As I worked through my day, a few more thoughts occurred to me. Perhaps they are worth sharing, so here goes.
The Girl and I walked more than five miles today. We had a long walk this morning down by the Carson River, which remains a favorite place. We greeted doggie-friends along the way. She had plenty of opportunities to sniff, pee, and explore her usual haunts.
On the route back to the rig, she split off on one of our favorite alternate paths, which takes us right down to the river but off the main trail. I particularly like this place and often walk this side path. But today I was ready to get home so I stayed on the trail.
She trotted out a couple-dozen yards, then turned to look at me. I know that look… “This way!” she says. But I stayed on the path, so she came running over to me, “encouraging” me to go the other way. So I played the this-way, that-way game for a bit, pretending to walk first one direction, then another.
She played, first leading me one way and then the other. After a few iterations she ran a large-circle zoomie and returned to my side, at least for a moment. Then we were back down the trail toward the staging area and the rig.
I laughed with her and played a little of the grab-ass game, with me grabbing either a little ass or a little tail. Either works and causes a big laugh from both of us. Dogs are such physical creatures and I love that about them.
I picked up a print job and a sandwich on the way home. The Girl was a little tired, but not too tired to pass the chance to beg a little of my sandwich, which I happily shared.
After lunch we had a nice nap. One of the things I love about my life is that ability to take a break and sleep for a few minutes in the afternoon. That time spent with The Girl is another small thing that gives me some joy.
We walked again in the evening, over that the old orphanage. It was a beautiful winter afternoon, with a few clouds, some sun, not much wind, and 55F. I noticed Squirrel’s memorial as we passed and thought about all the things I wrote earlier in the day. I spent some time praying as I walked and remembered Wife’s life as well.
These thoughts passed as the sun fell behind the Sierra Nevada and we returned to the rig. I elected to treat myself to supper and drove out to Applebee’s. I have not had a steak in a long time and wanted one. So, that’s what I did. The Girl worked for me and spent her time under my table, as good as always.
So, now we are home again. I ate all the steak, so I got out a Greenie after we got home, made her work for it, and then treated her. She earned it. And now she is sleeping under the table next to me.
As I sat in the restaurant, I recalled Becky’s comment and how I went to a grief group a couple of times. The hospice sent me a couple of invites after Wife died. I resisted at first, but then decided “what the hell” and went.
The first meeting was very small. There was a couple of women, another man, and me. The group leader went through her materials. We talked a little about our grief. Then the leader offered a few things and we broke up.
The second meeting was different. There were a lot more women, maybe ten or twelve. Then there was that other man and me. The dynamic was different, although I would be pressed to describe how and why. It was just different. I then realized from a practical perspective something I knew intellectually — men and women process their grief differently. I understood that the other man (a bit older than me) was stuck. He was not going to move through his grief until he either learned to let go or got professional help. The women were not going to be much help to me.
When the meeting broke, I walked out of the hospice center where it was held. My back was straight and was turned to the exercise. I knew I would not return. It was not right for me. I was doing what I needed to do to process my grief and the group was not going to help me with that.
And so it was. I did not go back. I read my books for advice. I did the work. I knew that no one else would be able to do that work for me. It was mine and mine alone to do. So, that is what I did.
Becky’s friends who recently lost loved ones have a hard path to walk. I do not envy them that path, but I know that they can traverse what is before them, do the work, and be healed. Their loss will suck, it will continue to suck, it will always suck, but the suck will decrease with time and work (hat tip to Jim for that one). They will be stronger for doing the work. I pray that they can.
In reflecting on my day I realize how blessed and thankful I am. I have more than I need and about all that I want. My dog and I spend a lot to time together. I have enough work to pay my bills and then some. The work keeps me intellectually engaged. The dog keeps me emotionally and spiritually engaged. I am blessed. I am grateful. Life is good.