Year after year, Chaplin and I grew up together. We enjoyed our youth together. We became adults together. This year, we celebrated Chaplin’s 20th birthday. I couldn’t believe it because, I remember when he came into my life as though it was yesterday.
I know many people who have fur babies, but I’m not sure I know if any of them have enjoyed the pleasure of their fur baby’s company for twenty years. Twenty years is half my life. We have been through it all together. College. Career. Marriage. Children. The loss of my dad. Everything. We’ve had our ups and our downs but we have cherished every moment together. I have so many wonderful memories and I cannot remember a life without my sweet Chaplin in it.
This year, we even tried yoga together. I thought it was because he loved my mat that he would join me. Only now do I see he just wanted to spend more time with me. He was giving me a gift.
I don’t how many people will read this blog, and that is not why I write it. I am writing it for me, because I need to. Because it helps me to release so many emotions and is healing for me while at the same time becoming a tribute to a dear dear friend. I share it because maybe some will understand my feelings, and because I wear my heart on my sleeve. My little friend has my heart. His friendship and loyalty has meant the world to me all these years.
This past week has been a very difficult one for us to say the least. I noticed Chaplin was slowing down, even more than just the usual aging. Becoming uninterested in eating. I took him to the doctor Thursday to see what was wrong because he had not eaten the day before. He got up and looked but didn’t touch his food. Thursday he didn’t even bother to get up.
I have tried to prepare myself for this moment, but really, there is nothing you can do. You can tell yourself it is coming. You can tell yourself life was good and you enjoyed many years together. In reality, having to let go is just so hard when you share so much love, that it really breaks you.
Chaplin is not just a pet, he is my family. He is my friend. He is my first child. I have been holding vigil with him, trying my best to be of some comfort to him during his last moments with us. The kids have all said their goodbyes and so has J.
I am just waiting, by his side, holding his paw, thanking him for being a part of my life and telling him how much I love him. Offering gentle kisses on his nose, eyes, and ears and hoping that he passes peacefully, in his own home. And, I write. I write as I lay by his side because I am reminiscing with him. Remembering him and all the joy he brought to my life.
I am grateful for knowing him. Grateful that I took the time to take his picture. I have so many photos of him to cherish. So many of him with his human siblings; sleeping; playing; enjoying the outdoors; and just living life everyday.
My only regrets are that I was not able to put up the Christmas tree yet to capture him sitting under it like he so enjoyed every year. I have many photos but scrambled to put them together for these posts. I wanted to write while my memories were coming to me.
I love you so very dearly. I am grateful for the 20 years of full living we had together. You will leave a deep void in my heart, but will be with me always, my dear sweet Chaplin.
Chaplin, you were born in the fall; sprouted in spring; played in the summer; and into the winter you shall pass. With each season and every day, I will remember you at my side, and until you are ready, I will be at yours.—All my love, your mom and friend. Angela ♥
That was so very beautiful. I cried without shame. Love you Ang.
There is no shame in loving our fur babies because they are the same as people, just with more hair. I am glad you read his story. It makes me feel good to know that these memories have touched others hearts too. Love you too, Beth. <3
My heart hurts for you. Twenty years.. half your life. That’s longer than probably half of all marriages last nowdays. Your handsome boy captured my heart from miles away; I loved how he graciously allowed himself to be a part of your yoga experience. I was stunned to find out that he was 20. May we all age with such grace and beauty. Have fun playing with my buddy Bash at the Rainbow Bridge, Chappy; I know you’ll come running when your mama finally joins you and you can cross over together.
Oh. I am just seeing this comment and it made me cry. I received a sweet card from his Vet today and that Rainbow bridge poem. I have felt a bit melancholy these past weeks because he is missing from our family. He is not here to wake us in the mornings or hanging around the kitchen while I cook. I don’t get to pick him up and hug him anymore or feel his soft beautiful coat. Thank you for your comment. It means more to me that you know. <3