They Want You to End Your Story as an Archetype

Has anyone ever said to you, “You think outside the box.”

Or, “You are different, you don’t think like most people.”

“Dude, you’re crazy.”

Did you think twice about it?

My whole life has been scattered with sentiments such as this and when I watch media I see where people base their reactions.

No, I don’t think inside Saturns Cube.  No, I don’t think like most people, because I think for myself.  And, No, I’m not crazy, I am the best kind of sane.

Here is what I will admit that is uncomfortable for everyone but me;

1.)  I look at Death, dead in the eyes, daily.

2.) If you tell me what I am going to do, I will do everything in my power to work against your orders.

3.) I am familiar with the script, and if I can’t flip it, I am going to burn it.

I probably don’t seem like the “type” with my brightly colored clothing and admiration for Natalie Merchant.  You expect this from people who predominately wear black clothing and listen to death metal.  “Those are the people really looking Death and Destruction right in the eye socket.”

Nope.  I love daisies and sunsets and technicolor leggings.  I believe in some prophetic hope and I choose to support life where pain exists at every opportunity.  I’ve spent a life time feeling like a walking contradiction.

I probably talk about Death, more openly than anyone I know who listens to Death Metal, and only slightly less than a Mortician.   If you just look at me with no knowing, you probably think that the conversation has never crossed my path, or so I assume.

It’s been five dogless days.  I’ve given myself a week to dig deep with no judgement, and quite honestly I don’t give a fuck if any of it offends.  I know I am going to experience new waves of realization down the road.  I know I will never be the same.  I know she isn’t coming back, so I am going to be like the Jews and sit Shiva for seven days.  I am going to purposely mourn the fuck out of myself.

Already, each day is a bit easier because crying is just a pain in the eyes.  It is hard to do anything.  I know I am perpetually dehydrated, so I cried as much as I could, until I couldn’t.  Realistically I know future tears will be shed once my water stores have been replenished.

I’ve reached a point of brief anger, willing to call out any person who thinks they are more Death Metal than me, to sit with me and really talk about death in realistic terms and not just in strange dark corruptions of the real thing for the sake of imagination and anger.  Quit fucking pretending the worst, because sometimes the most innocuous circumstances lacking in violence are actually “the worst it could be.”

Stop hiding behind dark facades of separation, the real end of it all will never make it as a t-shirt slogan worth baring.  Stop pretending to be so callus.  Stop pretending to know more about death than the dead themselves.   I admit I don’t know shit, but I am still so invigorated by feeling, that it is undeniable that I am still alive.

You don’t have to change your wardrobe or interests in order to understand this; just know that those of us who seem unsuspecting to certain concepts, specifically Death, may have been contemplating it’s role in life for as long as they can remember.  The acceptance and comprehension of it is so deep there is no need to display it outwardly until we are called in a moment to do so.

You won’t learn anything from this, I am sure, but I needed to write it nonetheless.

The only useful advice I have, is to recognize your demons and deal with them the best you can.  If you can at least call them by name, you have a better chance at dominating them but few of us can slay them on our own.  Know the names of your specific team when it comes to protection and support; we can all use all the support we can get.

 

 

 

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My Best Friend: Cigarettes, Dog Bites, and the Death Diet

This piece may seem a bit off topic in my series about Claddagh.  However she was with me when the whole situation occurred in my writing.  My landlady had found a lost dog, and that dog got along with Claddagh, so I kept it for the night.   While the dogs were playing, things got a little rough and I was on the floor between them.  The scuffle turned into a fight, so in the process of pulling the dogs apart, the visiting dog bit me.  I was hit with a lost childhood memory of being bitten by a puppy while staying with my aunt.  Minutes after this memory returned, I received a call from my family saying that said aunt was in the ICU.

I was completely bowled over with emotions.  I wasn’t completely sure what her prognosis was, but it sounded pretty bleak.  As a coping mechanism, I explored what my family might be going through in that moment, especially focusing on my cousin but at the same time realizing the attributes I didn’t like about her, were/are prevalent in me.

