You and the Brat became friends when you were both mere pups. In fact you were barely two months old when the Brat came visiting. Picking up the ball of fluff you were he flung you across the garden with all the strength his one year old arm had, which fortunately, wasn’t too much. I screamed and came running to pick you up, scolding the Brat and threatening to throw him across the garden too. The Brat of course understood nothing and as I tried to coddle you, you shook me off and went running back to him, happy to be tossed again. It was with great difficulty that we put an end to that game.
Soon the Bean came along and you were best friends. She ate out of your bowl, you ate food out of her mouth and all was well with your world.
And then you threw it all away and left us. Nani and G’pa hid it from me for a long time and when they told me, I struggled with it and wondered how to explain it to the babies. But they are so used to people coming and going that they have begun to take entrances and exits in their stride. Today, they began to ask for you “Mama, lets go to Allahabad, to play with Patchy..”
Err… err… I began, trying to make up something suitable when it came to me. “He’s gone to live with Jesus… ” I said. Now their concept of Jesus is one of their own creation. At X’mas the Bean saw the Nativity scene somewhere and said – oh look, Baby Jesus, Mama Jesus and Dada Jesus – like they were cattle or something. So I listened. And I realised they’ve picked up bits from here and there because finally we dialled Nani and this is what she was told…
Brat: Nani, Patchy wasn’t well so Jesus came and took him to Heaven to show him to a doctor there. And maybe he’ll get an injection too. And when he smiles down from Heaven his teeth shine and he is the brightest star.
Bean: and Jesus will tap (she means pat) him and he’ll be nice and warm and cosy….
Brat: so don’t cry – because he’s fine now. Maybe we can get a cat this time. I’ll get a big white cat with a collar and a leash and I’ll ride my cycle and it will race with me ..
And thus Patchy, they made their peace with your absence….
And yes, rest in peace you…