All children need role models. Some things can only be learned by example and you teach them better than I ever could.
You have gone through so much, more hardship than most of us could cope with in a lifetime. Yet you are so young in years and you’ve put it all behind you.
You teach my children about hope. They see you put the day’s problems to sleep with the setting sun and wake in the morning full of the joys of a new day. And in that day you live for the moment and make every minute count.
You never turn down an opportunity to run, play and be with the ones you love. You show them that exercise is important and you make it fun.
Being with you has taught them that the great outdoors is not just for sunny days. Whatever the weather, there is fun to be had and exploring to be done. From muddy puddles to summer meadows, you show them the joy in their surroundings.
You teach my children about loyalty. You are faithful to your family, defending them from danger without a thought for your own safety. When they need you, you are always there.
From you, they learn to listen. You never question or judge them. You’re just there, for them and for us. Quick to provide a loving hug, knowing when we need one without being told.
You see the joy of companionship. Days out as a family, lazy mornings in bed, afternoons lounging on the sofa or playing in the garden. You are always pleased to see us, never begrudging the time we’ve spent apart.
You have taught my children to love. Fully and unconditionally, keeping nothing back. You are never afraid to show affection. In public or in private, there is no wrong time to show them that you love them.
In time, they will learn that even you will have your hour of need. The one who has always been there will grow old. Your boundless energy can’t go on forever. They will learn to give back to you then, to stay with you to the end.
You will teach them that sometimes their parents have to make the most difficult decisions, but that they will always do the right thing for someone who has given us so much.
And then they will learn about loss and grief. The pain of losing someone who has always been there. The emptiness and loneliness of a silent house.
They will learn that you are gone but never forgotten. We will teach them to keep you in their hearts and love you as you loved them. Always and forever.