My aunt did not die that night.  It would turn into a drawn out process that would take another three uneasy years.   The following piece is my raw expression from that night.

 

July 18, 2009

Skin is thin.  A scratch, a paper cut, a scrape. Blood from a small wound, the pain radiates for a day; a reminder of some lame excuse for not paying close enough attention.

I am bleeding from a scratch and a bite. Slightly deeper than superficial.  This is payment for being a good Samaritan.  I can’t be mad, it was harmless fun gone awry by animals who communicate some other way.

How often in human reality does this happen?  We are asked to play nicely, then some words are said in jest causing a friend to unravel enough to fight back.  A fight unseen on the horizon.

It was just two beings- doing and then there was an unseen spark.  One took something the wrong way and since I am not fluent in dog play language, I find myself in the middle.  I’ve pulled larger dogs apart without incident.  Why tonight?

As I assess the bite on my forearm and I am taken into an old memory of being bitten by a puppy when I was two or three.   I am in the care of my aunt, playing in the front yard of her humble apartment with a small puppy belonging to the neighbor.  The bite catches me off guard.

The phone rings.

It is my father telling me that my aunt is in the hospital and things look grim.

The timing of all of this makes me reel. I have to write it all down, the perceptions I am having in this moment thousands of miles away from my family.  I’m not sure what is going on, and I know writing will calm me down so that I can process the bite and it’s deeper meaning.

I am jaded on death; the cycle of life few seem to live, all reaching variations of the same end.  Those who live their lives like tomorrow will never come because they already know it’s on its way to greet them.

Then there are those aching to leave their mark, they live for posterity.  For now I am ambivalent, watching it as it comes and goes; feeling l’ve already lost so many important ones and still there are more to come as I continue to keep loving.

There are no words for this, no way to convey the normality of it, despite the pain and what it seems to be.  It is what I call the Death Diet.  It comes and goes, as we all do, in it’s own time- staying for short and sometimes long duration.  A visitor,  unannounced, unwelcome.

As to not forget those I’ve lost; how can the relationship continue, how can each of us live on and keep those who were once here and dear to us, after they depart?

Is Spirit not something that speaks in each ear in due time?  Do remnants of the past not live and breathe around us, still?

And so they do; each person, place or thing.  Our interaction with them is not at all lost when voices stop humming and hearts stop beating; body buried below.  Beyond the picture enveloped in memory…

Perhaps that is the reason I like chicken and dumpling soup.  The one thing she would fix for me that was recognizably made from scratch and not from a can.  I’ve not seen her in years and tonight she lays under anesthesia in a hospital.  She lays in a deep sleep from two heart attacks in a row.

She was found barely breathing by grandparents; those kind and gentle souls who’ve seen one daughter die away already.

Does Leslie sit next to Terri as she lays in  medicated limbo?

Does she hold her hand in spirit?

Does Terri ask, in a morphine induced dream, the same thing Leslie asked when she lay deteriorating her own hospital room over two decades ago?  The same hospital many renovations ago; a place Leslie never left again, alive.

Is Leslie there, and is she honest?  Does she say “No, you aren’t going to make it.  I tell you this because I am your sister and I won’t lie to you.  I am going to sit here with you until you go… and then I am going to see you to the other side, where all of us are covered in rainbows.  I am going to give you the biggest bear hug.”  Does Leslie then squeeze Terri’s hand?

Leslie is eternally twenty-six, or maybe she shows up as a seventeen year old; thin and vibrant.  Healthy and cancer-free.  A spirit in a dream only recognized by the dreamer.

Family waits in the hall.  The son acknowledges his distance. A certain sense of discontent and regret boil beneath the surface.  He questions her sadness and why she couldn’t do more for herself and him.  He knows he distanced himself  out of fear and retaliation.

