My sweet sweet Ursa,
We met just over eight years ago. You, that wriggling, fluffy, black puff of energy with the coral colored piece of yarn wrapped around your neck. And me, that bright-eyed, naive 22-year old en route to my first job, my first apartment, my first taste of life as an adult.
We chose each other. And for that, I am forever grateful.
We buried you in the place where your daddy and I first fell in love with this home. You got sick right after we bought this house, and I remember thinking that the only positive side to this news was that we now lived in a home where we’d be able to have you close by when you left us. You lived in seven different homes with me, and yet, we’d finally found the one where we intended to stay.
You will now always be a part of Cartwheel Farm, just as you are forever a part of us.
We were told we’d have 4-6 weeks left with you. And instead, we had four months. We had a whole summer of your super dog dives. And lake swimming. And field running. And butt rubs. And those soft silky ears that could quiet even my scariest days. You inspired so many, schooling us all in perspective and resilience. You were brave until your final breath. While you’d stopped eating by Tuesday morning, you thumped your tail and wriggled your bum, despite all the pain and discomfort. When the vet arrived at our house to help you finally sleep, you, in one final burst of energy, hopped toward her, wagging your tail. Your daddy and I held you and told you that we loved you. Over and over we promised you that you were safe. That we were here. And that it was okay to go. That the pain would be over and we were ready for you to sleep. You went quickly. And peacefully. And your daddy and I buried our faces one final time into your warm, silky ears and held you, saying our goodbyes and promising to find you in our dreams.
We buried you together, tucking a tennis ball under your chin so that you’d have your favorite thing in the Universe by your side forever. Sunny asked that we have a funeral, and so she picked flowers from our garden, and covered your grave in bursts of purples and pinks and yellows. She asked that we tell stories of what we love most about you, and sing together, and cry. And so we did. Our family, aching at the void. At the quiet. At the emptiness from your departure. And tonight, before bed, Sunny asked that we all go up and say goodnight to you. We stood where you now rest and wished you sweet dreams. Sleep well, our beautiful Ursa.
And while a part of me can’t help but feel cheated of at least six more years with you, the other part of me is so stupidly grateful that we had these eight years together, the most transformative and important of my life. And that I could hold you as you took your final breath. Don’t we dream of dying in the arms of those we love, of those who love us most in the world? I am so grateful that your daddy and I could do that for you. While I have brought life into this world and I have saved life, nothing compares to the strength it took to let life go. You did it so gracefully, so beautifully. I felt a wave of relief and comfort wash over me as you left us, knowing that you were now at peace. Knowing that no matter what, you are forever a part of me.
I will miss you everyday.
And I will always, always love you, my Ursa Bear.