For nearly a third of my life, I have had a companion in my travels near and far. So ingrained in my daily thinking and actions had he become that I now find myself wandering for him in my mind and actions. Occasionally I give out a little whistle, his whistle, and I remember that he’s gone and will not be joining me today. I will still whistle, and I will use that whistle again to remember him and honor his memory in the future.
Things in life that we do not express in simple terms – kindness, compassion, and love are the things that make life worth living. The undeniable, unequivocal, and unconditional love that a companion animal can bring to each of us is profound. The kindness and compassion from family, friends, and strangers when this companion passes are noteworthy and have helped me in the process of grief I find myself in.
It is impossible to try and explain what it means to read comments from strangers who have reached out and commented on this moment in my life from across the world. I shared my moment of grief, whereas I knew that his life was in my hands and the decision all must face with companion animals was indeed on my doorstep. Thousands of comments, of well-wishes, of kindness, and words of compassion like I have never experienced and rarely seen in my life.
DannyBoy was an equal part of all of the messages and plans I made regarding outreach and education. His kindness to everyone he came into contact with grounded me in that purpose. Through him, I became a better man, a better listener, and because he made others look at me differently, I could no longer be the same man I was in the past. I could not have spoken of the places I went with my care for them because it would have belied the memories I had created with him there.
So how do I move forward without him? How can I continue to inspire, educate, and reach the world without him as my foundation and cornerstone? Where do I look to keep myself grounded? How can I go back to these places without him? Can I speak to people about them without him? A new path appears before me, and I hope I can honor the memory of my friend.