She left him fifteen years ago.  She gave up being a responsible mother despite how much she loved him, despite how much he loved her…  Something inside of him felt sick with longing and regret, disgust and confusion.   He knew this was coming and in some way it was a waiting and a relief at letting this subconscious worry go.  Yet he knew, this wouldn’t be the end of his worry, there would be others- the grandparents who sat next to him, for instance.

No.  This would be a double edged sword of worry, like, “one down, two to go.”  This loss would only breed more anxious anticipation.   This thought was neglecting to add the dozen or more people he also adored and maybe even loved.  He was focused in this moment on family ties of blood.

In the face of their differences in belief or opinion, he saw and valued whatever it was that this was – “however fucked up.”  This was the only place the son was suppose to be right now.  There was much to acknowledge and heady thoughts to consider.   This was an act all too grown up for anyone to want to take on; he was no stranger to responsibility but this was a first when it came to what many may consider posthumous intimacies- him being an only child of a husband-less mother.

There seemed to be a question of “deserving this.”  Was it something he deserved for being less involved with his mother than perhaps he should have been?  For keeping busy for more time than it seemed necessary in the mentality that “Life is Short. Love Hard. Visit Your Mom”?  He knows he should have visited more.  He shouldn’t have been so fearful of seeing her and trying to help her out.

Questions just become answers that lead to more questions.

Here is where he should be.  Waiting in an ICU waiting room; thinking about all of this.  Taking it all in.

Next to him are his grandparents, now in their eighties.  They’ve been less than active for years, left to sit at home with injuries that happened later in life and never healed properly.  Here they were, watching their second daughter fade before their eyes.  She’d been back home for nearly seven years now.  About as long as she’d been gone when one day she decided to abandon her home and her son for some internet love affair.

She had bought a home just a block away from her parents.  She was working as a nurse when one day she just quit going to work because the internet was more important and interesting than helping the geriatric folks she was employed to care for at the assisted living home.

One day she got in her car, and drove to the east coast to meet a man that she would come to realize he wasn’t who he said he was, only to leave him for another far off man who was not who he claimed to be.

She left the son in the abandoned house and the utilities were systematically shut off.  The mortgage went unpaid and the son was displaced.  She left debt and pain in her wake, only to show up back home – ill of health needing a place to stay.  She would be fifty-three and living in her parents basement.

I suppose we all have regrets.  I wonder if this is hers?

My family is susceptible to addiction but they are also susceptible to will power, drive and sarcasm.  I’ve fallen into the categories.  Right now my addictions are strong and my will has been weak.  This must switch because I have things to do and I suspect my dead mother is sitting with my dying aunt in a hospital room.

I never really got to know my mom but I’ve had my whole life to observe my aunts actions and consequences.  At my youngest, when my mother was still around, she was having a hard time dealing with a smart ass two year old daughter.  It was too much.  My mother would leave me on the door step in only a diaper because “if you don’t want to live here, you are going to leave the way you came in.  Naked.” And screaming.

My mother would call my aunt and tell her that she couldn’t handle me, that she had locked me out front.  My aunt who lived a couple of blocks away would come to get me and dress me in over sized clothes belonging to her son. She would take me to her apartment to ride out the emotional storm.  I would play with my cousin and watch movies until I wanted to go back to my mom.

My aunt would bundle be back up and take me home.  This back and forth is part of my earliest memories.

From what I can tell, my aunt had horrible taste in men.  Manipulators; liars, drunks and a gay man who was in the military.  She chased men that seemed to share her dreams only to leave her in the dust.  Her will was weak, she neglected to see these things in advance.  She was always waiting to be saved from her own squalor so that she could ACTUALLY LIVE!

She wanted to have it provided for her by someone she cared for and in the meantime she drowned her sorrows in some other reality.  A place where she could meet other “real people” feeling the same way she did.  Perhaps she didn’t see that they were all reflections of her.  Lonely, sick and addicted. Weak-willed and seeking, only bound to find one another.

