Category Archives: Remember

#reverb13: Day Six

reverb13Project Reverb Prompt, “Blowing Out the Candles: You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?”

I celebrated with donuts instead of a cake, a day off work to do whatever I wanted, which turned out to be not much different than what I’d do on a normal day away from CSU, which was a happy surprise, to realize I am already and always living like every day is my birthday. I wrote a Something Good post that morning, an especially good one. I pulled a Ten of Pentacles, “Fulfillment, Abundance … signifies material and spiritual abundance in nearly every area of your life.” I meditated, wrote, read, watched a movie, had a nap, ate what I wanted, talked to my mom on the phone, took a walk with Sam, and had dinner with Eric. I felt loved and celebrated by so many. It was lovely.

tenofpentaclesThe other two prompts are so similar, I’m going to answer them as one. The Besottment prompt is “Five things you do not want to forget from 2013?” And the Reverb13 prompt is “There are so many ‘precious things’ that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever. What precious things have you gathered in 2013? Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?”

First, the things about Dexter that I never want to forget, memories and moments I wish to store in my heart and keep with me always.

  • The way he was so excited for breakfast every morning even though he ate the same thing every day, twice a day. He would whine and wiggle, run from one end of the house to the other, nudge me as he passed by while I was filling his bowl, then run back to tell his dad, then run back to me.
  • How he would ask for a treat by either sitting and looking up at the kitchen counter where we kept them or nudging his nose against the door of the cabinet where we kept the backstock.
  • How full of joy he was, always.

  • The sound of his sigh, how he sometimes barked in his sleep but it sounded like a whimper.
  • The way his face lit up when he asked me to play with him and I said yes.
  • His favorite game of “oh no, I lost my toy, where is it!?” (um, dude, you just buried it in the snow, or that pile of leaves), *dig* *search* *find the toy* *celebrate* and repeat.

  • How soft his fur was, how gray his face got as he got older.
  • How he’d curl up as close as he could get to me, circling closer and closer until he settled in so close he was partly on me and then sigh.
  • The way he would put one foot on my arm when I was petting him. I’m convinced the way he curled his toes, sometimes lifted and dropped his foot that he thought he was petting me back.
  • The extra black spot of fur on that one toe.

my favorite toe is the one with the black spot

  • How he changed color from gray black to brown and back again as the seasons shifted and his undercoat got thicker or thinner.
  • How fuzzy he was after a bath.
  • How he didn’t like anyone to mess with his feet, but he let me do it anyway.
  • The sound of his bark, the way he’d almost squeal when he was trying not to bark.
  • The way he’d run after and catch a ball, as many times as I was willing to throw it, how he always reminded me of a professional baseball player, so strong and graceful.
  • How he always wanted to stop at the little dog park to search for tennis balls, how happy he was when he found one.
  • How he’d perk up when I said “Do you want to go see Grandma?” How he’d whine all the way to her house.
  • How he’d bring me a toy in the morning and invite me to play.

dexandhisbaby

  • How we didn’t have to go outside to play, he was happy to play a miniature game of fetch or catch on our bed, how he’d lure me down the hallway with a toy to get me to go in, how I’d say “ready, set, go” before I threw the toy, how he’d sometimes throw it back to be, how intently he’d watch me just before I threw it back.
  • Seeing him run around the yard like when he was a puppy, even with cancer and a bum knee.
  • How he’d herd me by nudging his nose into my hand.
  • How much he loved Obi, our first dog, the first we lost to cancer.

Obi and Dexter

  • How much he hated it when anyone sneezed or coughed.
  • How good he was at the vet, how much he loved all the attention he got when he’d go to physical therapy.
  • How he’d get so excited when I took the trash out, how he’d grab a toy and convince me to play for a bit while we were outside.
  • How he’d help me pick up the yard, always showing me where the next pile of poop was — ah, the wonders of having a working breed dog. They’ll take any job you’ve got for them and love it.
  • How he’d stand on the couch to be able to see out the front window.
  • How much he loved to go on a walk, hiking or running, anywhere really.

