i cant wait till this year ends. it was one of profound loss and sorrow. in june, my father in law passed after a five year battle with prostate cancer. while we never were able to leave a bitter part of the past behind, it was still sad. though my wife was able to reconcile with him after many years of estrangement, he would not allow me into his hospice room. from this i learned that i will forgive much easier real and perceived transgressions visited upon me. i will not die angry and bitter.

i spent too much of my life that way.

later in june, my buddy of 30 years called me to tell me that his folks had to release their beloved dalmation daisy because of a horrible stroke. tore them up pretty bad.

four weeks ago, i got a 2 a.m. call that one of fellow team mates at work had passed. he was supposed to pick up his wife at the airport, but was a no show. she took a cab home, to find him on the couch with his laptop open, taken swiftly by a brain anurism. she did the family calling to inform them of what had happened, and less than 30 hours later, his father died. maybe the shock of events, maybe just his time, but a hard double whammy either way.

three weeks ago, i got home to a message from the same buddy, who is also a neighbor, to call him. he told me he had to but down one of his six horses. she had been ailing a bit, but he had spent weeks working with her on a special diet and lots of attention, and she was rapidly getting back to good health. another stroke. very hard to console or help him. he just packs his heart away. jessie was a sweet girl.

lastly, i had my own personal great loss of my beloved chow chow, aileron. his eysight had been failing, and he had developed a neurological problem that would not let him get proper placement of his back legs. we had a workup done at the vet, and the crux of it was: the diagnostics would involve painful needles in the spine, with no garanteed results. having been through all that myself before a two level spinal fusion in 2003, there was no way i was going to put him through that. we decided to put him on nursing care, knowing that some day he just would not be able to walk , and that would have to be the end. two weeks later, he got a stomach ulcer and stopped eating.

i was reluctantly ready to let him go, but my wife wanted to try the vet hospital with i.v. fluids to see if his ulcer would heal enough to eat.

i was against this option, because i knew in my heart he was done. in hindsight, i am glad we did try it, even though it was to no avail, but we were able to say we did all we could. i brought him home, and we had one last beautiful sunset in his favorite place. we took him back to the vet the next day, and i held him on my lap as his life ebbed away.

i was never a dog guy, but we took him in from my mentor with the promise that we would give him a good home and a good life. as he got older, i dreaded the day day i would have to tell my friend that he was gone. i was spared this unpleasant task due to the fact that my friend died of a stroke on thanksgiving day 2006. thats another sad story that i won't go into now.

we were still reeling from our loss and i noticed that my girl chow would go out to do her buisiness, and then just lay down and look down the road , waiting for her mate to return. we decided that even though we were still raw, she needed a mate. we adopted a worthy sucessor from a chow rescue in texas. he is a chow/collie mix, and a really sweet fella.

aileron was my first dog, and i miss him greatly.

i learned a lot from him. the most important thing being that every day is one day gone. you cant get it back. i tell my wife, family, friends, and pooches this every chance i have.

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Comment by Adelita on December 27, 2007 at 10:58am
Norman,
Having gone through a year like that fairly recently I can completely empathize. But having gone through so much it put many things in perspective. It's all too often that it takes tragedy to make us realize things we take for granted. But now I take as many opportunities to say thank you, to give a big hug, or just to call or email someone to let them know how important they are in my life. My thoughts are with you and your wife. I'm glad that we re-connected too, buddy!
Comment by norman p on December 27, 2007 at 12:05pm
thanks sweetie. i decided to do this blog to just throw myself out there, but i think there will be more than that. just telling the story seems to help. i understand your loss too. i cant tell you how glad i am that we are friends. you are very special to me.i dont have a lot of friends, by choice, but i am glad we are frienss.
Comment by chantal on December 31, 2007 at 12:41pm
Hey Norman, I don't even know you but wanted to say how much I wish that 2008 offers peace and restoration from the pain you just described. Can't even begin to imagine how you must be feeling.

Sending good wishes your way at midnight tonight.
Comment by norman p on December 31, 2007 at 8:46pm
thanks chantal. we just keep moving forward.
it's not easy, but there is nowhere else to go. i work about 70 to 80 hours a week and this helps me keep perspective.
i am fortunate in many ways, and have been blessed with good family and friends. we never know what next year will bring, but i cant imagine it being as difficult as this year.
i appriciate your kind words, and more so the good wishes.
Comment by Paula on March 17, 2008 at 2:03pm
Hi Norman,

I truly hope that your 2008 is shaping up better. I went through somesimilar sadness in 2001. Hard to believe sometimes that it's coming up on 7 years ago... and then other times, it seems a lifetime ago. Time does not "heal" the wounds or sadness, but it does put time between you and the events and somehow that makes it less intense over time.
I wish you & your wife peace, warmth and healing in this year.
Be well!
Take care.
Sincerely,
Paula
Comment by norman p on March 17, 2008 at 4:49pm
tanks paula.
it is what it is, but that does not mean i have to like it.
Comment by NMBeek on November 16, 2008 at 8:27pm
Norm, thanks for the nice note on my blog about Tim O'Leary. I read your blog about Aileron with warmth and sadness. My recent companion, Paca, was a chow mix as well. I really loved that dog with the "black tongue disease". :-) We spent many a good time together. Many of the lessons you talk about having learned in that tough year you describe are exactly what I would say as well. You said, "Aileron was my first dog." I hope he won't be your last. Keep your wings level, my friend... 7 Echo Mike
Comment by norman p on November 16, 2008 at 9:11pm
we save as many chows as we can. sadly, its only the 2 we can have in our home at a given time. clifford (the big red dog, and that was his name ) there is never a replacement fo any of them, only a worthy successor.
we got clifford from west texas chow rescue. cfhek out their website and let me know what u think. my little purebread girl is now almost 14, so i know i will have to go through it all again and all too soon.
i dedided to take stevie ray vaughn's drummers attitude to it.
i will never get over it.
i will get better about it, but i wont get over it.
chows are savagly maligned as are so many other "dangerous breeds" (rotties, pit bulls, dpbermans, etc) thats actually how we got aileron.
my mentor and buddy rick, god rest his soul, bought a condo in phoenix. dogs were ok, as long as they werentt on the list given out after the sale. i really despise the way the press singles out cetain breeds, when its the owners who are obviously at fault. dogs are social creatures.
they know what they are taught. i will alwas have two chows in my life. they are my children, as we have none of the human type.

wings leve, always climbing to a higher assigned FL with my pups in tow.
norm

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