"Come here, Teddy Bear, I have something I need to tell you."
"Teddy Bear, JD is very very sick."
"What does that mean?"
"Do you remember when you were little and you had that cough? Do you remember how you felt very tired and all you wanted to do was lie around all day?"
"Yes, I remember. That was icky."
"Yes, well, it's sort-of like that only it's much worse. He's tired like you were but he also hurts a lot when he moves and his tummy is upset so he's not eating very much. In fact, he's not eating enough. Teddy Bear, JD is going to die very soon."
"Does that mean he'll be able to play again?"
"No, Teddy Bear, it means he's going to go away and he'll never be able to come back."
"But, I don't want him to go away."
"Neither do I , Teddy Bear but it's not up to us."
"Why does he have to go away? Doesn't he like us anymore?"
"I'm sure JD loves us as much as we love him but dying is something that happens to everything that lives. At some point, Nikita, me, mommy, and even you are going to die. It's part of the cycle."
"So, if it's going to happen to me anyway, can I just go with JD?"
"No, Teddy Bear, it doesn't work like that. It's not your time. Besides, if you go with JD, you won't be able to see me, or mom, or Anabelle anymore."
"Oh. So, when is he going?"
"I don't know but it's going to be soon. I would very much like to get him home before it happens, though."
"Yes, Teddy Bear, we're going back to Oklahoma. Do you remember the house we lived in before we came here? The one with the big back yard and the deck and all of the birds?"
"Oh, yes! I like that place! Are we going back there?"
"Yes, we're going back there and I don't want to leave JD here. It just wouldn't feel right."
"I agree. I would like him to come home, too. Then maybe we can play in the big back yard again."
"I certainly hope you will get that chance. But I wanted to let you know how sick he was just in case that doesn't happen. And if he dies before we leave, I don't want you to be too sad that he's not there for you anymore."
"I'll try not to be sad but that might be very hard. I don't know what I would do without my big brother."
"I know but just understand that he's not going away because he doesn't love us and it's not because he's mad at us. It's just something that is going to happen and I wanted you to know before it did."
"Okay, dad. Can I go play now?"
Update, October 15, 2007
Jack Daniel passed away last night. We had gone to bed about 10:15 and heard him cry out around 10:30. I rushed to his side but there was nothing I could do. I don't know if he was aware of my presence or not, but I hope he was because it was the only thing I could give him.
There is a 24-hour vet hospital on the far West side of town. We just returned from dropping off his body. We will be bringing his ashes home with us. Had I realized it was a 24/7 clinic, I might have brought him there sooner so it didn't have to be like this. I feel very sad and somewhat guilty right now. We are all very raw from this.
When we returned home, Teddy was whimpering at the door. I knew he wanted his brother back and was upset that he'd been taken away. He went toward the back door but only stayed out a few seconds to confirm that JD was not in the back yard. He made a search of the house and kept coming back to me as if to ask where I had hidden him. He made a big effort of sniffing the blanket JD had been on. I was sad that I could not bring his brother back to him.