Dad here; Charlie is refusing to be rousted this morning, and Max and Mia for once are showing solidarity, so this one is mine…
I was out riding last night, my usual urban assault around Little Rock, and the thought of many of my friends and relatives who, due to age, or circumstances, no longer have the freedom to zip about at will. It made think forward to a day when I will be as they; will I be content, or will the memories of the incredible people and places I’ve had the privilege of experiencing haunt instead of comfort me? There’s a from Cold Mountain by that always comes to mind when I hear of someone experiencing a loss:
“That’s just pain she said. It goes eventually. And when it’s gone, there’s no lasting memory. Not the worst of it anyway. It fades. Our minds aren’t made to hold on to the particulars of pain the way we do bliss. It’s a gift God gives us, a sign of His care for us. Besides, remembering pleasures experienced long ago is painful enough”.
I received word that a friend lost her battle with cancer; she was the shop manager at the local Honda dealer, and was instrumental in putting together the Special Olympics rides we’ve been doing for the last ten years. Even though she initially had no idea as to my connection with Charlie, she was a follower of this page, which makes her loss that much more poignant, not just a friend but a member of the family.
And then there’s Darling Nikki, another one of Charlie’s angels who is currently fighting a hellacious battle with the cancer bitch, as she puts it. If you want to see the face of raw courage, go check out her FB page; she is a trooper of the highest order.
Then there’s Trevor, confined by both a wheelchair and TBI, and my old buddy Ritchie confined to a concrete crate doing life without parole, and the list goes on.
But where there is life, there is hope, and a purpose. Mom not only survived but thoroughly whipped her cancer, I survived my septic ordeal in the mountains, Charlie her incarceration in the crate, and I have no doubt in my mind that Nikki will continue the cycle. The disease she has does not define who she is, and believe without a doubt that she will rise above her situation like a phoenix from the ashes and she will have her own story to tell.
Our time hurtling through the cosmos on this chunk of rock is for but a moment, and the portion of that time that we get to spend with our goofy dogs is even more fleeting. If it’s a bit inconvenient to mow the yard because Charlie just MUST ride the mower with me, or trying to sleep becomes a monumental task because, well, you know, or I miss the climatic scene on “Narcos” because Charlie has a slimy squeaky toy that simply cannot be squeaked alone, so be it; those experiences are the mortar that hold the bricks of the journey together.
You only get one chance to listen to the wind, when it’s gone it won’t be back again; hug that dog, explore that dusty road, or better yet, take the risk of rejection by doing something for someone or something that can do absolutely nothing for you in return. Not daily, but a hundred times a day, until it becomes part of who you are, as natural as the act of breathing.
Then there will be no regrets; and if you can mix in a little adventure along the way? So much the better.
See you on the trail; dad out.