine that I will ever be okay after this, but I am going to do my best to live my life the way you would’ve wanted. Loving on others without judgement and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. You’ve taught me to live in the present and appreciate the now because we never know how long we are going to be given. Your positivity and endless joy are things that I strive to have in my everyday life. The ability to brighten anyone’s day and bring happiness to all, I want to be like that and I want to radiate that. I’m going to tell myself to “be like Sierra,” and “treat others like Sierra.”
Yesterday was the most painful day of my life, but if I can say it was beautiful, it truly was. I saw you, Bear, you’ve really been struggling this past month but you wanted so badly to please us and stick around as long as possible. The tumors in your body were leaving monumental physical marks and you let us give you countless pills to try to stop them. I prayed Thursday morning that you would let us all be together, and you hung in there. After days of not eating or drinking, and refusing pills, you hung in there until all of us could be together. I think you wanted that and were also telling us something in that moment. All five of us were together yesterday. Good Friday… how did you do it my angel? It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day. Warm weather with a cool breeze. We spent all morning outside as a family. You sat in all of your favorite spots around the backyard. You struggled to move from location to location but you did it. I know you knew. You knew that it was time to be pain free. You gave us the last little gift of enjoying the time all together in the backyard and showing us how much love there is to be given. I was hoping there would be a last ditch effort to keep you longer, but that would’ve been selfish. I wish you could’ve stayed forever. I wish we could’ve done more, but that’s not what you wanted. I have never seen a more peaceful face as when you knew it was your time to go and run with the puppies without pain, without arthritis, without cancer. You are an angel my Sierra Bear, a true, genuine angel.
We walked the lake after. The four of us, I know you were right beside us, walking the path too, probably eating a little goose poop here and there. I could feel you, we all could. We talked and reminisced and cried about you and the amazing memories. Not a single bad one, truly. Every single memory is filled with love and joy and giggles. I know you were there, it was just so painful to not physically see you walking by our sides. But you gave us such a gift. The four of us, being able to talk so deeply and so real about life and the fragility of it and how we can live life to the fullest and in the moment. It was a painful time, but also so necessary.
The house feels so empty. I’m not sure how I’m ever going to get used to your permanent absence. I feel you everywhere and your physical mark is in places I never thought possible. We can still see your paw prints in the mud outside, from just the other day. I’m not sure how to cope with this or how to deal with this loss and this pain. From being with you 24/7 when I was home, to not having that constant love and joy, is something that is just going to take time. I still can’t believe it… I wish any moment that you would come trotting around the corner, the way you did with your tail high and wagging, and that dopey smile. But I know you are at peace now. I know that you are pain free and cancer free and running with Belle and Maisy and JoJo and all of your other beautiful puppy friends, and hopefully eating lots of baked goods. (Those were your faves) And I know you are right here with us. You wouldn’t want us to mourn you and be angry and depressed.. you would want us to be happy and full of joy and thankful for the years that we did have together.
It truly is the harshest reality that you can’t live as long as we can, but I once read somewhere that humans live as long as they do, because that’s how long it takes them to learn unconditional love. Dogs already have so much of it, that they come and give it all very fast to try to teach all of us how to love. I would live to believe this is true. I sure think it is.
It’s going to take me a very very very long time to come to terms with you being gone.. I miss your hugs and your kisses, your soft fur, that warm tongue, that wet nose, the softest ears, those big big paws. That fluffy tail that seemed to always be wagging, and that smile. Gosh Bear, that beautiful, big, happy, dopey smile. The most amazing thing you ever did see. My heart aches, and the hole is as big as it can get. I’m praying that with time, it will get easier, but it’s going to take a long long time. I know you will be with us the rest of our lives. It doesn’t feel real. I keep reliving yesterday, and I am numb. Completely numb and completely heartbroken. There’s no tears left, and yet they still somehow keep coming. It is going to be a beautiful reunion someday when we are all back together. Such a beautiful reunion. You have my whole heart Bear, you have all of our hearts. Help us to mend them back together with the love we have for one another that you taught us to have.
Thank you for giving us the privilege of being your family for all those years. I miss you so much already.. and I love you more than you will ever ever know.
” When I am gone, release me, let me go. I have so many things to see and do, You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, But be thankful we had so many good years. I gave you my love, and you can only guess How much you’ve given me in happiness. I thank you for the love that you have shown, But now it is time I traveled on alone. So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must Then let you grief be comforted by trust That it is only for a while that we must part, So treasure the memories within your heart. I won’t be far away for life goes on. And if you need me, call and I welcome. Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear All my love around you soft and clear And then, when you come this way alone, I’ll greet you with a smile and a “Welcome Home.”
- I apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes. It’s too painful to read through again. I’ve written this at my most vulnerable state and hope that I got out what I needed to.