Liam: My Heart, My Soul, My Strength, by Patti Cole

In the days after you passed, someone asked how I was handling your loss. To avoid the pain a full response would cause me, I gave a brief, superficial answer.

In truth, I felt as if a semi rig had crashed through my life, leaving me on the rim of a dark abyss, knowing that you – the light that had brightened my life for 13-plus years – were gone.

Yes, I have precious memories of moments with you: The way you commanded a room without demanding, the way you seemed always to know how I was feeling.

I treasure memories of us sitting on our patio together, watching squirrels and birds. You with your nose in the air, sniffing, always on watch, ensuring that I was where I belonged: with you.

Early on, you began experiencing health challenges. You battled the odds with the spirit of the warrior I knew you to be —and won – and together we worked through each health challenge. That final prolonged challenge, however, brought us repeatedly to the verge of darkness. And still, each time you rallied.

I realize that your mission, your purpose, was to stay with me. Even you could not seem to grasp the notion of separation. I watched you sleeping and wondered, often aloud: How can I cope with life without you? I saw the toll your warrior’s fight was taking on you, knew there was a diminishing number of rallies remaining.

Now, as I move through the shadowlands without you, I ask again: How can I move forward without you beside me, within my heart?

And the answer is this: My progress toward sunlight lies in the strength of your brave, loving spirit that lives in my heart, my soul, forever.

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