Lost in a basement on oxygen, typing away.  Beauty of youth lost long ago, only to live in a shadow of cyber script.   She stopped living a long time ago.  She craved the life we all do- To love and be loved.

She adored nature, but she rarely visited it in the end.   There were times when I was very young, when she would take us fishing, early in the morning before the sun rise.  The thermos would be full of hot coffee, (and though I scowl at parents who allow small children to drink coffee,) she would pour each of us a cup mixed with a hot cocoa packet.  A poor man’s mocha at sunrise.

How did a person so close to nature, move so far away from it?  How did that sanctuary neglect to hold her interest? Loneliness.

We don’t all wish to be hermits.  How sad to age before your time- what a predicament to want love and to be too sick to attain it. Family was never enough.

She was married twice in her youth, but her youth is a bit of a mystery to me.  The eldest child, the oldest sister of three other siblings.  Did my grandparents have high expectations for her?  Did she lack guidance?  What was the exact moment that made her give up?

She had her son, young, with a Native man who would disappear from the picture shortly after it was taken. Her next husband  would be a closeted homosexual in the military who would tend to be abusive.

Her long time friend Loyd would love her desperately over the year, and their friendship would grow, but it would never be the relationship both of them were longing for.

She smoked cigarettes her entire life, until she couldn’t.  They were always the cheap smokes, GCP’s or what ever was affordable.

She loved babies and believed that everyone that she was able to hold, was a little bit hers and that included me.

I guess I never really viewed her as the adventurous type.  When she left, she must have really believed things were going to change for the better; but she was already lost in a confusion that misaligned her radar.

As this story unfolds under my finger tips, I unabashedly see the personal similarities in myself, things I would rather not admit to.

Now I am left with a dog bite, reminding me of who I do not want to become.

My Best Friend: Lessons In Commitment and Loyalty

I’m not much different than most other females who grew up around the same time I did.  We all watched the same Disney movies and obsessed over Wesley in Princess Bride.  We actively consumed the fairy tales of Princess’ being swept off their feet.  Add in some religion, and there was always some illusory man who was suppose to show up and sweep us off our feet.

By the age of twenty-five, if it hasn’t happened yet, the internal worry mixes with the biological clock and things start to get a little weird.

I didn’t start building strong female relationships until about that age.  I started to embrace the feminine in myself and with that came a new feminine energy.  At times I would think that I was the most “girly” out of the group, even though I considered myself far less “girly” than my cohorts.

I’m certain when I went for a dog, I didn’t care what gender it was, but for the first time in my life I was starting to really make female friends and I am sure that played a role in how everything unfolded.

During this time I was becoming very aware of the emotional pain many women carry with them.  It was a suffering that would come from competing with other women more as an unspoken way of being than a logical reaction.   I was going out of my way to express appreciation for women, even ones who I interacted with just in passing.  It could be as simple as saying “You look fantastic in that shade of blue.”  or ” I really love your hair, it looks so soft!”

I could see that women on the daily were not only trying to meet the world with some beauty, but they were trying to convince themselves that they were worthy of love and attention and the most basic way we are taught to seek that out, is by outward expressions of self care.

I knew I wasn’t out there trying to steal anyone’s boyfriend.  I was trying to find some loyal female friends while seeking love, and if you want to get a lady’s attention, give her a sincere complement.

When Claddagh came into my life, it wasn’t complements that won her over.  In fact it wasn’t complements that kept her around.  But while I was trying to figure out how to bring more love into my life via friends, she was sitting right beside me as I hashed things out.

In February of 2009 I received an art commission to paint a mural on the inside of a pump house at a tree farm.  For a week, Claddagh and I camped out while I painted the mural.  In the evenings I would sit by the fire with a headlamp writing about the various musings I may have had over the day.

