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It is almost twenty years since my brother Fritz died on a cold Sunday morning in January. I have come to grips with the fact that I will never really get over losing him.

I grew up as an only child and this Doxie came into my life shortly after Easter Sunday in 1971. He had epilepsy and several other minor physical ailments, but he was sent by God to be my only brother. We were closer than any two people or person and companion animal could be which is why I will always refer to this ten pound dog as my beloved brother.

The day he died was a difficult one. He was fine just the day before and the next day he was in great pain. The doctor advised that I not let him suffer and I stayed with him while he took his last breath. It was the least I could do for someone who gave so much to me. I left the veterinary hospital heartbroken and without his remains.

I did not know at the time that I had an option for private cremation. Today, a taxidermy option is also offered to people who hold the love of their pets so dear. For a very long time I regretted not having my brotherís remains cremated. My thought was that I would have him close to me forever. I found out only about three years ago that all remains from the hospital he was in are brought to a pet cemetery for a common place burial.

I visited the cemetery and really had no additional comfort since I determined that he could have had a better 'fate' if I had thought about it the day he died.

I certainly would urge you to consider what option might bring you the most peace before that unfortunate day arrives. Obviously, your mind will not be in a place to make the decision the day your loved one dies. It is a reality we do not want to think about but we know the day will come.

In what seems to be a dark and depressing topic, I can offer you something very positive. Certainly the stronger the love you have for one another is, the more difficult this time might be. However, along with that is a beautiful image to consider. Not long after my visit to the cemetery I realized through some challenging events in my life that Fritz was still very present to me. He was very much alive in my heart. As time has gone on it becomes more apparent to me that no matter what I may have done the day he died, being alive in my heart was something I not only had control of but had more impact than anything else. Truly it has proven to me that love does last forever.

Deacon Joe Dwyer

Copyright Mary Cody. All rights reserved.


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