Over the past few days, since Bandit's soul has left the Earth, I've moved through various stages of grieving. The first (now these are not textbook, I'm sure) was shock. He's gone... how did this happen so fast?! Then, I moved into pure sadness. My Bandit is gone... I miss him.. I'm cutting a cantaloupe and he's not at my feet begging for some. I'm walking outside and he's not running to be with me... the cats are running around like crazy and he's not coming to check it out... oh... there's some of his hair in the corner... where's his blanket? his food bowl is empty... I just ordered Advantage for him, it hasn't even come yet... where are all of my pictures of him... where's his leash, his collar, his toy? It was so strange and empty not having him here. Then I was mad... why did the vet leave me in the room for 1/2 an hour believing we could fix him!? I imagined him on the trail in the park.. walking him to the square... healing from surgery with my loving touch, hugs and kisses. How could they do that to me? Then guilt... I should have spent more time with him. I should have brushed him the other day.. if I'd known it was his last day eating cantaloupe, I would have given him the whole thing. If I'd known it was the last day that we'd walk to the square, I would have walked for hours.... if I'd known it was his last night sleeping next to our bed, I would have pet him longer before falling asleep. Then ... OK ... he's taught me so much about life and death. My little Bandit, without even knowing it... has reminded me to never, ever, ever take for granted the relationships that I have. Never go to bed angry... always pray for my family and friends... call them more... love them more... less anger... more joy and time spent together. Eat all of the cantaloupe. I love you Bandit! Thank you for all you've done for me. You made my life so much better by just being in it.