No doubt most of this week’s columns will be about Christmas and New Year celebrations.  Many of my friends had children home from college, and family and friends traveling many miles just to spend the holidays together.

Kim and her husband usually arrive the day before Christmas Eve and stay with us for about 5 days.  I wake everyone by 5 a.m. on Christmas morning and we tear into presents for a while, and then sleep two more hours before we make our way to New Rochelle to be with the Francella clan.  But not this year.

We lost our Coco about a week before Christmas, and Ken and I simply couldn’t celebrate.  We didn’t have a tree and we put away all the decorations we had taken down from the attic.  In a sentence, Ken and I have been knocked on our keisters.  

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Coco was a beautiful Chocolate Lab with an enormous amount of love for us.  She was our constant companion; and when I sat with pen and pad in hand to write my column, all I had to do was put my arm down and I would feel her curled up by my feet.  She was always there…and then she was not.

I had not intended to write about this chapter of my life, but then I thought that she deserves the adulation.  I’m happy to let everyone know how lucky we were to have had such a kind and gentle companion for 12 years.  She was beautiful, well-behaved, well-cared for and loved so much.  Everyone who met Coco loved her and always asked if she was a puppy.

I’m still having moments of great sadness when I think of her, and I know I will feel this way for quite some time.  Thank you to friends and family who have reached out to us and who understand about the love a pet; and thank you to the readers of this column for allowing me to tell you about my extraordinary Coco.  Time will pass and I’ll be okay…just not right now.

Wishing you good health, peace and happiness in 2020.

joannfrancella@aol.com