Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gretta Bel Darling


 Gretta Bel On Our Most Recent Camping Trip

The Darling Family is sad to report that our sweet dog Gretta Bel passed away yesterday evening. We are completely devastated. She was Mr. Darling's and my very first baby - the first leaf of our family tree.

I can still remember the day we brought her home just a couple of weeks after our wedding.

I remember how she used to perch on the edge of the sofa, standing watch over our daughter when she was just a newborn as she rocked in her baby swing.

Gretta and her sister Sailor were peas in a pod. Mr. Darling and I always called them bookends because they often slept in mirror images of each other. She and Sailor got me through three deployments, countless training trips and late nights while Mr. Darling was studying. She loved to snuggle up in blankets and her favorite lovey was her pink stuffed bunny - a gift from her Nana. She gave love and joy every day of her life.

I will miss the dual tinkling of collars as our pups ran together ... and it's still unthinkable that I will never call out: "Girls! Come here Girlies!" again.

We bundled her up in a soft pink blanket and gently carried her to her resting place. Our daughter drew her a picture of our family so that she would always have us with her. - I was completely astounded by the depth of our five year old's understanding of what was going on, not to mention her composure and the tenderness of her thoughts and questions. - As we placed a piece of slate over her grave, she asked, "But how will Gretta be able to come out when she's not dead anymore?" To which I responded by sitting her down and explaining that our Gretta girl would not be coming out. - That when someone is dead, their body rests at peace and does not move again. She accepted this with a few more tears and then asked if she could come and visit her as often as she would like. Yes, of course, was both Mr. Darling's and my immediate response.

Sailor sat by Gretta the whole time. Mr. Darling insisted that we allow her to say goodbye. He felt that it was important for Sailor to be with her so that she wouldn't be confused as to where Gretta had gone. I deeply admire and appreciate his presence of mind at that moment because I truly believe it helped her. She absolutely knew that her sister was no longer by her side.

As I kissed my girl goodbye one last time, my heart ached for every cross reprimand, though I know she lived a happy puppy life right up until the moment she died.

We loved her from the second we laid eyes on her and we will love her still, though she has now been laid to rest.

Our hearts are broken for the sudden loss of our beautiful girl, but as we told our Darling Daughter, she is in Heaven - eating white American Cheese (her favorite treat), running through grassy fields (her favorite activity) and taking forever to go potty (typical Gretta Bel).

Sleep in peace sweet puppy of ours. You will live in our hearts forever and always.

With love,
Mommy, Daddy, Sissy, Brubby and Sailor

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