Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #8: Writing About an Emotional Event (Letter to Brushie)

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Writing Exercise #8: On Monday, we lost one of our fur babies. Her name was Brushie and she was a very grumpy, albino hedgehog. She had been with us for over four years and was a valued member of our little family. It has been hard on us but I am finding it somewhat easier whenever I write about her. So for this exercise, I dare you to write about an event in your life that has been very emotional. It doesn’t have to be tragic. Just anything that you have deep inside and want to get off your chest. Don’t worry about style or grammar or spelling–focus on the emotions and thoughts you are feeling!

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In Memory of the Brush Hog

by J.N. Cahill

 

Dear Brushie,

I miss you so much. Especially at night. No crunching, sloshing of water, or huffing. Just pure silence. I think it kills Thomas, too. I still remember when we first got you. You were a grumpy but cute little thing. Before you left us, you still were a grumpy, cute little thing. Despite your constant grumpiness, we loved you. I miss so many things about you. Your cute little face. That little pink nose, sniffing away. The way your tongue would dart out. All the antics that made us laugh. Like eating pizza crusts, ranch dressing, and trying to tug a much larger pair of long johns for whatever reason. The way you would panic whenever you heard the water faucet turn on.

It’s hard to believe that you’re no longer here. I guess I thought you were invincible, that nothing would happen to you for a long, long time. Maybe it was the prickly quills that made me think that. When you got sick, we had no idea that death was even an option. We assumed you would take your medicine, rest, and be back to yourself in no time. If I had known, I would have done things differently.

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I feel guilty, Brush hog. When I had to come and get you to bring back home after work, I was slightly annoyed by it. I hated that you were hurting, but regardless there it was in the back of my mind. And then I saw how pitiful you were. Barely moving with bubbles occasionally coming from your nose. Oh how my heart softened. I kept reassuring you on the drive home, after you had your medicine. I smiled when you started sniffing around. When we got home, you huffed when I reached to take you out of the car. It seemed like the medicine was working. So I put you back in your box. Made sure you were comfortable and had food and water. Checked on you occasionally, but went ahead with my plans. Dinner. Watching TV. And then working out for a bit.

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If I had known, I would have kept you in my lap. I keep thinking that maybe if I had, you would still be there. It’s stupid, I know. The what-if game never helps. There was probably nothing I could have done to keep you living. We got you to the vet as soon as we could. We got you the medicine you needed. It just all happened so fast. Still, I wish I hadn’t went ahead with my plans. I wish I’d curled up with you. I wish I could have spent more time with you. But like I said, I believed you were invincible. That, like your quills, you would endure this.

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But as soon as I heard and realized you were crying in pain, I went right to you. It hurt so much to see you in pain. I had never seen you look like this. It was frightening. I did what I could, but still, I feel it wasn’t enough. I cried and held you and watched your breaths get slower and slower. I tried to be positive, to reassure you that it was okay. I don’t know if any of it helped. Please God let it have helped.

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Maybe that’s another reason I feel guilty–that I was there and Thomas was not. You were his girl. But he had to work late for taking you to the vet. I wish so much that he had been there. I wish he could have said goodbye. And I know in my heart, that even if I did comfort you, he would have been better at it. You loved him more. That’s okay. I understand. I’m sorry you only had second best. But know that I love you and am glad you are no longer in pain. I hope you had a happy life despite it all. No one will ever replace you.

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I’ll never forget the times you huffed at me. Or the way you used to lick your lips and sniff at the air. It breaks my heart that I will never hear Thomas use that baby voice he always used with you or the way he would bounce you on his palms to calm you down. I’ll miss the sight of you munching on pizza crusts, ranch dressing, and dried noodles. I’ll probably cry at the sight of an empty Toasted Rice cereal box. I might cry just looking at that cereal regardless. I’ll miss taking pictures of you. Of listening for you in the dark. I’ll even miss making sure that the temperature is warm enough for you and the carpet being wet after you knock over your water bowl. Lately you had been showing up unexpectedly. Like the time I was working out and you came into the room. Now I am glad that I paused long enough to scoop you up and talk to you. It’s all in the little moments.

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The last four years wouldn’t have been quite the same without you. I hope we were good parents and that you were happy. We will never forget you.

 

Rest in peace, Brushie.

 

Brushie Brushie Brushie. Grump. Brushie Girl. Grumpzilla. We’ll miss it all.

 

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