Dear Cornell...

Where are you? I walk in circles aimlessly around our house, searching for you. I spot signs of you everywhere. Your unfinished Dingo bones are scattered about the house. I see your water glass on the coaster beside the couch. Your endless supply of blankets to snuggle up in are at all your happy spots. Your medicine is lined up on the counter. Your treat jar is full. Your leash waits by the front door along with your red plaid lumber jacket. But you, my sweet boy, are nowhere to be found.

 Yup, he really drank ice water from a glass.

Yup, he really drank ice water from a glass.

I drink my morning coffee alone now. I sit here blogging without you nestled up beside me. I’ve been going to sleep much too late since you’re not here begging me to go upstairs. I leave the house with no one to say, “I promise I’ll be right back.” I can stay out for hours now because there is no you for me to take care of.

Remember the Empty Nest fiasco? How you listened to me, followed me around the house while I struggled to keep myself busy? And when I finally sat down you saddled up beside me and placed your head on my lap? Well I owe you an apology buddy. Our home was not empty. Not even close. You were home with me.  Now our home is empty—or at least feels that way. No one to care for, comfort, feed, look after on a day-to-day basis. My goodness Cornell, please tell me you did not get sick to fill my void? That couldn't be, right?

It’s just I feel so lost without you. This house we both loved so is now filled with a deafening silence way too much of the time. My heavy heart feels it could just free fall to the ground. I cry everywhere and at the most unexpected times and you know firsthand what an ugly crier I am. For a quiet little guy often mistaken for a stuffed animal with a pulse, your passing has left an immense empty hole in our lives.

cornell in kitchen.JPG

But don’t worry, Cornell. Everyone knows time does in fact heal. I really don’t want to hear that right now, but I know it is true. It’s just that right now time is a tricky deal. When you were diagnosed we prayed for time. Multiple times a day we took medicine to manage your illness and comfort. Two to three hours of time was about your max before we needed to get outside. Morning was your neediest time so we stopped going to the gym. This last year you and I have been pretty much inseparable. You traveled like a champ to Florida, Maine, your sister’s college, NY City, Upstate New York and weekends at the Jersey Shore. You enjoyed our outings to BJ’s, Lowes, JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels too. And if circumstances were such that I had to leave you at home there were ALWAYS people who loved you and eagerly stepped in to spend time taking care of you. You lived life—and we lived it with you.

 Our last trip to BJ's together!

Our last trip to BJ's together!

You were the most loving and gentle dog, Cornell, which makes it so fitting that kindnesses keep pouring in. Calls, texts, gifts, flowers, Relay for Life donations in your memory, visits, hugs and homemade cookies have not stopped for days from all our friends; near and far. Even the man at the car place delivered our fixed car to our home so I did not have to face the world just yet. It’s so clear you are loved due to the long list of endearing nicknames people gave you. And I don’t know of many dogs who have their own Instagram account @cornellthedog!

 Cornell's many pet names!

Cornell's many pet names!

Sometimes when I cry I think myself so foolish that I have been reduced to rubble because you were after all, “just our dog.” I think of friends who have lost children, husbands and parents and I feel at times like I’m overreacting. I am aware there is deeper sadness than this in our world, but in our world you were family, and in many ways, the best kind of family. You were our unconditional love. Both giving and receiving. You were a therapist, best friend, confidant and companion. You never judged our crazy, but instead just sat quietly by and supported us. Let’s not forget every single move our football family made. You were always there to soften the transition by making our new home feel instantly normal by your presence. And you were a big reason why we were always able to quickly make new friends on the other side.

The other side—that is where you are now. A side that is much too far away from us. You will forever be missed, eternally loved and respectfully treasured.

Moral: Although sick, Cornell lived life to the fullest every day. There is a quote that says, “Live for today, because tomorrow is promised to no one.” The last few months included a lot of “living for today” for which we are grateful.

With a broken heart,

A little thing you should know Cornell: Remember when dad came home late from work you always ran out to greet him and peed on the lawn right beside his parked car? Well a few nights ago for the first time ever, Dad pulled into the driveway and a deer was waiting for him in that very same spot just looking into the window of our home. So grateful for the sign buddy...

 Thanks Julie for the perfect pillow for our perfect guy!

Thanks Julie for the perfect pillow for our perfect guy!