And part of that was, and is, Heidi.
Heidi was Laura's little miniature Pinscher and she was there before the rest of us, meaning that Heidi had been around for a few years when the time came yesterday to send her home. She would run around on her spindly little legs and it took her about three times of running circles around you before she worked her little way right into your heart. She would have been excellent playing the part of "Verdell" in "As Good As It Gets," the 1997 Academy Award winner in which Jack Nicholson gets to find out where his heart is.
But no actress was Princess Heidi-ho; she was for real all the way. She might have been the smartest dog I ever knew. I am not automatically a dog-lover, but when someone hops up on my lap for a snuggle, they get doggie points right away.
Heidi would do that and she slept with us when D&L went away for weekend trips and she hopped up straight into the air to express joy and when we were going out without her she would come over and say goodbye and if you wanted to take her out, you needed say just one word - "WALK?" - and she'd be waiting for you at the door.
When the great nieces came along, Heidi knew her time at center stage was over, and she graciously stepped back and allowed the girls to assume starring roles in the family show, but like all great members of a troupe, she knew how to play her part. The little girls loved her right back!
As happens to us all, the years caught up with her tiny body, but not with her heart and soul. By the end, she was non-ambulatory and tumor-ridden, and the only humane thing was to send her home.
That was yesterday. And I think it was harder for me in the days leading up to it than it has been since, because I know now her suffering is over. And I can't stop thinking about a poster of Elvis that I saw right after The King passed away. The poster said:
"REMEMBER I lived. FORGET I died."
Heidi, we will remember that you lived, and your love and heart will live on. Enjoy your wings!