Michael Kaltenmark, Butler Blue II's 'dad,' says goodbye in poignant letter
Last Updated: 96 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Saturday, August 31, 2013 will forever be one of the most difficult days of my life.
Saying goodbye to Butler Blue II, my first kid and best friend, was almost more than I could bear, but in the end, I owed it to him. His mission in life was to please me, even in spite of suffering. I couldn't allow that. I was grateful to have Tiffany Kaltenmark & Kurt Phillips by my side to see it through.
In the hours after, the guilt and sequence of events haunted me, but fortunately we were able to distract ourselves with family by the pool at the Woodstock Club where my brother and his family belong. Eventually, the storms rolled in and we retreated inside to have a hearty dinner and toast to our lost companion and nine great years.
As evening set in, we headed home to hug on Butler Blue III a little tighter, and for lack of a better term, just get on with life. It was so hard. We were home, but what had made our home a "home," was no longer with us. The emptiness was claustrophobic, and silence deafening.
Finally, the rain subsided so Trip and I headed for the door. We both needed the fresh air and exercise. It appeared that the break in the weather was only around our spot in Brownsburg as lightening flashed to the north and west, and the skies darkened to the south. It probably wasn't the best time to venture out, but at that point I don't think I cared if a stray bolt of lightning sent me to meet my maker. I figured it might allow me to reunite with Blue just that much sooner.
The loop around the neighborhood is right at about a half of a mile. I spent the first quarter mile just lost in my own thoughts and sobbing with pain. But then I started to become aware of my surroundings and Trip began to do what he does best...serve as a distraction. I was grateful to have the little guy around. He's good therapy.
So I started talking with Trip. Coaching him up. Reminding him that he's the man now. The shoes are his and if they don't fit at first, then it's on him to fill them. He was happy, looking back at me with confidence while trotting briskly ahead; all smiles with his tongue cocked to the side.
As we hit the home stretch with our home back in view, I began to cry once again. It was just a reminder that Blue had been in that very house just a few hours earlier, but he no longer is, and he never will be again. It's the little things like that which just tear you apart on the inside. The little reminders seem to form the biggest tears.
It was at that moment that I looked up to the sky and asked God one more time to look after Blue in the afterlife. I told God that I didn't know his stance on allowing dogs into heaven, but if he could do me a solid, I'd appreciate it if he'd make an exception for Blue. You know, just in case they weren't allowed in. After all, he's always enjoyed special access here on earth. He doesn't know any different.
While looking at the sky and the ominous scene highlighted by flashes of lightening, we returned to our driveway and just then, I could see the setting sun break through the clouds to the west. I rounded the corner by the garage to just have a glimpse. What I saw stopped me in my tracks.
Two Roman numerals emblazoned the blue evening sky. There was my sign. Blue II was in God's great company.
As our two-year-old son, Everett put it yesterday, Blue was in the sky with God. I could be sure of it. My soul will be eagerly awaiting his kisses for the rest of my days. I can't wait to join him.
My thanks to Blue II for nine fantastic years. There will never be another Blue II. He's set the bar and I'm here to tell you, Trip is ready to live up to it. Here we go!
Butler Blue II's farewell blog post can be found here.
The university is currently raising funds to build a memorial to Blue II -- and to all Butler mascots. Information about the memorial and the related fundraising effort can be found here.
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