This is all I have to give you: on regrets, imperfection and a new book being birthed into the world today

Teddy came home yesterday. I cradled his little box in my arms and the tears came quick and hot, spilling down my cheeks. The twins and I cuddled up on the couch, a pile of sniffles and soft whimpers. It just hurts so much.

I'm sorry, Teddy. Since the day you died I've thought of all the things I could have—should have!— done differently. They haunt me at night.

I should have put you in your crate before I left for work. I should have mended that loose board in the fence. I should have asked the kids to watch you more closely. I should have texted James and told him to check on you. I should have, I should have, I should have.

All the "shoulds" in the world will never bring you back, Teddy. But still, I blame myself. I let you down. Was I too busy? Was I over-committed? Is there something wrong with how I'm living my life that led to this tragedy?

I remember cuddling you that morning on the couch and singing a little song to you—how could I have known it would be the last? The last cuddle, the last song, the last look into your eyes...the last time I'd see you alive?

The last time I saw you, you were wrapped in towels. You lay on your side, motionless. I kept waiting for you to breathe. You were so still. But the hardest part was seeing your eyes. Gone was the bright, cheerful gaze. Gone was the shining spark. Your eyes were clouded over, a thick veil had fallen inside your eyes and I saw what that meant: we were separated from each other. Death was in your eyes, Teddy, and that made me stumble away, the sobs ripping out of my throat. I don't remember how long knelt hunched over the toilet bowl, vomiting.

My book releases today, Teddy.

It's a good book, I think. It will help people, I think.

But there are so many things I should have written differently, Teddy. They sent me a big box of my books and when I took the first book out and began to read, it only took a few pages before I saw the first thing I should change, then the second I should change, then the third....I had to put the book down. All I could see were the mistakes, the "not good enoughs." I should have, I should have, I should have....

It's not a perfect book, Teddy. But it's all I had to give.

The crematory gave me a box of your ashes and also, your pawprint pressed into a terra cotta stone. We'll bury your ashes under your favorite rose bush. And I'll sleep with your pawprint under my pillow. The vet told me that after examining you she thinks you died quickly. That helps a bit. But I know you died in pain and that will never, ever feel ok.

I need to stop writing now because I can't see the words through the blur of tears.

It's April 19th, friends. I have a book releasing today. It's not perfect. But I gave my best. I hope you'll read it. Thank you for reading here and for being my friends. I don't take for granted one minute you spend reading my words. It's all such an unmerited gift. Thank you. I love you.

Spiritual Sobriety: stumbling back to faith when good religion goes bad is now available wherever books are sold and especially from these fine retailers:


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Elizabeth EstherComment