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Gratitude In The Midst Of Grief

My precious Duke,

Today I was contemplating a Thanksgiving related blog. I thought about the obvious things that I’m thankful for such as family, friends and people who have touched my life. Then there was the thought of writing about a horse, since I have not blogged about a horse related experience in a while, and I’m grateful for them too. However you came to mind, the grief rolled in and that is a mutual feeling among our loved ones. Two months have gone by since you crossed over the rainbow bridge, and it feels like yesterday. We accept the circumstances, but there is still that emptiness and profound sadness. However everyone realizes that the best way to cope in this time of sorrow, is to be grateful for the thirteen years that we had you and the blessings that came with it.

Duke, thank you for blessing us with light in our times of darkness. You came three months after our sweet Brandy left our world. The sight of you as this bouncing eight week old puppy lifted the heaviness from our hearts, how could it not? You had such a vibrant energy and zest for life. As you grew up with us, there were other moments when you shined your light. You stayed at our side when we were sick, turned our frowns upside down, remained a true friend when other friendships failed, comforted us during times of loss, dysfunction and uncertainty. There was never a dull moment with you, your light just kept on shining.

Thank you for blessing us with laughter. Oh Duke, we always go a kick out of your spastic laps around the yard, the times you barged through the doors, slept on the bed (even though you weren’t supposed to) and when you dove into whatever body of water you could find. Now I’m not going to lie, most of your comedy stunts were not funny at time they happened. You uprooted mom’s bushes, emptied our garbage cans, dug enough holes in our yard for hundreds of bones to be buried in, ate five cupcakes (wrappers and all), and attacked the Christmas tree to the point where we had to wait ten years before we could get a real one. The one incident I remember the most was three years ago, Hannah bought mom some chocolate for Christmas. How you got into one of the boxes? That will forever be a mystery. One thing has been solved though, it was your revenge against me for not pandering to your demand for an instant walk. Therefore you took it upon yourself to do something that would have our sister’s wrath spewing on you, if I did not get you out the door as soon as possible. Only you would escape vengeance by committing vengeance Duke. You got away with it though, because of your big brown pleading eyes and angel face. Your tactics were controversial but comical when we look back.

Most importantly, thank you for blessing us with love. For the most part, we allowed you into our space during difficult moments. However there were times when we shut our doors, and isolated contact from you. I could tell that you were hurt, but you bounced back with a wagging tail and slobbery kisses when we came out to face our realities again. That is the embodiment of pure unconditional love, it did not take time or effort to master, you just came with it. Your love continues to linger and will follow as the years go on.

Despite the grief, you have given me so much to be grateful for Duke, as well as our loved ones too. The light, laughter and love that you brought will continue to live on in your legacy. Losing you is still hard, and we will continue to miss you. However I hope that you know how beloved and special you are. You’ll occasionally hear us still calling you by your nicknames, Dukey, Duker dog, Duke The Mook, Booboo, Moomoo, Meathead, Woozy, Lucy, and Lucille. I’m sure that you are rolling your eyes, but hey you chose us and we chose you. Be good to Brandy, I hope that there is plenty of water, chicken and waffles for you to indulge yourself in.

Love you to the moon and back,


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