Dear Kaylee,

May 21st, 2014 9:00 am by Kelly Garbato

2014-05-21 - Kaylee Mosaic 01

I can’t believe you’ve been gone a year now. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525600 minutes. 31536000 seconds. So many fleeting moments. I try to make the most of them; I do. In your memory. And Ralphie’s. Yet somehow it rarely seems to be enough.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. For a while – a long while – that’s all I did: think of you, the moments we shared together, your life before and after us. Your silly wiggle butt and how quickly you slipped away from me. Those first few months, it seemed I couldn’t do anything but think of you. Grieve. As time has passed and the pain lessened, your absence dominates my mind less and less. I’m scared that, one day – a time far from now in a galaxy far, far away – the day will come that I don’t think of you. Twenty four hours will pass without you flitting through my thoughts, warming my heart, making your presence known in my soul. Somehow, I don’t think that will happen; there are so many reminders of you scattered throughout our home and my life. Photos and toys and doppleganger dogs and long-lost friends and shiny shindig dresses. But I’m terrified that it will.

If you live on in my heart and in my memories, every little thing forgotten – not matter how tiny or incidental – is a little death of sorts. And I can’t stand to lose any more of you.

We’re all doing okay, considering. Rennie took your death the hardest, but she’s lucky to have found a friend in Mags. Mags is no Kaylee – as I’m fond of teasing her – but she’s pretty great anyway. And her resemblance to you makes me feel a little bit better. You saved her, you know. And Finnick. They owe their lives to you.

Peedee had not one but two cancer scares – can you believe it? That boy, always giving me trouble. He had a tumor and 20% of one lung removed last month and, within a week, he was up and trying to bark at the UPS guy and clear the yard of poo. He’s taken over your dish-licking duties, but he does a pretty poor job compared to you. I think he lacks the determination borne of having once been abandoned and starving. Soft and pampered. Freaking Peedee.

We started fostering in January. So far we’ve only had one dog stay with us – we had to cut it short due to Peedee’s illness – but I’m so, so glad we finally made the leap. Foster Pony was a big guy, a boxer-put bull mix, and all the little dogs were afraid of him. I was not expecting that! I thought that Mags and Rennie at least would be cool. I think you would have been. I know Ralphie would’ve been down. Ralphie wasn’t afraid of anyone.

Every time I looked at Foster Pony, I thought of you. It’s true. You inspired me to foster (and I suspect that invoking your memory made it impossible for Shane to object!), to help other dogs in need the way that Gina rescued you and Jayne. I hope your puppies and grand-puppies each found their own Gina, too.

I wish I had more pictures of you and I together. I should have taken more; I knew this even as I felt the time slip away. Half of what I do have was taken much, much too late – in the hospital, during your illness. Now I’m a little camera-crazy. I hope you’re not offended when the number of photos of Mags and I surpass those of you and I. Just know that I regret it, and probably will until the day I die. It’s not much consolation for you – or Ralphie or Shadow or Ozzy, or to all the dogs childhood me loved and lost before – but I’ll do better from here on out.

Mother’s Day was hard. So was my birthday. But I think today will prove the most difficult. I miss you so much, sweet girl. Rennie and Mags and Peedee and Jayne and Finnick (yes, even Jayne and Finnick!) help fill the Kaylee-sized hole in my heart, but none of them can replace you. You were – are – one of a kind.

I was so, so lucky to have found you. I’d do it all over again, even knowing how much the end would hurt.

With love and peanut butter, your best friend forever.

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