Posts filed under ‘death’


November 28, 2009

I didn’t mean to stop writing about this remodel, and yes, it has been continuing in full force. What has happened? The rigors of work, of the project, of meetings, of keeping up with friends and on and on has usurped time.

And Cholla died.

I thought she was depressed. I, of all people, made my own diagnosis, reasoning the effects of the move on her, until I noticed that her gums were going white. Blood tests, ultrasound, an IV in her little paw, and I was given a picture of her liver riddled with black spots. I was told that she would die in a day or two, that it would be best to leave her with the doctor right there. She curled against me, and I took her home. We stayed together for every moment for the next month…everywhere; bike rides, the grocery store, friend’s houses, Home Depot…she didn’t leave my sight, and the remodel plugged on.

One day she growled at me, lumbered over by my desk, then vomited a big pile of blood, looking straight at me, with that look of knowing between us that we had little time. I rushed home, got her into her trailer, and we rode and rode to a favorite place, sitting on a bench overlooking the harbor where we could see Russ’ boat, and with her spasoming my arms, we sat on that bench for hours; some people walking by, the sun going down, her body going limp, me stroking her, and with little yelps, her heart stopped.

My gal that guaranteed me laughter every day of her life is gone, and I don’t like it. I miss her.


I’m sitting here, Kleenex piled in two stacks on either side of me (allergies from the dust around here keeps me sneezing); a picture of Cholla on my laptop, another picture of her stuck to my little oak chest of her in the classic rump up, ears up, tail up, and front paws down…

My Cholla.

This was taken after the diagnosis.


She was a travelin' dog!

Cooling off




November 29, 2009 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

Rocks Bones and Feathers

This is another excerpt from one of my journals, May 24, 2007:

Yesterday I walked the beach and had an insight about rocks. I LOVE rocks, and I’ve always felt a bit jealous of rocks. How is it that rocks get to be eternal? But then I realized, they are not any more eternal than feathers or bones or shells or any residue of the living, as rocks are the bones of the Earth. They rise up from a molten, living existence deep in the Earth. Then I realized why I love those artifacts of the living so much! They are all bones, they are all remnants and memories of the living.

So me, here, living…I am the human side of the spirits. We move along, all in angst over our human troubles, and one day, all this human stuff will lay on or under the Earth in this relief of What Was.

April 16, 2008 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

November 16, 2005 (On Hope)

November 16, 2005

There’s an apricot tree I have in a bucket in the backyard. When I got the house, it was pretty and lovely, and I managed to have one luscious apricot from it before a, well, “friend” chopped it down. After time, a sprout came up from down the stump somewhere, and I was sort of surprised, and thought I’d take better care of it to see what came of it. It continued to somewhat grow, but when Russ and I decided to build the shed in the spot that it lived, we dug it up, tossed it on a sandy mound and figured it wouldn’t ever come of much of anything, anyway. In the spring, lying there on its side with roots exposed, it had flowers. We got excited, put it in a pot, and started planning for a garden. Russ loves that little tree. The tree shows endurance, vitality in adversity, and hope.

I know that analogies can seem trite, but they make sense. We pull them out so often in life. I keep thinking about those birthday candles that would drive us to the point of frustration as we initially smiled, blowing them out, and they wouldn’t blow out, just wouldn’t blow out, and everybody would laugh, the wax would go all over the cake.

I was showing my students my little sketchbook that I carry with me in my pack. I hadn’t looked at it in quite a while. I have drawings of Russ, relaxed, plump, serene. I have a cartoon sort of thing of our life together; the Baja trips, the dogs, the kayaking, the morning lattes…and the knots build up inside of me.

Hope…we get up in the morning and immediately we have hope. Hope is stronger than muscle, stronger than statistics, stronger than herbs, stronger than medicine. Do we let go of hope? I don’t think so; I think the big challenge is to reconfigure hope…something like the Eskimos that have 80 or so words for snow, we need to develop 80 or so ways of understanding hope. I guess that goes along with the “Serenity Prayer.” I have a wallet-sized version of it I carry with me, one that my niece gave me that has a cute picture of a polar bear cub on the back. I really do say it and say it, trying to really absorb the cycle of life      and it’s hard…

I saw the moon yesterday morning; big and full and orange, reflecting over the water, dancing its color as it does so often for me for all those times I’ve spoken to it. I know life and nature isn’t trying to tease me, or test me or even provide me with answers; it just IS, and I guess I have to love it for that.

I think that’s all I want to say for now.

February 13, 2008 at 4:04 am Leave a comment

First Post for Death, Dying and Grief

February 12, 2008

            I was at the Farmer’s Market this afternoon, my usual Tuesday evening haunt which has the triple lure of being outside, meeting people, and buying produce. I bumped into a friend who reads this “blog,” (I always feel compelled to put that word into quotes. There’s just something annoying about that word that I refuse to adopt as normal vocabulary) and who, over the past few years, had been wondering about Russ and didn’t know that he had died. I wrote a fair number of emails during the course of Russ’ illness with cancer (and this friend somehow missed the list of all that), some after he died, and then in time, I started this blog, and I guess I haven’t been writing about cancer, dying, death or grief really at all. To analyze myself, I might be protecting any of you from the deep and sad stuff, maybe I’m protecting my own vulnerability, or maybe I was just plain tired of writing so much about it all for so long. So, periodically, I’ll post some of the things I wrote under the heading of, oh geeze…a label? I guess I’ll call it death dying and grief, and maybe include some excerpts from my journals that I kept after he died. I read a lot of books on grief then—ha, ha, 47 to be exact. It’s one of those odd stories that came out of that time. A few months after Russ died, a lady from Hospice called to offer me support in some way, and I simply said I wanted the books. I read them all; children’s books, poetry, scientific, religious, behavioral, psychology, and for some reason, I kept a list of the titles in the backs of my journals. I wrote several journals, and they are all precious to me, a deep and tender time of my turning inside out and inside and out again and again over that time. My friend asked me hesitantly if it was okay to talk about Russ right there in the middle of the market, with the guy selling jade looking on, the buzz of people going by. We had actually started our conversation about it when he asked me, “Do you have any stories brewing around inside of you?”

February 13, 2008 at 4:03 am Leave a comment