Bishop, my best friend, my loyal companion of twelve years, had passed away earlier in the morning. The heartache over Bishop was only surpassed by having to hiding the concept of death from our little Julie. We told her that Bishop had become like one of her favorite stuffed animals. He wouldn’t bark, he wouldn’t eat, and he couldn’t play anymore. He’d be like one of her toys but he would begin to smell really bad if we didn’t put him in the backyard.
We had a small funeral for Bishop where we shared our happiest memories of him. Julie couldn’t understand why we were burying a stuffed animal but she tossed Bishop’s favorite toy into the hole with him. She said she would miss how happy and excited Bishop was when we would come home.
I waited until I got into bed to allow myself to feel the heart crushing pain of his loss. My wife and I both cried in each others arms until we fell asleep. The sound of rain and crashing thunder awoke me. I felt incredibly thirsty and got out of bed to get a glass of water. I stepped outside into the hallway and felt that the carpet was wet. I tuned on the light and saw muddy little footprints leading into Julie’s room. When I opened her door, Julie was asleep in bed covered from head to toe in mud. She was surrounded by all her little stuffed animals and in her arms, she held Bishop’s wet, muddy corpse.