I’m so sorry that it took me so long to write this letter to you. I was scared that if I’d done it earlier, I would’ve drowned in a river of ugly tears.
You died 7 months ago. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, because time probably isn’t a factor in dog heaven.
You got really ill while Mom and I were in Jo’burg. I’m sorry that Ruaan had to deal with you on his own, I know it couldn’t have been easy for either of you.
Dad still believes that you held onto life long enough for Mom and I to come back from Jo’burg, because you knew you couldn’t leave this world without saying goodbye to us.
I like to believe that, too.
When we got back from our trip, and I saw how sick you truly were, it was as if all the happiness and light had left my life. It destroyed all of us.
That night was hell. None of us could sleep, because we heard you suffering. The next morning we woke up, crying. We knew that the time had come to say goodbye to you.
When I held you in my arms that morning I could see that you weren’t present anymore. I could see that you were already halfway to heaven.
Dad took me to the train station that morning, because I was too grief-stricken to drive. And Jack, you won’t believe it, but I could hear Dad sobbing.
Yes, the same Dad who was in the army, who didn’t even bat an eyelid when he had a fish hook through his hand, sobbed about you.
That’s what a big impact your death had on our lives. We couldn’t bear to say goodbye to you, but we knew that we had to.
Later that day when Ruaan called me to tell me that you were now in pooch heaven, I cried so hard that I scared everyone in the office. I went outside and cried louder than the Cape Town noon cannon.
Dad and Ruaan spent that whole morning digging a grave for you. They had blisters at the end of the day, but they didn’t care. They wanted to bury you in your happy place – amongst the bushes that you used to run through after the sprinklers were on.
The days after your death were incredibly tough on all of us. For the first time in 14 years we had to come back to an empty house, with no wagging tail to greet us.
I was constantly hearing you in the house, and mom said that she kept expecting to see you napping on her bed – even though you weren’t allowed to.
You were like a brother to me. I met you when I was eight years old. When you weren’t around anymore, it felt like our family was incomplete.
So many people were sad about you, Jack. I want you to know that you were loved by an incredible amount of humans.
For a long time I couldn’t think about you, because my last memory of you was so depressing that it trumped all the happy thoughts.
Now, 7 months later, all the happy thoughts are coming back.
I remember that time you ran around the house like you were possessed, and how we cheered you on. I remember how you suddenly stopped mid-run, got a really weird look on your face, jumped, and then pooped on the carpet. That night we laughed until we cried.
I hope you can still hear our laughter.
I also remember how you were a better soccer player than all the members of Bafana Bafana combined.
Do you remember that time the priest came to our house and you decided to hump his leg?
Or what about that time you ate a R50 note?
You were the best childhood friend Ruaan and I could’ve asked for. You made us so happy and filled our lives with so much joy.
I want to thank you for teaching me the definition of unconditional love. You loved us despite our flaws, you loved us even when we didn’t love ourselves.
I hope that you are running around in doggy heaven now, without any pain. I hope that you are chasing hadedas and eating biltong. I hope that you are playing with my friends’ pets and running through sprinklers.
We will never forget you, Jack. Please don’t forget about us.
I look forward to seeing you again someday. Please make sure that our house in heaven is close to the beach so that we can go for eternal sunset walks.
Your human sister,