The Charlie Bravo Story


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.

Join the discussion

  1. Marg Woodworth

    All so true I’m your words but sad. Living for the moment and not looking too far ahead. I’m fighting the cancer bitch at present but getting good reports.
    There is hope. Take care.

  2. Dianne Lane

    Perfect timing. The pain will pass and I will have wonderful memories of the fascinating and fabulous people I met on the road to recovery. Thanks Chatlie Girl. ❤️

  3. Darling Nikki

    We be of one blood, ye and I… Sorry for your loss.

  4. Kathy Moody

    Good words to us all on this day of remembrances.

  5. Elisabeth Parrish

    Beautiful words, beautiful philosophy, Dad! Too many of us are prone to withdraw from all others once past pain has scarred us too deeply to bear. Sometimes we withdraw to keep from hurting others and end up hurting them worse. Your life and beliefs are an encouragement to let oneself feel again, for what time is left, while time is left, if we can only find the courage…

  6. Tammy Jones

    Needed this myself. There has been a couple of losses here in the last month and waiting for another. Trying to get rid of the invisible shadow that seems to linger.

  7. Sam Howard

    Great wisdom, from one who knows: amazing how some of us do so naturally and those who don’t and want to give up and hide. I still like the challenge and will climb any mountain, only if I get half way up, I did it. For those fighting the Big C, it is beatable stay happy and moving, you can do this.

  8. Diane Brannon-Keech

    I’m so sorry for your loss Bret, I hope the lives that she touched continues to be blessed. Your wife is a true inspiration to us all for many reasons, plus she fought the beast and wone. Darling Nikki, go toe to toe with the bitch. Looking forward to seeing you at Charlie’s on day. We be of one blood, ye and I.

  9. Mikki Calm

    As I read the comments, it comes to me that this is your purpose, all of us that you have touched in one way or another, have brought us together , we come from far and wide, all with our own stories, because we need to hear your words of thoughtfulness and wisdom . To know that on this huge planet we are not alone. There are others out there that feel the pain, the joys of life, and still keep going. We still love and want to laugh and be touched by others generosity and kindness. That is you and Charlie keeping us going. I’ve seen so many people fall into the trap of cynicism and negativity and can see nothing but the negative in life. That’s not where I want to go, so I keep tuning into the Casa, it helps me keep afloat, above all that can bring us down. If ever you need that extra boost I believe you can turn to any one of your followers, we’d be right there to put a smile back on your face. Thank you for all you do from the bottom of my heart. Your words go far and wide to keep love going!

  10. Becky Casper Wiltsee

    Thank you dad for these reminders of what is the best way to truly live our lives.

  11. Lisa Taylor

    This is to anyone fighting that bitch called cancer my prayers and hugs and dont let it win its a battle you all can win!

  12. Francesca Borowski

    Sorry for your loss. Life is hard and short…but couldn’t agree with you more. It’s the little things that make it worth living!!

  13. Shawn Suriano-Wellden

    How I want to live every day and feel like life’s chaos is always a barrier. I’m hoping there’s moments , even if I’m unaware, that it still plays out like I hoped

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