A Letter from Max—-In memory of the Third Anniversary of His Passing

max 3rd anniversary


Dear Mami,

I thought I should write to you when the other day I saw you waking up and sitting in bed, crying. I stayed by your side for a while, watching you make those funny noises when you blew your nose, as if unloading your inner self. You put the used and damp tissues one after another on your bedside table; and some of them fell down next to my paws. I shuddered. In stillness your sobbing pierced my ears; I scratched them and tried to listen to the far away birds singing above the harbour. A little worry skated up from my guts, and anchored in my heart. And when you held our photo and stroked my face on it, I couldn’t watch you anymore. I left the room quietly and went downstairs to the kitchen.

The kitchen looked strange to me. I checked the floor and the rug, and found not a trace of my treats or droppings, not a single hair of mine; but a too-strong scent of the chemical cleaning lotion. You humans like to clear out odours whereas we love tracking down old smells to find out history. I opened ‘my’ cabinet and saw no biscuits, greenies, chewing toys or edible plastic bones…Also missing was all my little sister’s baking stuff—- I just thought I might still get a good smell of the delicious chocolate-pear-cake from the baking pan. Well, of course, she took all the baking stuff to her new home. I can’t imagine that my little sister is now a married woman! And her wedding—oh, I made it to the church ceremony just as you and my Big Boss accompanied her walking down the aisle. I was there! I was woofing silently for the celebration! And there he stood with great excitement waiting for his bride—I had known that he would be ‘the one’ the first time when he played with me. We have our sixth sense to know the hidden future. And she, all beautiful, radiated joy from her smile for everyone there, not knowing that I was behind her, stepping on the train of the wedding dress. How funny!

I strolled around the house and found it quite empty. The furniture looked dull and the piano bored. I could still hear you sob upstairs, and wondered how many tears humans have. We four-legged don’t need to shed anything to show our feelings. It’s all in our eyes, happiness or sorrow; and they alone are captivating, as you used to say to people who commented on my eyes. I felt uncomfortable and went back to the kitchen, and caught sight of the calendar—it was the third anniversary of my departure! I passed away three years ago! On that day I took exit from the earthly world, uplifted to cross over the Rainbow Bridge where I found plenty of four-legged guys, mended and reshaped, bouncing excitedly to welcome me! They are all enjoying themselves, but at times their eyes still well up with grief from leaving their humans. They say, I, too, have sad eyes.

Oh Mami, how I dreaded leaving, for I knew how much I meant to you all. I tried to stay conscious, to be there for you. I watched you all the time as I was lying there kept alive only by my very weak heart; my paws felt the chill, my legs ached from the cramp, and my tummy was sore… I struggled to get up, and you held me, to step out to the garden to relieve myself. But before I lay down again, I had lost control of my bowels. My very old age took control of me, and I was too embarrassed to face it. You knelt down cleaning up the mess I made and gave me a tender loving look. You kept saying, “Maxi boy, it’s okay. Just relax.”

It was time for me to go, yet I could feel your reluctance to make that final decision. You walked to and fro the room; you sat down and stood up again; you kept stroking my head and face; you told me how much you loved me; you sat with me, gently patting my back. We gazed at each other, our souls touched…

I didn’t want my rotting body to trouble you anymore, and I told you so by refusing to eat or drink anything. I thought that was perhaps the clearest way to tell you what I didn’t want. Sometimes I wish I could speak. You opened my mouth and put a yummy chicken into it; and you used a syringe to inject water into my mouth; you brought my favourite treats to my eyes. And on the next day when you found the chicken you gave me still inside my mouth, not swallowed, you sighed. You wept. You said a prayer. Then you made that call to Dr Howard. You came back with a white face like returning from hell. I raised my head and said with my eyes,”Mami, be brave, be strong!” You became silent, and stared into the empty space ahead of me. 

Dr Howard came, without his usual big smile. The rest was our historical moments. You respected my decision; you let me go quickly to spare me of any further suffering. I had come and I had to leave. God gives and He also takes.

I didn’t dare to go close to you during the last years, knowing that my soft heart would be gashed by your mourning. I was however never too far away from you—in the breeze, with the rain, under the sun, behind your walks… And I thought perhaps after about three years you would have forgotten me (as you humans tend to forget things), or would have at least been well over your sorrow; so the other day I came close to you to deliver my love, but only to find you grief-stricken like I had just left you. You miss me too much, human.

To comfort you, I must let you know that I can run like when you first adopted me; my legs are fast and my mind is strong. Every day I go with my buddies for excursions; we cross miles and miles of green fields; and we have lovely food and fresh water to enjoy. I sleep like a young lad; occasionally I dream of coming back to the heartwarming hugs of my human family. I’m well taken care of, up there; and when you look through the clouds carefully, you’ll see a black nose sticking around to sniff your scent, which I’m still so fond of. One day, but not so soon, when you arrive here, I’ll welcome you with all my kisses. But for now, remember what I taught you, find joy in the beautiful trees, flowers, the sky, the sea, your family, lovely people and animals…

Thank you very much for having given me a splendid life. You will probably continue to grieve every year on the anniversary of my passing, but never stop smiling and laughing when you think of the mountainous fun and joy of our life together. Oh Mami, how we got the best out of it! And how you learnt to love the four-legged, and are now so delighted when you see them!

I’m only simple and easy, but I know the truth: pure love never dies.

Much love from your Maxi boy.



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