Oh my goodness your precious, delicate heart has been reeling the past 3 months. Now is a good time for me stop by.
I remember a few years back you played a song, “Pictures Of You” by The Cure and as I sat next to you. I asked you why did this song make you cry? You told me that one day it would epitomize me not being there. All you would have, was pictures of me.
Now is that time.
Thanksgiving has always been our favorite day of the year together! I watched you cook and waited for your mistakes. Remember our very first year together when the pumpkin pie with whipped cream fell onto the floor? The complete pandemonium of the two of us diving for it. You, to keep me from it and me, to devour it! We wound up in a whirlwind of wrestling for the dessert, both covered all over in it and then the best part. Laughing and embracing each other. The pie had become irrelevant to our love for each other.
It’s important as we always did over our 11 years, that we now give so many thanks for so many incredible things and people. To the friends who have been there to support you. That how strong you are within and surviving what, at one point, you thought you no longer could. I’m always here for you…
I need to address something with you that has troubled you deeply every minute of every day.
Why did this happen like it did?
Let’s back up to last Spring. Please always know how grateful I am to you that you chose the surgeries for me to defeat the cancer. I had so much life left in me to share with you and the outcome was a glorious victory. I would have let you know otherwise.
Then came this most amazing summer we had ever had together. Though you have always had a keen sense of self-awareness within yourself. That each day was priceless. Yet, then after beating cancer as I sat next to you, or walked with you or loved my daily rides in my Jeep with you. There was a heightened sense of time. That we both realized there were only a few years left. The hourglass had been turned over and now the sand was trickling down to that final conclusion.
The initial cancer never did return…I beat that crap. What I chose not to let you know was that an entirely different cancer had invaded my body. One that would be unforgiving. One that I would not be able to defeat. So, why would there be any sense in worrying you about it? My energy was still super high and I was more active than I had ever been. What had built up on the inside of my body would burst regardless. So, I fought the good fight as long as I could for you. Then came our final weekend while unbeknownst to you.
I was so very happy. The music playing and on the road for yet another adventure. The sunroof open and love filling my heart. I only wanted to be with you…
We arrived at the cabin and you needed to pee so very badly. You had me stay in my Jeep for a minute then you heard a noise. A crackle. I didn’t bark or whimper a word. Yes…this weekend, this moment…was becoming clear. Out of the brush appeared a calling of beauty and quiet. A calling to me to allow a closure. My time was no longer in years, but hours. It was a beautiful moment wasn’t it?
It was time but I would fight through the next 48 hours for you…
Though I knew the time was very near. You had no way of knowing as you saw me eating normally and running like there was no tomorrow in the open fields on our road trip stops. Our last amazing trip together.
I wanted to feel that air on this Earth for my last few remaining hours as I knew I would not feel it again this way. Ever.
I had 24 hours left to go and you snapped one of your all time favorite pictures of me below here. I know it makes you cry but please keep this in your heart always. For me.
It was then I saw the perfect time to exit. Never to hurt you Daddy, but to make it as quick as possible. What we both always wanted was to be in a video together and this did the trick that Sunday night. I made my exit and collapsed seconds after this…
The rest as you and I know happened very quickly and I can assure you as my body was dying that I was in no pain. I could no longer play with my tennis ball as you took this last picture moments before it was time for me to leave Earth. You held me tight, kissed me on the lips once last time and pleaded with all your heart that I would always look upon you. There was never a doubt about that my dear Daddy…
And then one of your deepest secrets that you have never shared with a single living soul in your life.
Became your reality.
Not addressing Death.
At 18 years old you jumped into a life as an emergency first responder. On into your 20’s you continued and added being a medic on an ambulance. Seeing men, women and children die in your grasp. Car accidents. A charter plane crash that killed over 70 people. Suicides. Gunshots. You contacted the families afterwards even though you were not supposed to. So that you could check on them and make sure they were ok. Yet, you would not feel. Loss.
Add your past in and you put up an impenetrable wall to life’s final conclusion. To your mom, dad, grandparents and friends. You would never feel Death. Ever.
Now it was real. Where it could truly touch you. This would hurt you where you never allowed to be touched.
Reality came crashing down upon you. It is real. It hurts. And finally you could not hide from it anymore. In an odd way I give thanks for that. Because now you truly feel how fragile life is. There is no promise of tomorrow. Only of the moment you live in. Today.
All of this, Daddy…you have overcome. I’m so very proud of you. Most of all…be proud of yourself. Every day.
