Another October 17 is upon us, and I can’t believe its been 5 years since Chris’ death. Losing Chris was the onset of so many changes, and so much feels the same
This past month has been very hard leading up to this 5 year anniversary First Chip, who had always been Chris’ dog, seemed bound and determined to join Chris. A very large abcess was found in his prostate, and multiple thousands of dollars later he is back home. I am thankful for my friend Allison without who I would not have been able to save him
Also a friend is dealing with complications of a botched gall bladder operation, and dealing with liver infection, in and out of hospital, and fighting with doctors for proper treatment. It has all been a lot of deja vu, and I am very worried about her. Perhaps the bright side in the loss of Chris, is that I am able to pass on some of the things that I learned during our nightmare.
Life has been up and down, backwards and sideways for the past five years. Weeks after Chris’ death I was packaged off from a job, that I had loved along with the manager I loved working for, and several of my peers and staff, when the company was purchased by a large heartless corporation. Turmoil has been pretty consistent since then as temporary jobs were found and ended, and companies made decisions I couldn’t understand, but last year I made a bold decision to try a job 3 hours from home. I invested my severance into another house, and tried to make a life in another community, but just could not do it. For once though, things did work out, and I am now telecommuting 4 days a week from Dundalk, and only making the trek to Haliburton for one day. Once I can rid myself of the extra house, hopefully life will become more stable, but things are still pretty scary and a lot of prayers go out for things to work out so I can once again establish some peace in my life.
The past couple of years have also taught me a lot about human nature. I’ve learned who are friends and who are merely acquaintances and there is a very definite line between the two. I’ve learned that people only feel it necessary to keep their word for as long as they feel that you are of use to them, and then can discard you like yesterdays newspaper. But I’ve also learned to appreciate more and more those who quietly offer support, and a listening ear.
While the dogs are still here, my involvement the dog show world has decreased substantially. While the dogs have won awards that I could only dream of at one time, the show world itself, outside of specialties, has lost its joy for me. I no longer have my companion to travel with, to talk with , to share the joys and frustrations. I’ve met a lot of new and wonderful people, and I hope that the dogs that I have produced have brought a lot of joy to their families. But along with the joy, I’ve learned the dark side of showing, the winning at all cost, the side where people take showing so seriously that the “human” cost is no longer part of the equation and people are trampled upon in order to acquire status. The people who talk out of both sides of their mouth, saying one thing to your face and another behind your back. The people who attempt to destroy your reputation by spreading lies. That side doesn’t appeal to me at all. I like to think that if my dog loses on a day, I can look at the competition and maybe see what might have caused a judge to give another dog the nod over mine. Every dog that defeats me is not a pet, or a piece o trash. It is SOMEONE’S well loved companion, and to them the win means every bit as much as it would have to me. So I also hope that I can always be a gracious loser, and not one of the people who stomps away from the ring, tossing profanities and ribbons as they depart.
The joy that remains in dog shows is watching the junior who have my dogs develop with them and challenge new boundaries. I feel such pride in these kids and hope that they are making memories that will last them a lifetime as they build their bonds with their companions.
A new joy has entered my life, as 3 years ago, in an attempt to feel alive again, I took up the sport of motorcycle riding. Again I have made many new and wonderful friends and can’t imagine life without them. At last I have discovered a passion that can be shared, where no one has to win and no one has to lose – as long as we are all out together, and enjoying the beautiful scenery we are all winners.
And then there is the family. One of the first trips Chris and I ever took together was to New Brunswick to attend my son’s graduation from the MilitaryEngineering College in Gagetown. The picture of Chris above is from a favourite spot I had been to before and since.
This is me and Ruari, Ch. Yasashiikuma Briardon Arcturus, in the same spot in Agust 2000 when we showed in New Brunswick after the Canadian Cardigan Specialty in PEI.
And here are Dolly and I in the same spot this spring, after Dolly was the Flower Dog for the wedding of two special friends.
But as proud as I am of Michael, and the career he has chosen, I am now being the worried Mom as he is on a tour of duty in not the most peaceful of areas. On the ther hand, my daughter has, thanks again to a friend, landed a job at just the right time for her family, and is doing well at it.
Yes, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, Chris, and I wish you had been here to share it. Perhaps with you here, some of the negative might not have happened, but then I wouldn’t have exprienced the growth that came from stretching to fit those bad situations. Maybe in time I will pick up some of the other passions I have let go since you died, my music, my sitchery and even my writing. Its a new life, and each day is new experiences – and somehow, as the dragonflies remind me, I know that you are still a part of them.