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Jessamyn McIntyre: How to Say Goodbye to My Best Friend

Benson. (Photo courtesy Jessamyn McIntyre)

How to Say Goodbye to My Best Friend

Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?

It’s a question with which Alfred Lord Tennyson created many debates. However, on whichever side you fall, lost love is something we all inevitably face.

This is why I chose to share my love letter to my best friend. My best friend I knew wouldn’t outlive me, but refused to consider the thought for many years. We always say the end isn’t actually the end, but when your heart is broken and seems irreparable, it’s hard to think otherwise.

Here is my broken heart.

Dear Benson,

I didn’t bring you into this world, but you were mine.

You were eight pounds of love that blossomed into 85 pounds of furry fury in a hasty manner. You drove me crazy and made me sane on a regular basis. That never stopped you from being my best friend and, most of all, loving me every day.

I hated leaving you for work, but I rationalized that knowing I needed the money to take care of you. I also love my job… jobs, all of them. It didn’t stop me from crying when I left your face, every time I walked out the door.

And now you’re leaving me – I guess I earned that.

We made it through five moves before we found our home. We love our home and you’ve made it your own. That’s evidenced by the countless bones, toys and blankets you’ve decided you were yours.

But everything was always yours, wasn’t it?

Dogs have a way of owning everything, no matter what. Each and every one takes over, but it’s hardly physical. Anything replaceable just doesn’t count. Dogs steal your heart and that love is unparalleled.

I wish you understood the words I spoke to you, the things I say to you in everyday conversation. Because I talk to you as a person – and to me, you always have been and will be.

If you could understand, I’d thank you for being there through love, loss, grief and pain. You already comprehend all of those emotions, but you don’t understand how grateful I am for you being there the whole time.

My selfish love for you will hopefully be washed away by knowing your pain is eased. You never complain about a thing, but you eventually let me know it was time.

So as you sit here, licking the tears off my face as I try to accept the end, I just want you to know that you’ve been my greatest love. You will never be replaced and my heart will never be whole again.

I will love you forever, just as you have me –I just wish there was a way to repay you for all of it.

My dearest Benson, I hate to say goodbye – so I won’t. One day I hope to see you on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Until then.

So is it better to have loved and lost, Mr. Tennyson? I’d have to say yes. For my life would just be less without it.

Forever your loving friend,


Jessamyn McIntyre is Executive Producer of 710 ESPN Seattle, Producer for Danny and Gallant (7-10 a.m. Monday through Friday on 710 ESPN Seattle, and the sideline reporter for radio broadcasts of Washington Cougars football.

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