Natasha my love,
You picked me,
One of the few who has,
Maybe the only one.

You came out of darkness and said, “Take me”.
There was no “please”.
There was no plea.
It was a command.

I adored you when I saw you,
Because you were so small and weak,
So strong and confident,
So eager to be free.

You had been born sick,
And struggled to survive.
You were manhandled by those who sought to save you,
But you had an indomitable desire to be.

My OCD son followed you as you paced.
Your guardian told him to respect your space.
But later that night, he sat with you,
As you dared dream of venturing out.

When you finally ventured forth, you found a large and menacing bandit.
You sat silently, making yourself yet smaller,
To protect yourself from male aggression,
Only to find that it was really utterly-smitten male submission.

Then you looked him in the eye.
And he fell in love with you forever,
You two spent your days cuddling
When you weren’t playing with delight.

We rushed you to the hospital many times.
When you were away, Bandit was forlorn.
You faced the sickness without fear.
Even when they poked and prodded, you pranced without a tear.

When you came back, we all hugged you
And you settled in again with Bandit.
He gently licked you
And you gently licked him.

You went out and played with Bandit,
But ran immediately back when we called.
Not just because you feared being out alone,
But because Bandit was back home.

In your last picture, Bandit and you snuggle close head to head,
But there is a small speck of blood in your nose.
We didn’t see it until the picture made it clear.
Only later did we know it meant the end was near.

When it was time, you stumbled out from the dark
And asked me to pick you up.
You could not stand
And needed to be held by the one who was always at your command.

We rushed you to the hospital.
But it was too late.
You died in my arms,
And my heart just broke.

Bandit was not there.
He was alone at home in despair.
He sensed something had happened
And sought your smell to quell his fear.

We watched you go,
A spirit, not a body any longer.
I wept in the sterile room
And Bandit howled at home.

You were the little one
Who commanded me to take you
To life
And to death.

Natasha, I still remember you in the basket
So beautiful and benign,
Loving us,
But waiting for your Bandit.

Now I wait for my own Bandit, Bead.
You taught me, Natasha, to command her to take me
To life
And to death
When it comes.