Here are my scribbles about “What the fuck the roller coaster of love is”;

  • Doesn’t know what love is but aches for it, due to fairy tales and day time drama.
  • Meet someone who likes you and you couldn’t care less for as an individual.  Sometimes it matters not, for the first timer. It’s the wanting of love so badly that most novices force it based on lame criteria.
  • Settle into that “like-ness.”  For some this happens faster than others.
  • Grow personally or experience partners growth.   Get annoyed with everything you previously adored as “quirky.”
  • Jump knee deep into the dramatic experience of separating ways and the fucked up boomerang that always brings you back.
  • Wrestle with emotions vs. a need to get laid, enduring attitudes turn into pet peeves and the struggle to stay seemingly sane through the process.
  • Question life; it’s meanings and what could possibly be next.
  • Waste a few months feeling bad for yourself and procrastinating making a big decision.
  • Finally settle on something, perhaps the easiest thing….
  • And just when you think you are on the money…..
  • The Universe says “I’m sorry, actually you are going to do this ____.”  Which was your least favorite option from the options you initially had to choose from.
  • Just when you resign to your new circumstance, this new, interesting and attractive person comes in and because you haven’t lost all your hormones yet, your body says “HELLO!”
  • Knowing that you just experienced “love” and you have a lot to deal with, your mind says, “OH NO!”
  • Undoubtedly you spend time with this new stranger and your hormones won’t quit screaming “OH YES! PLEASE, PLEASE!”
  • Since you realize we are all animals who are most responsible to responding to our physical instincts,
  • Consciousness takes a back seat in decision making
  • Cave in and let hands graze nameless places- get high on pheromones.
  • Act like sad orphans literally dying to experience affection.  Once is never enough.
  • Realize that all of a sudden this indulgence and connection produces a a desire to satisfy something primal.
  •  Intimacy becomes a third party to rugged and animalistic behavior.
  • Start feeling things for a stranger while temporarily avoiding the recent void of failure, hoping to be re-filled.

Claddagh sat there as a silent bystander as I purged what could be seen as the worst flow chart for “love” to ever exist.  But what do I learn from this when I go back through it with that knowing?

My views on love have been quite askew.  Claddagh showed me another way to love, and it wasn’t based off of some unrealistic script that we are fed through entertainment.  This is why it hurts so badly.  We didn’t follow predictive programming in the unfolding of our friendship.  Even up into the minute I had to choose to let her go, I had no idea what I was doing and I was simply hoping for the best for both of us.   There was an undeniable trust that we were doing the best we could.

I learned that I need to further listen to my instincts.  Love doesn’t really exist in one-sided affairs and one sided affairs have seemed safe.  It’s easier to reject than to be rejected.   But what does it look like when both parties love?  It is harder to walk away, and I have been good at walking away… but I couldn’t walk away from Claddagh.  She made me look at the worst parts of myself, and she could have disappeared at any point in time to find a new home, and she didn’t.  She pushed through my wreckage.

Thanks to her, I can sift through it, and see more of what she was showing but I was only recording in passing. Thanks to her I can see love outside of that wreckage.

 

My Best Friend: Psychic Bonds

When you can’t rely on language to have a connection, a psychic bond is the answer.  It is a heart and head connection requiring no audible noise.  Claddagh in the early days was a bit of an escape artist, but she always seemed to have a reason to go where ever it was that she would end up.

In 2008 in the hours leading up to the 48 Hour Film Festival debut, Claddagh disappeared out of my friends yard.   His dog stayed within the fence, and Claddagh was no where to be found.  Knowing that I had a bunch of shit to do in a short period of time, looking for my dog was last on the list.  As I washed up in the shower, in my mind I said “Claddagh, if you don’t get back here in the next five minutes, don’t bother coming home.  You are stressing me out right now.”

A few seconds later my friend hollered through the bathroom door that he found her.  After finishing up, I came out and asked him where she had been and he says “You’re never going to believe it… She was just over at this guys house down the block.  He said that he saw her at the fence and she took one look at him, jumped the fence and ran over to him and just started loving on him.  He told me that he had just lost his mother and his dog in the last 24 hours, and it was like she came over to console him.  He volunteered to watch her while we go to the film festival.”

