“To everything there is a season
and a time for every purpose under the heavens”
We brought Jackson home from the pound thirteen years ago. My husband fell in love with him from the moment he laid eyes on him. If you know Christian, you’ll appreciate how rare that is. But Jackson was easy to love with big ol’e hound dog ears and an eagerness to love that could melt even the most hesitant of hearts.
He was part hound dog and part labrador, and over the course of the years he would travel many miles with us. My husband was still on active duty in the Army when we first married. For the first four years, he would spend much of our newly married life traveling miles away from us. Jackson kept me company though. Whenever I would open the door, he would be right there to greet me. That old hound dog adored me, and I..I adored him.
We attended to many adventures, Jackson and I. Summer swims on the bayou. Friday night karaoke complete with some really great 80’s music. Rides in the car listening to the “Mama Mia” soundtrack. And in the middle of all of that busy, there was an incredible peace that came with his friendship. People can be so hard on other people, but dogs just exist to love us and to show us what it feels like to be loved for who we really are instead of who people expect us to be.
Jackson passed away quite suddenly. One day he’ s sitting at my feet in his favorite sunny spot by the fireplace. In the next moment, he has gone from this place, and I am left here alone and not quite sure how to stop crying.
It’s the regrets that are the hardest. I think of all of the times that I was too busy to take him outside and play with the tennis ball. Or all of the times he didn’t get those scraps he begged so mightily for.
The world looks different to me without him, and while we still have our other fur babies here that we love and care for..there will never be another Jackson.
I found this poem by Jim Willis called “I Loved You Best.”
So this is where we part, My Friend,
and you’ll run on, around the bend,
gone from sight, but not from mind,
new pleasures there you’ll surely find.
I will go on, I’ll find the strength,
life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.
There are others, that much is true,
but they be they, and they aren’t you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
will remember well all you’ve taught.
Your place I’ll hold, you will be missed,
the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
take with you this…I loved you best.