I hope that this letter finds you in good spirits (sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pun). It has now been a month since you left us. As I promised you; Sue, Pal, & I are taking good care of each other and we are doing alright.
There are tough moments in every day – times when I want to share things with you or get your opinion on something, times when I channel surf past a Law & Order re-run, and every time I come through the door into the house and you aren’t there. Sue in particular had a very rough time the first couple of nights. I don’t think she slept at all, she seemed to just pace all night, waiting for you to get into her bed with her. Within a week she gave that up and started sleeping on the couch with Paladin. Finally, last night she slept in her bed all by herself. We are all making adjustments.
The holiday season has been particularly stressful. But I’ve had tremendous support from our neighbors, from Donna and her family, from Marcia, from a host of Lakers, from my MDS friends, and from my friend Linda. I’ve even gotten support from some of the folks at the Irish Setter rescue.
I keep thinking back to last Christmas, when we were together and you wept openly because there was no gift under the tree for me.
This year, your gift to me arrived in the mail 10 days after your passing. When I opened the shipping package and read the gift tag “Remember that every day is like Christmas! Love Dad, Sue, & Pal” my knees buckled.
But it motivated me to put up the Christmas tree and the decorations. And tomorrow, after the chores are done and the dogs have opened all of their gifts – I will open one last Christmas present from you. Thank you. I know how much effort it must have taken for you to order a gift for me. I know how much you love me – and I know that you are aware of just how much I love you.
In contrast to last year when we were together, there was no gift under the tree for me, and you were crying – this year we are apart, there is a gift for me, and I’ll be doing the crying. I miss you, and I always will. And whatever this present is, I’m certain that I will love it – just because it came from you. Although it will have to pass a pretty high bar to beat last year’s gift.
I don’t know about where you are right now, but I like to picture you walking in that field across from the cabin with Hart Winter to your left and Jerry Winter to your right with a whole pack of beautiful red dogs out in front of you working hard to set those pheasants. Of course Koof, Hercules, Sugar, and JoJo will be trailing behind you – their hearts bursting with joy just to be with you again.
Say hello to John, Alan, Ken, and your mother for me. Tell them that I love them all. And send my best to the rest of the gang there with you.
Sue, Pal, and I will be alright. We share the love you gave us, and we have all of the tools you taught us. I may never become the man you were, but thanks to you I have everything I need to become the best man I can be and to be my own man.
Thank you Dad. I love you.
Love, your son
P.S. Sue and Pal both juiced up to send you big sloppy Irish Setter kisses too.