I knew you when you were young.
I saw you shortly after you joined our family, all dark hair and dark eyes and big feet. I watched as you learned to walk, when you wobbled all over the kitchen floor, your legs too long for your body yet. I fed you, I slept by you, I hugged you.
I named you.
Instead me writing a story and using your name, you took one that I had. It fit – dark, kind, though a little on the short side. Like your namesake, you were strong, stubborn and loyal until the end.
I ran with you.
I played outside with you, running across the grass and up and down the hill. I laughed when you tumbled, then tumbled with you myself. In the winter, I played in the snow with you, hiding for you to find me in the sea of white until Mom called us in, our feet soaked. I jumped on leaves with you in the fall, and smelled the flowers with you in the spring.
I left you.
I know, I had to go, but it was still hard. I left you my favorite playmate, knowing it wasn’t the same. I called and asked about you, talked to you over the distance that kept us apart. I came home to visit, always getting a smile as you greeted me at the door, somehow knowing I was on my way.
I watched you fail.
I watched you grow, I watched your hair get white and your appetite wane. I watched as your knees got weak and caused you to groan instead of bound towards me to play. I coaxed you outside, but you didn’t run far anymore, just plodded along not wanting to be left behind but in too much pain to catch up.
Tonight, it has all caught up with you.
Tonight you had no more to give. You struggled to let us know, frustrated when all that came out were whines of pain. They carried you, rushing to get you the help you needed, seeing the ending in your posture but not wanting to admit it.
Tonight, you left me.
In reality, you left all of us. We are grateful for the time you spent with us, grateful for the love you gave us, and grateful for the joy you brought us. They said that you were one of the oldest they’d seen, lasting much longer than anyone had expected at the clinic. I could have told them that – you always were stubborn, just like me. We laid you to rest, but not without tears.
Rest in peace, dear Kyra.
July 23, 2002 – November, 2 2011