Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Loss of My Best Friend

An usual take on the loss of a special friend.


I lost one of my best friends tonight. We had set a time to meet, but a phone call delayed me. I was late and he had quietly died in his sleep by the time I joined him. I had known his days were numbered, yet the reality that he was gone was hard to grasp as I sat by his side, holding his head in my arms.

For weeks, myself and another friend he loved nearly as well as he loved me, had begged, bribed and cajoled him into hanging on a bit longer--for our sakes rather than his. He tried his best to accommodate us, but life was short on miracles that evening. He was slipping away.

He was, after all, on in years and in poor health, but still as handsome, stately, and full of a zest for life as he was when we first met. He had struggled in his last days, fighting the good fight right to the end. As a friend he was easy in that he enjoyed the simple things in

life; a good meal, leftovers always welcome, a leisurely walk and a ball game now and then. These were a few of his passions. While he was the sort to be kind to animals and small children, he preferred adult company. His high level of intelligence made for many days and nights of heated debates, few of which I ever won.

We met when we were both much younger, and I was in need of a friend, but even then he was adamant in his views and prone to wacky rituals and bizarre phobias. His wants and needs were never flexible, yet I found him to be so understanding of my needs that I mostly let him have his way. It did not hurt that he was breathtakingly handsome, well-muscled in his youth, and like Sean Connery, growing better with age. Large brown long-lashed eyes and strong cheekbones helped me overlook his flaws. Even my husband was a tad jealous of the effect he had on women.

Yet, his faults could not be understated. He was a slob, no nicer way to put it. His table manners needed work, and as well as having to have the last word on any subject, and wherever we traveled, I was always picking up after him.

Still, as I wax philosophical in the wee small hours of the morning, tears streaming down my face, sobs heaving my chest, I remember that it was he who was always ready to listen to my sad sagas, often giving advice I cared not to hear. He knew the meaning of unconditional love and reminded me when I forgot, by being ever by my side, always full of loving concern.

Our relationship lasted almost thirteen years, bonded together by a friendship that even death could not separate. As he grew older, he retained the vigor of his youth, not graying or showing the more common signs of aging. While I was prone to complain of aches and pains, he was always full of boundless energy, always ready for a good time.

Life, however, is known to throw a hardball now and then. It is not fair. It just is. My dearest friend contracted an "MS" type of muscle-wasting disease which steadily, in spite of his resistance, took him down. It was a progressive disease, but my galliant friend ignored the prognosis and fought to live his life to the fullest. And did. His quality of life did not diminish because he found strength in those he loved and those who loved him.

As the disease progressed, his breathing labored, his body thinned and weakened, but his indomitable spirit, his great heart, kept him going long after his time. Those of us who cared so much for him, cooked his favorite meals, massaged his aching muscles and sat by him, communing with him night and day. As valiant as he was, he, too, knew his life was coming to an end, yet he struggled to remain with us, knowing we would be devastated by his loss.

He died this night, alone . . . as if not to trouble or bring undue pain upon those who treasured him, a final act of selflessness.

Remington never really believed he was a dog, and neither did I despite the "Labrador Retriever" that appears on his pedigree. Subdued in death, but never in life, he went, this night to meet his creator. Even as Heaven welcomes him home, and I know he now romps through eternity as a renewed, healthy being, most likely ordering the angels about, a part of him remains within my soul.

My heart weeps. He was my angel boy, a faithful companion, my best friend.


  1. Wow, Micki. I'm so sorry you lost Remington. What a beautiful and poingnant story. My heart weeps with yours.


  2. Hi Micki

    My thoughts are with you.

  3. Oh Micki, about all I can say is that he has now met my wonderful puppies, Jethro, Duke, Pokey, and Rehab and they are getting to know the Lord together. When you see a butterfly, imagine Remington is chasing it. I feel your loss deeply, and I know the horrible pain. I cry along side you, Micki, I love you!

  4. What a beautiful tribute to Remington! Our white German shepherd Vega sounds so much like Remington--he's 12 now and it's so hard to watch our closest and most loyal friends age. I believe that we'll all meet again in heaven and I look forward to that day!

  5. I cried all the way through it and new it must have been your best friend (pet wise) because that is how I would describe my kitties. While dogs and cats differ quite a bit, they are still our best friends who listen to us and are there for us when we cry. It is to the point that when I blow my nose my kitty thinks I'm crying and he comes and sits with me. Pets are awesome friends and no one can replace them in our hearts. It's funny people come and go but our pets don't. I think it's because we feel that they don't know why their going through this pain and we feel that much more for them.
    I can't imagine losing one of mine, and unfortunately due to my depression and pessimistic view on life I think about what I would do if they ever did. But now that you have, you put the words in my mouth of what I would feel. God Bless you and Remington and you WILL MEET AGAIN, for you both are heaven bound.

  6. Thanks, Erin, Sandra, Eunice, Lori and Deirdre,

    He's been gone a few years now but always in my heart. I'll never get another dog=losing them is just too hard.

    Love, micki

  7. Micki, that was a beautiful and touching tribute to your loyal Remington. I think you often get more attached to pets than people because they depend so much more on you for food, shelter and love. They never talk back, never betray you, never get mad and stop "talking" to you. They are there all the time. I have not had a pet for many years but not because it's so hard to lose them. I just haven't been in a place either financially or time wise to take care of one. But I would still, some day, love to have either a kitty or dog. I think the joy they bring in life overrides even the deep sorrow they cause when we lose them.

  8. Micki, I'm sorry to hear this! I love your blog post about Remington though.

    I do feel with you and I do hug you in thoughts!! A loss like this is devastating - and I know that. I'm sure Cherie has waited for him there, on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

    He'll never be forgotten - in particular not because of the paw prints he left on your soul.

  9. Oh Micki, I am so sorry at your loss of Remington and I know how you feel. I had Clay, my cat, for 22 years and the hardest thing to hear was the day the doctor said he could do no more for him and I should think about putting him to sleep. It was on a friday and I asked for time to think about it and took Clay home with me. On that Sunday evening he tried to climb up into my lap and couldn't make it, so I picked him up and held him. I saw him pleading with his eyes for me to let him go. It was one of the hardest things I had done in my life. We went to the clinic that Monday and the doctor led me to a room where I could sit with him as he went away. I combed his hair with my fingers and talked to him the whole time after he had received a shot that did not bring him any pain. I told him how much I loved him and that he had been such a great cat. When he gave his last breath, the tears flowed from my eyes like a river. That was on April 14th, 2008. That day I will never forget. Since then, I have not been able to get another cat. I did not want to replace my mourning with another cat so quickly. I wanted to walk through the pain and deal with it. The pain has gone, but I still don't have the desire to get another cat. Maybe one day it will come, but right now I doubt it because Clay was one of a kind. So, I am with you in your grieving process. Take time to recover and think about the great tims you had with Remington. That is what he would want you to do.
    I love you.