2021 has not been a good year for our humans. In January, Eric and Derrick lost their downstairs housemate and friend, Paul. Affectionately known as the beast in the basement, he was someone they both loved, and we think Paul returned the affection. It’s not always easy to tell with curmudgeons. However, staying in the home for over thirty years tells one a great deal about how comfortable Paul was with his living situation.That loss was only compounded when, on December 15th, 2021, at 10:00 in the morning, Derrick’s heart stopped beating, and Eric’s was broken into splinters. There are wails coming from Eric’s bedroom that scare even us, and we’re ghosts. Pain has its own sound, and Eric knows it all too well. Eric held Derrick’s hand in the hospital for three days while doctors and nurses tried to cure a septic infection inside his mate. However, nothing they did could stem the disease. Eventually, they pulled the tubes from Derrick’s throat, Eric kissed him goodbye, and the youngest member of their family stopped breathing.We are quiet in the house now. We hope that between the sobbing, Eric finds time to sleep. It doesn’t come easily for him. He wanders around the house, picking up items and putting them back down somewhere else. He says he’s cleaning, but for the most part, he is simply rearranging the clutter from one part of the house to another. Items of relatively little value to others are sacred relics in our home. They hold the memories of the men he loved. He handles them, feels the memories flow through him, and then returns them to their resting places.The house is filled with too many ghosts that Eric keeps bumping into. All the joy in making the website has left now that two of the three who framed it are dead. We leave behind this one page to the website we thought would grow over the years. We know a crushed spirit when we see one, and Eric is so broken now. We don’t have time for the website anymore. We are a part of the memories of this house that may one day cobble Eric’s heart back together. We try to calm him in the quiet of the night. We stand witness to his grief when no one else is here. We share a few pictures of the ones no longer filling up Eric’s life. The joy they brought into this world will be missed by so many others beyond Eric. But the years of making a home, of creating a family, will leave him longing more than others will ever know. We mourn along with him, and one day, in the quiet of the night, we will pull down this last page when he is sleeping. It will vanish forever like so many of the dreams Eric had of a future that will never be. We will huddle around him, and hope his smile returns again one day. That day may come when the memories of the two he loved aren’t the pain of losing them, but the joy of having had them in his life. It will be bittersweet, but that is to be expected. We will wait. We are dead bears. We understand.