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The Suitcase

The Suitcase

It’s only minutes before the chimes of my grandfather clock alert me that midnight has arrived. Sleep, this Saturday night, has not found its way on my “to do list” just quite yet. Instead, my decorative night light illuminates the corner of a room that I have not wanted to disturb or rearrange since August 3rd of last year. 
 
In this spare bedroom, there is a shiny hard-shell suitcase that sits on its belly near my dresser. Granted, this is not the place an idle piece of luggage should rest when not in use, but it has stayed dormant in this specific location for much longer than even I thought possible. I haven’t had the courage or wanted to look inside to examine the contents until right now. I turn on my overhead light, take a deep breath and feel ready to release any additional pain that stops me from healing from loss.
 
As I slowly listen to the sound of the zipper rounding the corner, I hesitate ever so slightly, before taking a deeper look. There in both compartments, are Barney’s neatly folded little outfits intertwined with my tee shirts and a pair of pj’s. My travel buddy’s sense of style far surpassed mine in both quality and quantity, and I instantly summon those amazing hotel memories to help me to unpack.
 
I am not sure if you knew this juicy little tidbit, but Barney worked undercover when business meetings called me to stay in different hotels in the Tri-state area. It was always important to Grandma and me, that the staff members were kind and welcoming, provided amenities that were top notch for our boy and that our pleasant experiences could be passed on to other families requesting information when traveling with their beloved companions.

Barney’s routine when entering a guest room never wavered. He would test every small dog bed, by jumping in paws first and giving it a good once over. As his trusty assistant, I further examined his private space for cleanliness and comfort. Ultimately, Barney always decided that the big king bed and pillow adjacent to mine, was the only place he needed and wanted to be.
 
As I share these photos highlighting some of our adventures, I will never forget one funny incident. In one of the pictures below, Barney took a quick look at the bed provided, sniffed it, lifted his leg and left his mark.  

My suitcase may now be empty but my heart remains completely full. As the physical and emotional weight of the suitcase is now pounds lighter, I can finally store it in the appropriate closet. As I slip back into bed, I am beyond grateful that Barney left his indelible mark on me too.