The moment occurred where I transitioned from this Earth to a new place. As you walked out of the vet’s office it was a crystal clear blue sky except for 2 powerful cloud formations directly above. As you cried hysterically there was a rapturous clap of thunder. A lady walking nearby looked up into the sky as you did and she said, “That is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.” The clouds then dispersed and vanished as quickly as they appeared.
That was me, Daddy.
I watched you driving home. Alone. Alone for the first time in 11 years.
I so desperately wanted to help you but I could not. This is how it had to be. That late afternoon a telephone repairmen was at your house digging up a neighborhood router to several adjoining houses. Your internet connection had been lost and you heard a noise so you went out to investigate in your lost state of mind. You talked to this man for a bit then you both saw something occur. You both had no idea what caused your heads to turn but you saw a golden dog running down the middle of the street. All of a sudden there was no traffic. There was no sound. Just this golden dog running like no tomorrow. He glanced over at the two of you in stride then continued on down the long street until he was out of sight.
The telephone repairman commented, “That is bizarre. I have never seen anything like that ever in my life.”
Oh please let Elizabeth next door know that I am doing great. I know she has cried many, many nights over these past 3 months looking for me. She and I grew up together and I know this has been especially hard on her.
Then things were momentarily fuzzy and quickly became incredible calm. I felt no sadness. No worry. I was filled with joy and of a new journey that was about to unfold.
Next thing I know I’m being greeted by an older man dressed all in white. His eyes looked upon me with a very soft kindness. For my comfort he had a ball cap on. Wow, this would be God!
He kneeled down to pet my head and I just couldn’t resist. I stole God’s ball cap! LOL!
It was pointed out to me that it was probably not the best choice of action and gave it back to him.
I know you have been hurting so terribly. That of which tears at your soul. Our’s was a very unique relationship that was actually born out of your childhood. What you have overcome in life and conquered despite the numerous obstacles put in front of you and not chosen by you is beyond admirable.
I loved you right from the start feeling your arms wrapped around me and your strong hands gently keeping me secure in your grasp and heart forever. You would protect me always. And me…you.
I’m deeply grateful for all of your amazing friends who have circled the wagons and been there for you. I was thankful that a support group had been put in place a long time ago. I am incredibly thankful to them on this Thanksgiving for you.
You were surprised at the overflowing amount of love that was sent your way. You asked one of your closest buddies, this man who is the least touchy-feeling person in your life, what was it about you and me that people gravitated towards. He sent you this note:
Partly. I think for your readers. It’s like falling in love with a great movie or book. You fall in love with the characters without really knowing them. But you feel like you do through the writing. For those who know you but not Phoenix. They have a better understanding of the relationship. Your intense feelings for him. Some people don’t have that much devotion to their spouse. For those that are in the circle. They know. They know the bond and feel the heartache with and for you. Wouldn’t have mattered if it was your wife, child or pup. We know the bond and feel for you.
I appreciate and give thanks that you have continued to fill my water bowl. I can assure you I will not be drinking out of it again.
I loved being so very close to you and having you read the book Racing In The Rain to me over and over…
It is endearing that you have put a treat out for me in the hopes that I would magically appear. Please know I will not be appearing. But hey, wouldn’t that freak you out if the treat was eaten? Ha, ha! I would never do that you.
You desperately miss my physical touch that always calmed you. That will forever be a gift to you that I no longer can give. I’m sorry…
Know that there is never a timeline or proper manner for anyone to mourn. Please don’t beat yourself up over that. There is no “moving on” or “time to get over it” when it comes to true love. Continue to take one step forward each day at whatever pace you wish. You are always right and perfect in my heart. You have so many life aspirations that you wish for. Remind yourself always that you are only limited by your imagination.
I know you miss me terribly and I’m always here for you. I don’t have the feelings and emotions of missing anyone or anything. Just of peace. Ok, I do miss getting on your bed while you were at work!
I loved our talk at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe that day where we reminisced about the past 11 years together. I loved all of our talks always…
I don’t have the magical answers for you that you always looked to me for. You have always had them. I just showed you the path. Please remember to be true to yourself always. Therein lies a really big life answer. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. And most of all…love yourself. After that the rest will all flow.
So, it’s time to wrap this up and I’m sending you and your friends a very Happy Thanksgiving! And I will end this here with this…
You have said to me always and everyone around you that I was your lifelong dream come true. Please know this as well…
Daddy, you…were my lifelong dream come true too!
I love you for this eternity and beyond…I’m always here when you need me. I am forever your Golden Retriever…
Alanis Moriessette, “Guardian”…