A Letter to Bruno

Author: Yugal SehgalOriginally published on January 5, 2021

It's been three years since we lost you, since I lost you. Life has gone on, as it indifferently does — the regularities of it keep the mind engaged. Some days are good, some not so much. The world has changed significantly. My life has changed significantly. Your absence has become a stubborn reality, an unpleasant truth I can no longer disbelieve. And life continues to go on.

A portrait of Bruno by the author.

The imprints of your life still live on our walls and doors, as tangible reminders of your existence. I look at them when I miss you and know that you were indeed real, that I didn’t just dream of you, because I dream of you often. My internal world has you visiting frequently, my heart feels your presence in odd little ways, and my spirit senses you around me. Or so I make myself believe. I find comfort in imagining memories with you that I do not have, wondering what could have been, more than relishing what was. I realise that’s very wrong of me because we shared what was easily the most joy I have shared with anyone in my life. Growing up with you was the best thing about my childhood, and losing you was equivalent to losing just that. Adulthood has been a bitterer pill to swallow because of it.

The first five days of the year feel tainted because they remind me of your final struggle, of you fighting for life, and then losing it. I cannot not visualise that. I cannot not feel responsible for it. I know I could’ve done more, and that I didn’t haunts me. It's a punishment I live with. Our ten years of blissful life get overshadowed by those dreadful five days, but I cannot let that be my defining memory of us. I cannot let that be our story.

"Bruno and I" portraiture by the author.

I miss conversing with you, telling you things that I knew made zero sense to you whatsoever, but I miss knowing that you were always listening. I miss seeing you first thing when I reached home, sitting right across the door on that favorite stair of yours, wagging your tail and giving me those acknowledging nods and snuffles. I miss calling you Doctor Brunner or Douglas for no reason, and then giving your head a vigorous pat, often to your amusing annoyance. But most of all, I just miss your presence. I miss those many many boring hours we spent in each other’s company, with you sitting or sleeping by my bed, coexisting in silence. As dull as that seemingly was at the time, I realise it was more affirming … than this.

Losing you has been my biggest personal loss. In you I had a little brother, an unquestioning confidant, a wholly loving companion, and the purest friend, and with you I lost them all. Others may come close but nobody can fill those shoes quite like you did. You were meant to be those things to me and I refuse to give others that sacred right.

As life goes on and I go along with it, I take your carefree ways, your unconditional love, your effortless liveliness, and your inspiring bravery with me. I take your warmth with me. And as the world continues to change and my life changes with it, I relish the idea of one day meeting you again, playing with you and telling you nonsensical things, spending many many boring hours with you, and just coexisting in silence. Coexisting ... in an affirming silence.

Until then I smile in reminiscence and remember you in love. Until then, I remember you in gratitude. Thankyou for everything, partner. ❤️

Yugal Sehgal writes about life, mindfulness, and people. He lives in India. Follow him and @drawcuments on Instagram.