By Heidi Simmons

Good-bye, my dear friend.

You loved to read!   At the start, maybe more than I did.  You certainly looked forward to it.  I often thought of reading as a chore, but you didn’t.  You could hardly wait for us to get started.

As soon as I picked up a book, you waited to see where we would settle down.  No matter where I chose to read — in the sunshine, on the couch, or upright in a chair – you were all in!  But it was never about the location.  It was about the reading and being together.   You were good with it no matter the book or genre.  You always found a place and were content to participate.  You exemplified “curl up with a good book.”


Amazingly, you stayed with the reading for hours.  You never got antsy or impatient.  You might gently shift, stretch out or get more comfortable, but you stuck with it.

Your presence made me stay put, and I kept reading.   Just one more chapter, and another chapter and please maybe one more.  You did not mind, in fact you welcomed it.   Even encouraged it.

I’d look at you often to see if maybe we should stop.  Without a word, you would look at me and say, “No, let’s not stop.  Don’t get up.  Keep reading.  This is nice.  You’re loving this like I’m loving it.  Please keep reading.”   You were right.  It was nice, even wonderful.  So, so wonderful.  I only wish you knew how wonderful and how meaningful it was for me.

I’m not sure I told you how much I appreciated you as my reading buddy.  I can only hope you knew.  Because I only realized how much it really meant to me now that you are suddenly gone.

I will forever love and cherish the time we read together.  You were good that way.  Snuggled up.   Sometimes I read out loud to you.  You never minded if I didn’t read well or I read too slowly.  In fact, you’d close your eyes, breath deeply and drift off to the sound of my voice – always loving the experience and our precious time together.   You created a sacred space.

You made our time together like you had nothing else to do.  I know that was not the case.  You had other hobbies, friends and family whom you loved.  You equally valued the time you had with them.  I wasn’t the only one you read with.   Yet, you made me feel that our time reading together was the most important thing you had to do.   I like to think you did indeed love our reading perhaps more than anything else.

You lived in the present.  You were your own self-actualized being.  You were smart and independent.  You did not like everybody, but you tolerated most people.  You were curious and interested, wise, observant and a quiet spirit.  You were always available whenever someone needed you.

You made me a better reader and a better person.   You taught me that it was okay to sit still, to relax, to forget the world around me.   To engage.   To be here now.   Just read.

It was you who showed me that time was not relevant.  You taught by example.  You were always in the moment.  You were alert and aware, yet unhurried and unworried.

I learned to settle in and just simply read the words on the page.  You seemed to know, if together we just stayed in that place, a story would emerge and it would become bliss.   You were so right.

This made reading such a pleasure.  A joy.  It made reading easy.  Calming.  Valuable.  Important.  I learned to be a better reader because you made me stay with it.    Being my reading buddy, you gave me enough time to delve into the narrative.  Make a dent.  Get involved.  Reading with you made the experience better.  More beautiful.  Reading didn’t have to be something I did alone!

I was not the only one to experience your guidance and gentle touch.  You were best friends with my husband.  In many ways, his only truly, trusted confidant.  You taught my sons the same wonderful lessons.  In profound ways, you shaped their character, molded them into good men.  I’m so, so grateful for what you did to make our lives so tremendously blessed!

Beyond your love for reading, you were a sage.  You never betrayed a soul.  I never knew a being could be so macho and tough, yet be so sweet and sensitive.   You were completely true to yourself.  Never wavering.  You always gave your all and loved unconditionally.

Since your death, the days have shifted.  There is a void in the world.   There is a hole in my soul that aches terribly.

I have tried to read.  We were halfway through a book when you unexpectedly passed away.  I could not get through a signal sentence without thinking of you.   Now, nothing makes sense.   Nothing looks good or interesting.  I cannot sit still.  I cannot focus.

Although you lived a long, good life, that does not ease the pain of your absence.  Right now, it feels as though my reading days are over.   It’s hard to imagine how I will read again, or if I can get through a book without you, my dedicated reading buddy.

Yet, at the top of this page, in the corner, there you are, still with me.  We were both younger and busier then.  We hadn’t yet started our reading ritual.  But how appropriate, dearest Bullet, that you share my Book Review columns.  Because without you, I don’t think I would have discovered the great pleasures of reading.

H_Bullet1Dearest Bullet, were you a great dog and the best reading buddy a person could ever ask for!  I can’t believe you’re gone, but you left me with a precious gift.   I’m eternally grateful for your reading companionship.   Not only did you make reading special, but for nearly 16 years, you made my life significantly better each and every day you walked on the earth.  You taught me so much.
I will always remember your breath in my ear; your heartbeat on my chest; your soft fuzzy touch and the weight of your warm body across my lap.

Rest in peace my sweet, noble Bullet.  Thank you for your love and dedication.  I love you and I miss you.

Bullet.  January 2000 – November 2015