Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Late Afternoon At the Lake

[Image of an oil painting, found on google. Artist unknown.]

Kids, last evening, Damian and I were at the lake. I was sitting blissed out in a deck chair while Damian happily tunneled and dug moats around his castle, humming away to himself. In front of me and over a bit was a fifty-ish woman with her golden lab. Of course, the first thing I had done when we arrived was make friends with the dog and say how great it was to see a dog in the water on a hot day.

As I sat watching, I became struck by the closeness of their bond. He was utterly devoted to his mistress, and she was very caring with him, patting him, smoothing the water from his muzzle. I thought "a woman alone", as I recognized the closeness of that bond, when one does not have a significant human Other.

After a bit, the dog lumbered, panting, over to me and we communed. He was such a lovely old soul. "How old?" I asked her, as it was obvious he was near the end of his life.

"Twelve," she replied.

"He's so devoted," I observed.

"Yes, completely," she said. And then she blew my doors off. "My husband died suddenly, three months ago. He wasn't ill, we had no warning. So Charley knows something large has happened. And do you hear that rasping in his breathing? He has cancer, both lungs."

In that moment, the peaceful woman, sitting contentedly by the lake with her dog, became a grieving woman, facing the imminent loss of the dog who was her main comfort.

"Life is so much about loss, isn't it?" I said gently.

"Too many losses," she replied.

Yes, too many losses. 

Every person has an incredible story. I keep discovering this. If you are a human, alive on this planet, you are making a heroic journey. Keep your hearts open, my friends. Observe the landscape you are traveling through. It is littered with stories more fantastic than Scheherazade's.


  1. Oh, Sherry, how sad but how wonderful, too.
    A lovely story about one of our fellow-travelers on this lonely planet.

  2. Oh, what a meeting for you all to have had. You knowing all too well the grief this lady is already going through and will have to go through even more when the dog passes. Lovely to see that her dog is still happy to go places and enjoy the days with her.
    Yes, we never know when our time is up so best to make as many moments count as we can.
    Glad you got to go to the water Sherry :)

  3. Yes, is so much about loss. So sad though to hear about the dog's cancer. We are all facing losses...some we know about, some we don't. I wonder sometimes which is better. Glad you spent time near water.

  4. Sherry, this made me cry. Even though her dog is so devoted, she will lose him, too, but then, I think of the animals in my life - some shared with only Riley, some with both Riley and Lex... and all the cats and dogs of my youth. Losing people is hard enough; if you are fortunate, you get to speak goodbyes to them. But the pets, they can only know the language of your heart. Bless you for having the courage to recount this meeting. Love, Amy

  5. I read this and it tore my heart into its four chambers. I came back and reread it later because I needed to understand the significance of this juxtaposed anecdote to my relevence.

    I'm going to take something good and positive over this story. Like you said at the end ...observe the landscape one is traveling through... . Although this is such a sad and lamentous story it also reminds me as I try to remember in my every moment about those children left to die in the desert, parentless or vice versa; the revolutionary fighters in Syria fighting and dying for their land and those who have been and still being wantonly murdered by their own military and leader, Hassad. These are the tragic moments in the reality of human existence in this cruel world we've made for ourselves and allow it.

    Love the one's your with and give love to those you can for you never know when this 'love' will no longer be.

    'Be here now, Remember'

    Gracias mi amiga, the tears in her heart I share.

  6. Ooops, 'relevance' and ...take something good and positive 'from' this story.


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!