Hi my name is Taylor.

I told my papa that today I wanted to talk to him about his best friend Derek and his best friend’s best friend Tucker.

I did not get any sleep last night. My buddy Tucker passed away at 10:40 PM in Atlanta. I’m so very sad, but really glad that Tucker got to be with his papa, my Uncle Derek, and his parents. Doggy Heaven opened its gates to a great one.

My papa met Uncle Derek almost seventeen years ago. They met thru DaveRisner, one of my papa’s close friends, an old roommate of his; and DaveRisner was a friend of Uncle D’s. Within a couple weeks of meeting, my papa shared with Uncle D that he loved him and knew they would be best friends throughout the rest of their lives. Uncle D was such a good guy that some of his closest friends had also become some of my papa’s closest friends. And in turn, some of my papa’s best friends were Uncle D’s best friends. And also my original papa, my papa’s brother – my PapaG – and Uncle D were best friends too. Uncle D had a light about him. He was like a superhero, one of those men who always did right by his family and friends, loyal to a fault, always putting them and what’s best for others before himself. He always showed up for those he loved, often the rock that others needed and/or wanted. My papa saw that almost immediately, and every day since, all Uncle D has done is reinforce those initial thoughts and feelings.

Today is Uncle D’s birthday.

Throughout the years, my papa and Uncle D have had many epic adventures – in New York, Atlanta and Vegas, and countless good times in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Cabo San Lucas, in Costa Rica, all over India, and all over Thailand. The places were special no doubt, but it was really the time they spent with each other that was so meaningful. They both looked at life in the exact same way. They both knew that life was to be lived every day, with kindness and passion. The coincidences in their lives only gave evidence to the fact they were in fact more than just friends, but instead truly brothers. Both of them loved nature, at home on a trail, loved sunrises and sunsets. Both loved to paint; in fact, Uncle D would be the person to inspire my papa to pickup paintbrushes over a couple years ago. Both had been in horrific pedestrian/car accidents, Uncle D when he was a young boy, and my papa when he was an old man. Both had mothers who were nurses; and both their mothers shared the same birthday.

And both of them loved us, their dogs. My papa’s best friend Uncle D’s best friend was his dog – my cousin Tucker. Tucker was the smartest, chillest, coolest dog on the planet. Tucker loved peanut butter and chasing after squirrels even more than I did. And boy did Tucker love his papa, my Uncle D. My papa would call Uncle D “the dog whisperer”. Uncle D and Tucker had a symbiotic relationship with each other. They would dog sit other dogs – lots of dogs – and Tucker was so good, he wouldn’t ever make a fuss about it. I don’t know if I could have done that.

Papa and I would visit Uncle D and Tucker often in Santa Monica. If I had to do it all over again, I would have behaved so much better. I once bit Tucker; he deserved better. My papa was pissed at me; but Uncle D was so understanding. He knew I couldn’t help it and was just acting within my nature. Two of my favourite times ever was when Papa and I joined Uncle D and Tucker in Yosemite in a big RV for New Years 2013. (They spent most New Years together, but this one was the best, cos we were all together.) Tucker and I played while our dads painted. And then another time, Uncle D and Tucker stayed with us in Sausalito for a week while they searched for Zen. I’m still not sure who or what Zen is or was, but I’m sure Tucker knew. Anyways, for us dogs, it was a whole lot of hiking. And we loved it. My papa and I spied a picture of Tucker in Uncle D’s arms embracing each other. I saw so much love at that moment.

We are great judges of character, I dare say better than most humans. We can spot goodness from miles away, and both Tucker and I knew from the very first time we met him what a kind and special person Uncle D truly was.

My cousin and best friend Tucker Layne passed away a couple nights ago. Today will be a tough birthday for my Uncle D.

I will miss Tucker Layne.
But I’m lucky, I can still see him and talk with him.
I loved him. I always will.
I love his dad, my Uncle D.

Happy birthday, Uncle D.


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2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Uncle D

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