My best friend is over 80 years old.
I call her "my girl" which she loves. She inspires me, motivates me and her support of any decision I make is so unwavering, that i want to be a better person when I am around her.
I feel calmer and loved in her company. Amongst the chaos of daily living and in moments of enormous grief, she brings me comfort.
She listens intently without interrupting or casting judgement. She doesn't say much at all but when she looks at me, she has a depth of understanding so powerful, that it's not what she says but how she makes feel.
Like all great relationships, she has tested my patience. She can be stubborn, naughty and playful, all at the same time. Despite our age difference, I assume that's why we get on so well, because I can be all of that too. She reminds me to live in the moment, love unconditionally and to speak up when something doesn't feel right. Her intuition of any situation is unmatched.
Our love has deepened. She has entered her senior years and I have entered middle age. I feast on her wisdom but I am frequently reminded of the girl she once was. She tries to hide her aliments from me. She is stoic, especially in public, and she goes to great lengths to demonstrate her youthfulness. When she stumbles, we don't discuss it. She prefers the no fuss approach, reminiscent of a bygone era, rightly or wrongly when folks just got on with it. I offer her the best care I can, mindful of her dignity and vulnerabilities.
I know she will leave me. She will leave me, forever. The thought is so painful I can hardly breathe. I hope I will keep all her life's lessons filed in my heart for when I need them the most. Ageing can be sad, magnificent, painful and extraordinary. It can be graceful or disgraceful. Ageing can be complex and challenging and I am so fortunate to have such a best friend forever.
She is a German Shepherd dog and her name is Mia.
Even with our great love she had to leave us. The cancer had moved to her brain and she passed away on 08.02.2017 aged 84 and a bit. I miss her so much. Grief is the only constant and all of my internal organs are clenched in a tight grip. I know in time the pain will dull as 'life goes on' and we learn to celebrate her life. For now - I will be sad, because sometimes trying to be strong just doesn't work. This is one of those times.