I have to carry her up the stairs now.

The hardwood floors in the house are covered with recently bought rugs, so she doesn’t fall, which is no longer the exception.

Falling is the rule.

But she’s a fighter, still breathing deep, laying at my feet.

I wrote a song a decade ago called ‘The Table’ about losing a loved one to cancer, not knowing that I was already losing her sister to bone cancer, as she too lay at my feet.

I didn’t know that song was for her until I lost her.

But I’ve told that story before.

Earlier this summer, a woman approached me with a letter after a show. She said the letter was from her 8-year-old son, who’d decided that he wanted to learn to play the guitar after seeing me play ‘The Table’ at a house concert. And when it came time for his very first guitar recital, that’s the song he wanted to play.

Which he did.

I promised her I’d read the letter and write him back.

Which I did.

His parents sent me a video of him playing ‘The Table’ at that recital. He looks a lot like I did when I was kid. He’s dressed better than me, though, especially these days. But we still wear the same kind of shoes.

This is how that dog that died of bone cancer almost ten years ago lives on. She’s running through the fingers of this kid playing a song written before he was born.

Her spirit keeps her near, right here.

Like the song says.

On that summer night before his mom approached me with his letter, I’d told the crowd that I’d never stop playing that song.

I don’t have a song for Stella yet.

That I know of, anyway.