WOW!  I was floored.  My dog had sensed this man’s deep despair, and she broke the rules in order to go give him some much needed affection.  I couldn’t be mad anymore.  I was proud of her, and I hoped that she looked both ways before crossing the street.  They neighbor watched her for a few hours without incident, and I was able to enjoy the film festival without stressing about my dog.

Claddagh had two run in’s with getting put into Doggy Jail.  The first time was probably around 2010.  Some friends invited me to go to Breitenbush hot springs with them; but Breintenbush is a dog free zone.   I asked another friend to watch Claddagh for the day, as we would be leaving early morning and wouldn’t be back until later in the evening.

It ended up that the person who was going to watch her, flaked out; and I wasn’t sure what we could do with her.  I wasn’t familiar with the roommate that would be home, and I knew that their backyard fence was low enough for Claddagh to escape.   I told the group, “I can’t go.”  And they assured me that Claddagh would be fine.  Despite having a feeling of uncertainty, I was cajoled into going on the trip.

We got up to Breitenbush and spent several hours hanging out in the hot pools.  Sometime around 3 pm, two of us decided to take a hike in the lush forest surrounding the area.  While hiking I made the observation out loud, that it seemed wrong of us to be hiking in such a beautiful place without our dogs.  Right around that time I felt a panic set in, and I just wanted to get home.

I think it was probably 10:30 or so in the evening when we returned to Corvallis.  Sure enough when we get to my friends house, Claddagh is nowhere to be found.  Two friends head out on foot, and I drive around hoping she is still in the neighborhood.   No luck.   The roommate that was home said he let her out around 3pm when he left for work.  So she was left unattended in a backyard with a fence low enough to scale.

Here is where things lay over into the psychic world.  These friends lived very close to the only park in Corvallis where it is a dog free zone.  Claddagh had jumped the fence and went straight over to that park and was picked up by animal control and taken to the shelter.  The following day was a holiday and the shelter was closed, I couldn’t be with out her for another night so I knocked on the employee door because I knew there must be someone there to feed them.

I could hear Claddagh barking from outside the building as I walked around looking for the employee entrance.  A kindly little old lady answered the door, and I told her that I could hear my dog crying and that I really wanted to get her back today.   The lady led me back, and she could tell that my dog was who I said she was.   She told me “You are a good doggy parent, I’m just going to let you take her home today.”   She waived the fee, and sent Claddagh home.

I told Claddagh “if it is a no dog zone, you might want to avoid hanging out near there.”   She seemed a bit shaken with her time in lock up.

A few months later Claddagh would escape again, but differently.  I had plans for us to go to the Corvallis farmers market, and before we got down there I stopped into a convenience store, in the time it took me to purchase a cold coffee and a pack of cigarettes, she had jumped out of the back window.  Now, mybad, because I didn’t notice she wasn’t back there until I got to the farmers market… and low and behold, an empty back seat.

I got back into the car, and drove back to Philomath where the C-Store is.  I start walking the blocks, calling for Claddagh.  I see some kids on skateboards and I ask if they have seen a friendly, red and black dog wandering around.   They say ‘yes’ and I ask them to show me which direction she went.  They lead me toward a boarding house where we had a friend who was living there, so I definitely felt like they had seen my dog.

Now, Philomath is about eleven miles from the farm we were living at in Wren.  I spent an hour looking for Claddagh and then I had to get on with my day, so again, silently in my head I called out to her and said ” I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but you better not be anywhere near the highway.  I have shit I have to do today, you are stressing me out.”

It was a long day, and I by the time I got home, I had been gone for about twelve hours.

As I pulled into the driveway, there was Claddagh, cowering, but happy to see me.  After talking to her I got the sense that she followed the rail road tracks home.  She had walked that entire way back to the farm.  Needless to say, I was quite impressed with her fortitude and sense of direction.  I am sure she followed the smell of the sheep all the way home.

