Mary Architzel Westbrook had her dog Moe for 13 years. Her 3-year-old son, Luke, had spent his whole life with the Beagle and grew very close to his canine companion. Sadly, in April, Moe passed away, a heartbreaking event for anyone who’s suffered this loss, possibly maybe even more so for a child who does because he may not quite understand what’s happened.
For Westbrook, she helped Luke by sitting with him at their kitchen table and writing letters to Moe. In her essay in Distinction, she wrote, “Luke tells me what to say and I write it down. Then, because you can’t fool a three-year-old, we take the letter to our mailbox. Usually, we address it to ‘Moe Westbrook, Doggie Heaven, Cloud 1.”
While she usually brought the letter back inside after Luke fell asleep, one night she forgot. When she remembered and went to get it out the next day, the letter was gone. She wrote that she thought the post office staff would just throw it away, perhaps after having a good laugh at the letter and/or Westbrook and her son. But that is not what happened.
What did happen was a million times better.
Instead of being ridiculed or never knowing what became of the letter, when Westbrook checked her mailbox on June 10, 2015, she found a letter. It did not have a stamp. The return address was simply “From Moe.”
She wrote in her essay that she would show Luke the letter that night. We can imagine what his reaction might be. And as for Westbrook? “Receiving the note reminded me of the goodness of people and just how big a small gesture can really be. Here’s to Moe, in doggie heaven, and thoughtful postal workers everywhere.”