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Sasha and Jalean

More Than A Dog

By Deidre MelsonPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Our Best Friend

Today Dejai was graduating. Although it was only 5th grade, it was a big deal. Our family had experienced a great loss. On May 1st of 2017 my son passed away from a terminal asthma attack. In our culture, we celebrate the life left behind, not the void left inside of us. All we knew how to do was embrace one another and keep each other close.

Well today was the big day, and judging from our crowd, you'd have thought it was a college graduation. Me, my daughter, son, other half, several of my nieces, nephews and friends attended. Getting out of the door was chaotic. People were rushing to get dressed and trying to figure out who was riding with who.

In the mist of it all, there was Sasha. She hadn't been doing well lately. She seemed down she wasn't herself. But, then again no of us were. We were all grieving a terrible loss. My son was the light in many lives. He genuinely touched people. I learned so much about him at his going home ceremony. Over two hundred people showed up to his home going celebration. They all talked about how he made them feel.

Several of his friends talked about how he helped them adjust to a new school, new people and in one case a whole new life style. It was his friend Kyle. He'd moved from central Oregon. It was a small community with mostly white people. Now he was here in Portland, a diverse urban community that moved a lot faster than the small town he'd moved from.

He stood in front of the podium with tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face. When I first got here, I walked up all those stairs into the hallway, Jalean was the first person I saw. I didn't know what to think, He was a big dude, he laughed spreading his arms wide to express how large Jalean was. I had moused hair and a button up shirt buttoned all the way to the top. Jalean smiled at me, he walked up to me and said, naw. He proceeded to unbutton my shirt, messy my hair and untie my shoes. Now, you're good he said. His mood changed, he became very serious, that was the day we became friends. Smiling again he gave one last anecdote about his mother supporting him at his basketball game. She told him the story of a young black man coming up to her and embracing her. Giving her a long caring hug. I knew that was Jalean he said. That was the kind of person he was.

That is what our family had lost. A gentle giant, a real friend, a caring and kind soul. That was what Sasha was missing.

It was time to go! As usual I was yelling at everyone. Come on! We're going to be late! Put Sasha in the house! We all jumped into our assigned vehicles and drove away.

Several hours later we arrived home. Dejai stayed for her after graduation festivities. We opened the door and walked in. Something was wrong, there was no greeting from Sasha. Sasha, I called out. Come here puppy! Nothing. Sasha, I whistler and snapped my fingers. She didn't come. Something was definitely wrong. We raced through the house checking room after room. We became desperate. We checked location that it didn't make sense to check.

I felt a sense of dread come over me, I had felt this very panic before. It was when Sasha had gone missing as a small pup. The stakes were even higher now, we had lost Jalean, for Dejai's sake we couldn't lose the dog.

After searching the house, we took our search out doors. We began knocking on doors, checking in alley ways, checking in abandon yards.

It was like mother nature was weeping with us, as it began to rain uncontrollably. It was raining so hard, that the water washed the gel I had in my hair out. I fought through the sting of globs of gel streaming into my eyes. We ignored the showers. We continued to search.

After five long hours of searching in the rain, our soaked clothing was heavy and we went home in defeat.

We enter a house full of hope and happiness. She's in the house! My brother exclaimed. She's somewhere in here sis. Impossible, I thought. We had searched every inch of the house. How could it be possible that she was anywhere in the house?

Turn everything off, I walked over to the TV and hit the power button. We silenced anything that might interfere with us hearing the dog. There it was a faint murmur, a soft whine. In total disbelief we followed the sounds to the closet. We opened the closet door, a location we had previously searched. We heard it again, whines coming from the bottom dresser drawer.

Oh my God, I was shocked! There she was in the bottom drawer. I looked over at all the stunned faces, when my nephew began to speak. Naw, this is not possible. She hasn't been there the whole time.

You see Sasha is a Yorkie. She is very very very loud and energetic. She couldn't possibly contain first, her excitement to see her people come home, and then her endless barking.

This is supernatural, my nephew Kelsey put his hand on my shoulder. I began, y'all think she was following Jalean? Sasha will follow whomever is in the house. She uses a seniority system. If I'm home, then she follows me. If my oldest daughter was home, then it was her. She'd do this all the way down to my youngest daughter.

What we believed happened was Sasha was home alone. Jalean came to visit. She followed him where ever it is that he lives now, and visited for several hours. It was virtually impossible for Sasha to have open the bottom drawer. It was the type of dresser that had a hand slot that you used to pull the drawer out. In other words, it didn't have handles. It wasn't on rollers; it took a pretty good push to close and a pretty good pull to open the drawer.

We all concluded that she was safe, because she was with Jalean. He had taken care of her just as he would if he was physically here. Sasha seemed happier after that. Perhaps she knew something we didn't. I often recall the incident; I try to find another explanations. I can't. Maybe she got in the drawer on her own. Maybe it was a freak accident, but it helped our family. So many people asked why I hadn't left. Why hadn't I started over? Why was I not freaked out living where my son had passed away. Well, it gave me comfort, I felt close to him. I have since moved. It was a difficult decision, but one I needed to make. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my son. But every time I look at Sasha, I know there's hope.

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About the Creator

Deidre Melson

Hello like mind community of writers! It's taken a long time for me to be confident enough to allow people outside of my bubble to read my writings. I hope you all enjoy my writings as much as I have enjoyed yours. Cheers to us!

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