Tribute to my “little man” Diego

Grief. I want to run from it.

I want to hide. I want to argue with it and wish it away. I want to escape it’s hold and grasp on what feels like every fiber of my being.

It comes in waves, creeping in unannounced, uninvited and without apology.

It has so many faces, none of which I truly want to look at.

And yet there really is no breaking free of it…, and there’s no one coming to my rescue.

Theres only leaning in, allowing, and feeling.

And God does it hurt like hell.

Rumi says “the wound is the place where the light enters you.”

And yes, this bruised and broken heart has been cracked wide open because of a love so big… A love who touched me so deeply that all these tears of sorrow become worth it. He is worth it.

This special soul entered my life almost 15 years ago.

We named him “Marius” until he shouted quite loudly that his name was “DIEGO!” Of course! Diego. How dare we just name him after Les Miserables and not ask him! And so it began; the most precious being to ever exist stamped his paw prints on my heart to change my life forever…

What a unique, significant, and bizarre little guy.

We had an instant bond and a Divine connection unlike any other. His quirky behavior and powerful presence left an an impact on every life he encountered. He personally showed me in every way what unconditional LOVE truly is. .

We called him Deegs, Deegy, Deegsy, Dregs, monkey and monks at times too. He was my Sill-sy, my Goods-y, he was the muffin man and will always be my “little man.”

He had some favorite toys; Raton, Elefante, Freckles, and Mummy Duck to name merely a few. Yes, we named all of his numerous toys. Neil even named his blankets!!! Every single day he laid on ‘Chocolate Thunder’ where he was perched in the window. ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ was a close second nearby.

He loved greenies, but wouldn’t eat them right away. He would dance around them for a bit.

And then he would take a good half hour or so, with the greenie in his mouth, as he looked for a hiding place. Up and down the stairs several times, in and out of blankets. It had to be the perfect spot. And he always knew where he left them for when he was ready to eat it.

He loved late night drives with his head out the window but only if he could be on your lap.
He hated leashes, and listened so well he didn’t need one. One lap around the block, or at the park, and he was tired and done anyway.

He barked at night bird, and really anyone who entered the home, until you sat down on the couch so he could sit in your lap.

He would eat a few bites from his food dish, step back and kick his legs, a term we fondly referred to as “El Toro.” He had it perfected.

He licked incessantly, and annoyingly at times I will admit, but made up for it by greeting me at the door every time literally hyperventilating with that chihuahua snorting noise they do, out of total and complete excitement to see me.

But for me, what is most relevant and meaningful is that he helped me learn how to be a mom. Taking care of him was a dream. I called him my son. And he will always be my baby.

A few years ago, I had to make the most difficult, sacrificial, and painful choice. One that today still breaks my heart in many ways; because it meant that I didn’t have every day with him anymore. I realize it was another Divine lesson he taught me about true, sincere love; putting him, his life and his well being first. Living with that decision, however, continues to be the hardest adjustment in my life… 

Yet every time we reunited it was PURE MAGIC; a reunion so healing that it was as if we had never been separated… and I realize now it’s because we never have been. Not then, and certainly not now!

I love you Deegs. I miss you more than words can ever say. I miss the way you looked in my eyes as if I was the only person who existed. I miss our endless cuddles in bed. I miss holding you and kissing your belly like crazy. . I miss you following me everywhere and in every room because you needed to see or be with me. I miss surprising you at the door and receiving all of the endless love you showered me with…

I thank you with all of my grieving heart, for each and every moment we had together, and for all you continue to teach me even now through my mourning. You are and always will be the brightest light, my shining star, that especially now is leading the way to a new beginning.

I look forward to our future journey and adventure together! Tell Chloe I love her. And you two behave. 

Love- your momz

Tina Marie Bertoli