The Charlie Bravo Story

This too shall pass

Dad here; Friday is always a day of frolicking at the Casa (but aren’t they all?), but this one is bittersweet, as we received news yesterday concerning one of the original followers of this page:

Darling Nikki has passed.

As most of you know, she had waged an epic war with cancer, but though her determination and grit were incredible, it was her dignity that impressed me the most.

We never actually spoke on the phone, instead conversing through PMs and emails; for all her bombastic facade, I gather that she was very proper, polite lady who considered a private conversation somehow improper, and I respect that.

Our conversation started when Charlie and I were preparing for a trip out west; she emailed me requesting that we post as many updates from the road as possible, as she was bedfast at that time and was living vicariougly through the ride reports. We even discussed renaming Miss Ellie in her honor, as it was at this time we were struggling to get her back on the road(Miss Ellie, not Nikki). Nikki was all for the idea, but I could never make myself follow through, as even though I have the best of intentions, cars are transient; accidents happen, circumstances change and they have to be sold, and I thought Nikki was deserving of a memorial more permanent.

Nikki’s condition continued to deteriorate, as to a much lesser degree, so did mine; at roughly the same time she went into hospice, I lost my job. I in no way equate the two events, and only bring it up to acknowledge Nikki’s selflessness; at a time when she should have been concerned only with her own situation, she texted me, offering not only condolences but also monetary assistance. I assured her all was well, but was awestruck and humbled; the cancer had her body, but nothing could negatively affected her heart.

Shortly before she passed, I asked if she would mind if I dedicated the print version of the forthcoming book to her memory before she died, and actually had a post ready to publish concerning this conversation. She was all for it, but was also quick to let me know that she wasn’t done fighting just yet, so I never posted, and I still think that was the right decision.

Although the book, and the dedication, will proceed as planned.

Now I can’t hardly write as the bed is shaking, not with uncontrollable sobs or anything like that, but Charlie, Max, and Mia are putting on their every Friday morning show. Snarling, thrashing, fighting, playing, generally making absolute nuisances of themselves, which is somehow a far more suitable tribute to Nikki’s life than mourning our loss, at least as far as I’m concerned.

RIP, Nikki.

Join the discussion

  1. Denise Cooper

    Find solace in the knowledge that Nikki is now bathing in the Glory of the Lord … Where bodies are healed and there is no pain. That you remember her and her kindness and shared it with us will be part of her legacy …

  2. Alaine Gentner

    You’ve touched many lives with Charlie, his adventures, the Facebook posts of all of the Casa residents…RIP Nikki… You made her journey a more awesome one with Charlie!

  3. Marjorie Erdman

    My belief allows me to know that Nikki can now travel with you instead of living vicariously through your writing. Godspeed Darling Nikki.

  4. Aimee Hahn

    Ah, these blurry pages, won’t they ever stop that? Though I find the emotion welling is mixed- sadness for the loss, but deep sustained joy at learning of such an amazing lady. Rest peacefully, Nikki, until we meet face to face.

  5. Debra Nyman Hirsch

    Very touching. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Diane Brannon-Keech

    I hope that she will continue to live on through your words, and who knows she may even guide you your next adventure. She was always my badass….We be of one blood, you and I

  7. Kathy Moody

    It sounds like you made Nikki’s life better than it could have been. She sounds like she was a wonderful lady. R.I.P. Nikki.

  8. Christine Carr Reese

    I am sorry to hear of your loss of a friend. <3

  9. Marie A Mise

    Charlie and co. made her last days happy ones. RIP Nikki. And I hope you find work soon.

  10. Darcy Roberts

    i’m just sure Nikki and Stevie Mae are joining forces to watch over and protect all the members of the Casa and the followers of this page!! rest in heaven ladies! you will forever be missed!!!

  11. Kim Griffin

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Rest In Peace Nikki.

  12. Cathy Buro-Yauch

    I’m thinking that Charles has a new angel sitting on her shoulder. Maybe she will keep Stevie company at the bridge for awhile first <3

  13. Karen Ragle

    I so enjoyed Darling Nikki’s comments on here. One would never have guessed that her own situation was so dire. RIP sweet lady!

  14. Sam Howard

    I remember Nikki postings, due to her name. She was a warrior I now know, may her spirit travel with the residents of Casa del Wacko.

  15. ChrisTina Elliott

    Marjorie…….most beautifully stated…..RIP Nikki…..

  16. Sandy Runyon Lough

    Oh, dad. That is perfect. Nikki would – in fact does, I know – love it. Being of the same blood…nothing else quite like it.

  17. Sherry Ralph Jadrnak

    Condolences to Darling Nikki’s family and friends. May she fly with the Angels, our janky-eyed Stevie right by her side❤

  18. Theresa Thomas

    So sorry for the loss of your friend, Bret! She sounded like she truly had a heart of gold. Rest easy, Darling Nikki! Prayers to her loved ones.

  19. Mikki Calm

    Soar high sweet lady , stretch your wings and fly to heights you’ve never before seen. Peaceful thoughts rise up to you!

  20. Elisabeth Parrish

    Your posts weave a delightful tapestry of humor that call out to the finer threads of humanity that exist in us all, and they make us smile, no matter how grim may be the coming day.. How blessed you were to have Nikki for a time and how blessed she was to have you!

  21. Pat Stibbs

    Nikki will be with you & CB now in spirit.

  22. Jeannine Prince

    I shall wear purple on Sunday in honor of Darling Nikki, and I hope that Bon Jovi will go to her memorial as she requested. I wish I had been able to know her in person. Fly free and whole, Zenaida “Darling Nikki”.

  23. Jody Hess-Franey

    Condolences for your loss. I just read her obit and I’m sorry I wasn’t lucky enough to know her – she sounds like one hell of a great person and a very cool chick! Rest In Peace Nikki. Rock on!

  24. Mary Lou Murphy- Przewoznik

    How great to see how posting the exploits at the casa and your travels gave joy to her ( as well as others!). Truly a wonderful gift! RIP Nikki!

  25. Margo Meyer

    She is at peace and will travel with you and Charlie Bravo – The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story on all your future journeys. Continue to share your stories and bring all of us along on your travels. I’m still waiting for your book. I’m thinking it will be amazing! Whenever you get to Alaska, give me a shout!! Charlie would love to be friends with my Peeka (friendly karelian bear dog)!

  26. Laurie S. McLendon

    thinking of you all & Nikki–so sorry for this news

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