Letter to Camille: 93 Months, Part 1
Hello sweet girl. I have started this letter in my head several times, and I still haven’t gotten it quite right. It was going to be a letter about getting your first dog (!). About our trip to the mountains with long-distance besties.
But now, it’s about losing your very first pet. It happened just this morning and so it’s very fresh on my mind. I’ve decided this letter will just be about Piglet, and I’ll write you again later about these other, happier things.
We surprised you with Piglet on your 5th birthday – a sweet, furry brown-and-white guinea pig with wild and crazy hair.
He was very shy at first, preferring to hide under his house. But he made no complaint when we’d scoop him out of his cage and let him sit on your lap. He’d even chirp in approval when you’d stroke his fur.
You named him PIglet, and in 5-year-old scrawl, you penciled his name all over his house. Spelled “P-L-I-T.” A year or so later, you added the rest of the consonants.
When you had friends over, Piglet could often be found sitting patiently in a baby stroller, being “walked” all over the house. Sometimes he’d watch TV with you on the couch. Sometimes you’d just wrap him up in a baby blanket and let him sit in a chair and watch you draw.
He was a very good pig.
But Monday night he was clearly unwell. We took him to the vet Tuesday and got some medicine for him, but he never perked back up. When we went to bed Tuesday night I suspected he might not make it until morning. And sure enough, when we checked on him this morning he was gone.
I told you the news, and you crawled into my lap, put your arms and legs around me, and cried. You cried for a long time, and we talked about what a good boy he had been and how sorry we were to see him go.
While you were at school, your Daddy buried Piglet in the backyard and covered the fresh dirt with a stone marker. You came home from school with a friend and the two of you set to decorating the stone, covering it in loving messages and surrounding the whole mound with flowers, shells, and various grasses that you knew Piglet loved to eat.
It was a beautiful way to memorialize your sweet pet. Pets teach us about the joy and the responsibility of caring for another creature. And they also teach us about letting go. I’m glad Piglet was your first pet, and I know you will always remember him fondly.