It's like a crime has been committed. They've been taken - sometimes with warning and sometimes without warning - sometimes expected yet always unexpected.
There are those we accompany as far as we can toward whatever comes next. We sit by their bed and we wish we could take the suffering and pain away. We are ready to give ourselves in their place. We are aching and frightened. We know what is coming as the butterflies move at warp speed in our stomachs and photos clips turn into horrid collages of the darkest scenes from the obituary in which we can't say what we really want to say and to the funeral that too many strangers attend and the eulogy that will never do them justice and the burial - the shovel to the dirt, the dirt to the coffin, a final curtain call without ample applause to a life well lived and the love they gave.
Then there are the ones that just happen the way things just sort of happen. We didn't expect it and in most cases, either did they. They are there and then they are gone. No last words, no last kiss or hug and no goodbye. So we pray and hope that they knew how much we loved them and that whatever we last said may or may not have been of significance but if we could say something to them now, it would be - I will love you forever and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you.
We don't know where they go but we do know that one day we will go there as well. We hope they will be waiting for us - them and all the others who have found themselves on the other side.
Is everyone on the other side - the same other side or does whomever manages all of that separate the people from the pets? Where are our dogs who have left this life? Will they run toward us, tails wagging, ears bouncing side to side as if we just got home from a day of work and they can't wait to see us? Do they think it was just a day even if it has been years? Will they be young again? Will we be young again?
We don't have the answers to any of these questions yet we ask them again and again because we don't know what else to do.
The only thing we know for sure is that we love them and now they are gone and more than anything in this world, we want them back.