Last month would signify Claddagh’s last foray into Doggy Jail.  So far as I can tell, she was out in the front yard, unattended, which is very unusual.  She had her collar off, which was normal.  And someone thought she was lost so they took her in for the night.  When I came out and realized she was gone, I went into full panic mode.   It was pretty late at night so I walked the streets with a flash light calling her name.   No luck, so I laid a sleeping bag under the tree in the front yard, and slept there until the sun came up, hoping she would smell me and wander back home.

No such luck. The shelter opened at 11am,  and though it was my intention to be there before they opened, I got lost while trying to find the building.  I arrived at about a quarter after 11, to find my dad waiting in line to see if she had been dropped off.  Sure enough, someone had dropped her off, right at a 11.  If I would have been there early I could have saved myself the $55.00 they charged me for keeping her all of 24 minutes.  She got a couple of shots out of it.

This time when I went back to identify her, she looked on top of the world.  She had gone on her own adventure and she was high on it. I couldn’t be mad at her, it just stirred the part of me that didn’t know what I was going to do when she was actually gone for good.

See, even that event last month seems like a psychic precursor to what was going to follow on the night of Aug. 25, 2018.   I was given all these tests over the years to prepare me for the inevitability of losing her.   All I can do is be grateful that she was so gentle with these lessons and tests.

My Best Friend: You Definitely Have My Attention

You know how your best friend can usually pull you out of a funk?  They know a master way to get you to chuckle, or look at things differently, and the world will shift a little bit.

I am certain Claddagh understood how I would get fixated on things that would engage my attention to strong levels. And depending on where I was fixated, my mood would be effected to some degree.  As an empath I tend to be drawn to topics that are deeply rooted in the suffering of humanity.  I have a strong desire to uncover that which plagues humanity while at the same time trying to heal the Universal Feeling of Broken that is a template we live in.

When I lived in the mountains, I didn’t spend as much time or attention on those things the way I do now in large town. I didn’t have consistent internet and I could already just see pain existing around me to one degree or another, so it was an unspoken understanding that having a dog in nature helps all wounds.  I mean obviously it doesn’t make all of the pain go away, but it helps in certain terms of longevity and understanding.

I seriously started writing about my experiences in life at the age of twelve.  I’ve averaged 2.5 journals of various lengths per year for about twenty-six years.  I have no idea how many things I have published on this blog page alone, and this series, in this moment has my full attention. So much so, that I am pulling out the paper journals from the time Claddagh was in my life, because I am so interested in her chronology because it is inevitably tell me more about myself and how I will need to precede further.

My writing has always spoken my own code, to myself.  It is always in retrospect that I can tell if I listened or not.

What I can tell already, I’ve already mentioned a bit.  This feeling of intangible loss versus tangible loss and a feeling of loneliness or “godforsaken.”

I’ve been writing about death and loneliness my whole life, but it was sort of intangible.  I didn’t really know what I was missing, it was then easier to disconnect from the feeling of loss, by becoming callus.  When I lost my mom I was four years old.  What did I know?  I had not the experience yet to comprehend the impact of imagination when it came to comparing my experience in life to those who had yet to experience such an impacting circumstance.

Thirty-four years ago I didn’t have the ability to fully encompass what that initial loss would mean to my future relationships and my perceptions of death and loss of relationships to those still living.

I’ve written many things down about my life and perception.  In my opinion it is a treasure trove but obviously I am biased.  I haven’t written everyday, but I have written in cycles, and when I find myself in that cycle I tend to write a lot.   Perhaps it is because I feel both significant and insignificant in the world all at the same time, and the desire to record this life, outweighs the amount of words or paper I consume and collect in order to prove or assert my existence in the world.

I never thought I would have kids, and Claddagh was my “baby.”  Which leads me to the thought that if you feel lonely, the permanent solution does not exist in having a baby.  Which to some degree is exactly what I tried to do by acquiring a dog.  I’m not saying it was a bad decision, it was (what I am realizing in this moment) a temporary fix to a bigger issue that will still call for some resolution. I suspect that it’s going to take some uncomfortable work to get there. I am literally being forced to see the world with new eyes and I need some sunglasses because I am being blinded by the light.

