2014, you don’t mess around.
I began the new year in Key Largo, amongst family. We were in town for a cousin’s wedding. Rev remained in Orlando with my Dad. Mini vacation. She’s spoiled rotten anyway, but with dad, oh, all bets are off. That dog gets anything and everything she wants. (And thank goodness… should be no other way. Mmmm.)
Toby, our eleven year old Lab, had been sick for a few weeks. He had three separate seizures mid-December and had been on medication since. My Dad made the decision to let him go on Saturday morning.
As I dropped Rev off at the house last Monday, I wondered if Toby would be there when I came home a week later. So I found him at the back of the field in a hard sleep, his head buried in the tall grass. Gently I woke him up; gently I started moving his head from under the blades. He protested. I stopped. He buried his head in the grass again. Then, deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. Wow.
The vet suspects Toby suffered brain damage from the seizures. Probably. But in that moment, I got chills. He connected himself to the earth, to the growth and the dirt and the power of life. There is no doubt in my mind.
Toby was my first agility dog. That sentence sends my head spinning in many different directions. To be untangled at another time. Not now. Toby was my Dad’s Rev, if that helps to bring light to their relationship. This will not be easy. Nor should it be. But while the aching is strong in my heart… to imagine my father’s pain brings me to tears instantly, as I know the scenario I have to create in my mind to feel that pain, and it is one that will also eventually play out.
While at the wedding reception Saturday night I was texted an apology message for his passing before I knew of it. My phone was tucked away into a room where we were storing the cameras. I happened to see the message in the perfect moment. I happened to have the freedom to fall to the bed in tears. My Mom happened to walk in three minutes later and was able to hold me. She later, quietly, shared the news. One by one — sometimes by group — family members tackled me with hugs. Oh, a family is a beautiful thing.
2014, you don’t mess around.
We wrapped up 2013 well. I didn’t give the year a word at the beginning, and I’m not sure I have one to end it with, either. It was a great year, pretty solidly divided into a first and second half for me, personally. Good things, all around. Lots of expansion, particularly in the second half. I wish I had the strength to write more on this now.
Stretching, here lies my focus for 2014. I look forward to stretching tall and wide this year — physically, emotionally. Big smiles over this. Big adventures around the corner, always.
I am grateful for that dog. So grateful, it hurts. Also, I cut all of my hair off. Also, I ride roller coasters now. Watch out, world.