dexaprilsnow

  • How he’d ask at certain spots on the trail, “can we go this way?” knowing the difference between “okay” and “not today.”
  • How he’d let you know someone was coming on the trail, how he always could find the trail even in the snow.
  • How he remembered everything, was so smart, knew so many words.
  • How much he loved his girlfriend Brea.
  • Even how rude he could be to other dogs and strangers or people he just didn’t like.
  • How he’d stand in your lap to get attention.

meanddex

  • How much he loved tomatoes.
  • How patient he was with Sam.
  • How he was so careful with stuffed toys that I could buy him ones meant for babies or collecting.
  • How much he loved his Little D.

bigdlittled04A few other precious things: moments at 27 Powers Court, a widening circle of support, being able to be with Dexter when he died, love notes from Eric.

lovenotesfromeric

Reverb12: Day Three

reverb12

Remember

The full prompt from Linar Studio: “What is one thing you did this year you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life?”

The last trip I took to the beach with my sweet Dexter. When we got back to Colorado after a month in Waldport, he was diagnosed with a fatal cancer, given a very short time to live. By some freak miracle, he’s still here, but we will never take that trip again, never spend weeks at a time talking long walks on the beach followed by long naps and then another walk. I will always remember how much he hated that long drive, two days in the car, how this last time he shook and panted and whined, but when we arrived, he knew just where we were and was so happy. I will always remember how he rolled in seal poop and how bad it smelled, how excited he was to find a tennis ball and a frisbee on the beach (“what?! free toys?!”), how he played and played, ran and ran. I will never forget that’s the first place he had a bloody nose, a reverse sneeze–the first signs of the cancer.

Dexter embraces his gray hair.

Storm

The full prompt from Besottment: “What storm did you weather in 2012? Big or small… obstacle(s) did you overcome? Feel free to be literal if you prefer… was there an actual storm that you survived?”

There were private storms, things I can’t really talk about here, don’t ever talk about here, ugliness that goes on “behind the scenes.” What I can tell you is how hard it is to love someone so much, to want what is best for them, but have to stand by, helpless and hopeless, watching them fail, struggle, and suffer. I’ve had to realize, accept that I can’t force anyone to change, and that I also can’t love them enough that they’ll want to change.

Year in Review

The full prompt is from Carolyn Rubenstein’s Reverb11 list: “As you reflect back on the happenings of 2011, what were your high points and what were your low points? What do you notice as you look back on the year as a whole?”

The Good

The Bad and The Ugly

  • Dexter was diagnosed with fatal cancer, and has had a few related issues that were pretty scary and sad.
  • A cancer scare of my own.
  • An ongoing struggle with being a highly functioning food addict.
  • Fatigue.
  • From time to time, I really struggled with my meditation practice.
  • Our washing machine died.
  • Some stuff I don’t even want to talk about here.

You know what I notice as I look back over the last year, kind and gentle reader? It was a great year, I have a lot to be grateful for and am so lucky.

What do you really wish for?

The full prompt, from Cam of Curly Pops and Kat at I Saw You Dancing: “Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven’t had the chance to accomplish yet? what steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?”

This is so hard to answer, because there are things I want to do before I die, but they might not be important enough to do if I only had a single year left. For example, I want to write a book. That matters to me, is important. I have something to say that feels like it needs to be shared.

And yet, if I only had a year left to live, I might want to spend every minute, rather than working on a big writing project, with Eric and my furry boys, with people I love, who make me laugh. Maybe get a house on the beach for four of those months, spend another four in a cabin in the mountains somewhere, and the last four in our tiny house that I love so much, doing the stuff we love to do.

Beautiful Things.

The full prompt, from Meredith’s Daily Angst: “What brought beauty into your life this year? Was it a tangible thing or something intangible?”

Gifts: little and big, received and given.

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

Connection: with all the beautiful, open-hearted, brave people I’m lucky enough to know. Long conversations about life, love, impermanence, books, eye brow waxing, and dogs. Laughter.

Time and Mindfulness: All the hours, the moments, each breath spent experiencing nature and love and joy and rest, meeting reality with an open heart.

The sky: it has been amazing this year, a real show off, every season, any time of day–or maybe I’m just now noticing it?

august18sky6