The hardest part of not having your best friend with you after saying goodbye is the firsts. The first week, first month, first Valentine’s Day, first kayaking trip, first hike, first birthday, first Christmas, the first everything. Today is one of those firsts for me. It would have been Karlie’s fifteenth birthday and it is the first one that she is not here. It’s a hard day. The last time we went kayaking, I told her if she made it to this birthday we would have a blow out celebration. I knew it was unlikely, but I hoped she would beat the odds. Sadly, she did not since we said goodbye in February.

saying goodbye, dog, kayaking, kayaking with dogs
Last Kayaking Trip at Liberty Station

Instead of being sad, I’ve decided to make it a special day and celebrate with our new puppy, Sunny. It will be a day to remember Karlie by doing some of her favorite things – taking a walk on the rail trail where we walked many times, playing ball, and eating ice cream. Every year I am going to make this a day to remember my sweet tennis ball-loving girl and all the great times we had. A day to celebrate her and her resilient spirit. That doesn’t mean there won’t be tears and a desire to have her back. Hopefully that will be balanced with happy memories and new memories.

If you are experiencing some of your firsts, I encourage you to make new happy memories instead of dwelling on the sadness. It’s not easy, but your best friend would want you to be happy and in the end it will be better for you. Don’t feel guilty for trying to be happy. Do some of her favorite things and go to her favorite places. Keep busy and make new memories.

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