Erin's Letter

I don't know what I'm going to do with you no longer here to guide me. You have helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. You listened to me, cried with me, and sat quietly with me. After pondering for a moment or two, you'd have sound advice and offered it. You were never inhibited in telling me how you felt about something. If you thought I was wrong, or was feeling sorry for myself, you'd tell me. You would always support me no matter what my decision. Your travels and experiences had made you so wise, so patient and so understanding. You were always able to turn a seeming disaster in my life into something I should feel fortunate of having - you showed me how to look at things from a different point of view, and not see life in such a negative tone. You had such a fascinating life - you've been on some amazing voyages, and I loved hearing about all the places you and Tom had lived, and all the things you had encountered and all the realizations you have had.

I always respected how you worked at a job bringing new life in the world. What a selfless act. Because I'm sure not every delivery into the world was as perfect as I would like to think it should be. Do you know how many families you made happy every day you worked? And your family relationship. You were so proud of Kathleen and John-Michael. I enjoyed the look in your eye every time you spoke of them. The love you had for them couldn't be equaled. I hope they know that. And Tom was your true love. It was obvious the relationship and friendship you two shared. I hope to find that one-day too.

And your wonderful shelties. This is how I best knew you. The care and attention you gave them. Always did they look perfect because of your endless hours of care. And everyone you knew who had shelties also had perfectly looking ones because you were usually brushing them all! No matter what your dogs did, you loved them. I have many e-mails of how you spoke of the dogs so fondly. You made me see that a dog is a creature that requires little more than the love of its person. Never were you angry when one of your troop didn't do something, or did something "evil". You always had a pet and a treat waiting for them. You showed me that a person needed little more than the love of her dog as well. It didn't matter what he did, so long as you loved him anyway.

You were the one I would call from a show to tell you how well we were doing. And you were always so excited to hear how things were going. You always asked about everyone, and wanted all the details. And if by chance I would forget to call, there was sure to be a voice mail or e-mail message waiting for me when I got home. You had such an interest in how we did. I think you knew and were proud of the fact you played such a key role in Jag (my dog) recovering from his illnesses, so it was a team victory no matter how well we did.

You were the one who gave me "arm envy" - you had the greatest arms. I have been lifting weights so that I could have arms like yours. You always laughed when I told you things like this, but encouraged me on. In fact, you laughed a lot. I know you didn't always feel 100%, but no one would know that. You would still be setting up jumps in freezing weather or attending late night meetings to keep our club going. You had enough energy for the rest of us and then some! It was your drive and dedication to our sport that kept us going when we felt so burned out. You were not the best at painting, and you were pretty bad at course building, but still, you tried your best and kept us moving forward. Look at the wonderful job you have done. We have a fabulous new club with a fantastic training program - all thanks to your hard work.

You were one of those rare people who would come out to support a friend when they needed you. I will never forget how you sat with me in the hospital for three hours during my infusion. We watched a dog video together and had so much fun in such a somber setting. You kept checking the IV lines and monitoring my vital signs as if you were my nurse! I don't know what I'll do without you for my next infusion - I will have to remember the last one with you by my side. Or the time my dog became so ill. This was one of the toughest times for me. You were there to hug him and me, and you did all sorts of research to help me better understand what was wrong with him. I will never forget the love you showed my dog, and the love you introduced me to.

I was so honored when you adopted my term of reckless abandon. You were always so surprised when I would say I learned something from you - always the modest one were you. I really learned a lot from you, Jane. But when you adopted this term, I was so proud to have given you something. I always felt I could never thank you enough for all the things you've done. And here, all you wanted was a simple term you could have in your mind when running on the course to put you more at ease. To you it was not just a simple term; it held a lot of meaning for you. When I run my courses, I will always remember to run them with reckless abandon - and hold a smile inside my heart because I'll be thinking of you.

Of course I wish you could see all the wonderful things which lay ahead. It is my prayer you will see them somehow. With every victory I have, and every hard decision I have to make, and every good time I have, I know you will be there with me as you always have been. I love you, Jane, and I will miss you everyday. Thank God I was able to know you, as short as it was.

Love, Erin

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Revised: November 19, 2006 .