When I tell people my younger brother, Eric, has autism, it is not uncommon for them to ask, “Was it hard growing up with a brother with autism?” I tell them, yes, at times it was and still is difficult, but that is not what comes to mind when I think of Eric. He has always been my younger brother first, his autism is just a part of who he is. He is so talented and is the most brilliant person that I know. From him, I have learned so much. He has taught me to find patience during times of stress and joy in times of sadness. So, instead of dwelling on the hardships, I like to celebrate his achievements and the positive impact that he has on not only me and my family, but on everyone who is lucky enough to meet him. He is truly an amazing individual and I am blessed to be able to call him my brother.
Last night, there was a knock at my door. When I went to open it I was shocked to find my beloved dog, Georgie. My shock quickly turned to pure joy as she came bounding through the door, greeting me with dozens of those big sloppy kisses that I have missed so much. Overcome with excitement, I fell to the floor and took her into my arms. I held on to her as tightly as could, determined to never let her go again. Eventually, I released my hold on her, taking her furry head in to my hands I looked her in her eyes as she looked back at me. It was as if time had stopped. It was me and her, just as it used to be. I was trying to take it all in when she suddenly stood up and ran away from me toward a light in the distance. Panic took over as I began to chase her yelling at her to come back, but with every step I took, the light become brighter and my sight of her became weaker. I continued to chase her until the light became so powerful that I was forced to look away. And then I woke up.
I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since I have had to say goodbye to my Georgie girl. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I remember carrying her to the car and into the vets office. I remember petting her and telling her how much I loved her. I remember my dad lifting her up onto the cold, metal table. I remember holding her head as the life slowly left her body. It was one of the hardest days of my life.
Georgie was so much more than just my childhood dog, she was my best friend. For fifteen years of my life, she was always right by my side, filling even my darkest days with love and joy. As hard as it is to accept that I will never again be able to hold her, I find peace knowing that I can look forward to seeing her in my dreams. She will forever be my Georgie girl.