I first met him when I was thirty-six and expecting my 6th baby. He was full of life and energetic. I was tired and sick as I was close to delivering my baby. My husband worked nights …and I was all alone. He became my close friend. His insight and patience won a forever place in my heart.
He was always the kind of friend to cheer you up. You know the one you could completely rely on to be sympathetic in any situation. One of his great strengths I valued the most was his innate sense of where I was at in my inner world. I never once had to voice my concerns he was just so sensitive he knew what I was thinking without even a word being spoken.
No matter what was going on with him I was always more important. This would be so evident in everything he did. When I would walk into the room, he would make me a priority. I instantaneously felt that I was his whole world, his hope and that he truly loved me. He never burdened me with any of his issues as he was only concerned with me. When we were in the same room, his eyes met mine and would maintain eye contact as I spoke to him.
One of the only friends I have ever known to say so much to me with nary a word. Something I treasured about our special friendship. Days when my world was crashing he was there letting me know that regardless of whatever made my heart heavy… be it stress, pain, sadness… he understood it all. When I laughed he smiled and when I needed a friend there was no one more true. The days when my heart soared and was filled with joy he was there happily celebrating with our family.
I never worried about what he would think of me as I always knew I was on a pedestal. He loved me with his whole heart. I knew this…I could feel this. I was honoured to have such a pal. When I was sick, or after I had the babies, and did not have as much time for him, he never complained. He just understood. He was like that. I often thought about his qualities as a friend and realized that he was perfect. He had the whole package, tender, kind, thoughtful, patient and understood the most about unconditional love. He loved me even when I deserved it the least. He loved me…no matter what. I loved that about him.
He loved to go out with me but also understood when I needed my space. If I needed to talk in the middle of the night, he would gladly forgo his sleep just to listen. When I spent time with my best friend, he was never once jealous; in fact, he was just as nice to her too. I introduced my children to him. He became their friend and confidant too. He was the kind of friend that you could totally trust your children with and never once worry about anything. The children would climb all over him and he would gently respond by patiently listening to their chatter and banter. He was happy regardless of what mayhem the children would cause. He would not interrupt ever. Many times he joined us for dinner. He loved a good meal.
I did what we all sometimes do with a good friend… I took him for granted. I never stopped to think one day he might not be there.
He started to show signs of aging. I knew he was years older than I was. Still somehow I thought he would live forever. Our conversations became quieter. It was my turn now to understand his silence. His eyes still lit up when he saw me but less brilliant than before. He was becoming very tired. His once bright insight into my world became more of a gentle nod of understanding as I now focused on him and trying to reach him in his world. I realized that he had grown old as my friend and was now sick with fatigue. I shuddered at the thought of ever having to say goodbye to my friend. He totally trusted me and wanted me take over decisions for him once he got to a point of no return in his illness. I had to face the reality that goodbye to this friend was inevitable.
My last visit with him was sad. He was resting, with barely the energy to lift his head. I kissed him and hugged him, but this time it was strange…he did not respond in like kind…he lay quietly breathing with his eyes closed. I knew my friend was getting ready to go through the gates of Heaven…he had nothing to fear. His whole life was one of pure and gentle friendship based on unconditional love. He knew and was this truth his whole life. My life was changed by his devotion and loyalty to me and my entire family.
He was our dog, “Joey” and will live forever in our hearts.
Miss you Joey!
The Garden Goat
(Oh …and yes, all dogs do go to Heaven!)