My love for Claddagh was not only infinite but it was infant.  It was an infant kind of love that no words can express because it is too pure for complicated expressions.   The world could be expressed in a look or a gesture.  Looking at pictures of Claddagh, reflects what I must look like most of the time; deep in some thought far from joyful.  I never stopped searching for the origin of the intangible pain beyond my mother.

It too, comes in cycles.  All these cycles compress and unfold as time moves in the trajectory that we call forward future while simultaneously existing in a past that is added to by the awareness of its existence.

What is the ultimate lesson of Dog God?  “Love yourself as I love you. ”

How can we conceptualize this in reality through the filters of guilt, grief, and distraction?  New Age people talk about it all of the time but I don’t think many of them really get what that means because they live in a “do what thou wilt” kind of belief system.  I don’t think that I will be able to encapsulate it here because the seed of it’s awareness is just starting to sprout in my consciousness due to the new light shining on it, the conditions have just started to become ripe for its awakening.

The awareness happens with my focus while raking through old weeds.  If you read the journals in reverse you see the story unfolding from the beginning.  Everything we needed to know was there all along.  It is the knot in the rope during tug of war.

If we pay attention close enough, we realize we are never alone.  There are things begging our attention all of the time.  As I was writing this, I noticed at timed intervals that crab apples were hitting the hood of my car.  The branch above the garage door was shaking, and another group of leaves and berries would crash down, causing me to pause my typing.

Finally, I got up to see who wanted my attention.  A squirrel… of course.  The squirrels and Claddagh had their own daily camaraderie.  They would banter back and forth, and Claddagh would chase them up trees and power lines. They definitely had a relationship of sorts that never missed a day.

I felt the squirrel was saying “Hey, I notice your buddy is missing.”  And I spoke out loud and told the squirrel what was up, but he could come around as much as he wants and eat all the crab apples his little heart pleases.   See, sometimes even the nameless fur balls in your yard, can make it into the amazing story of life.

In the last day, I’ve noticed the bunnies are coming closer to the house as they realize their greatest terrestrial threat has been absent.  I noticed there were many more birds in the yard when I came to open the door.  Nature is trying to speak to me and right now it’s telling me that I should probably take old Brody for a walk.

My Best Friend: Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

I can’t exactly remember when it was that Claddagh started joining me in the dream space, but what I do remember is that in my dreams I was always trying to get her back to me.   The situations of dog-napping, and a dog run loose in reality were folding themselves into the bizarre tapestry of my well established dream world.

My dream world is conglomeration of places I have lived connected by a highway that leads to different lands.  There is a city in the middle made up of places I have visited, all smushed together into one seamless landscape.   One night in my dreams I became aware that Claddagh was now apart of my dream journey.

Here I will share some of the dreams that I have recorded over the years, in which Claddagh was important to the dream story-

April 5, 2017  “I dream about my dog.  I wonder if she dreams about me?”

May 2, 2017 ” Last nights DREAM JOURNEY , where I was on some camping trip with friends. We left my dog to play with a kitten, and we started to climb the face of some rocks.

Intermittently there were these painted rocks. And as I climbed, I started to realize how high off the ground I was. There was no easy way to back down. So I kept climbing to the top, figuring there would be an easier place to descend. On top of the mountain there was an auditorium theatre, and throughout the building there were boarding rooms.

A few of us got together for a strange “cancer test” Where we had to hold some red liquid in our mouths. And the woman giving the results would come around to each person, and suck the liquid out of us with what looked to be a clear syringe with two compartments, but this syringe was larger than a caulking gun.

If you had no cancer, the syringe would suck all the fluid out… if you had cancer, it would only suck out half the fluid. One of the people in my party was told they have cancer. We go to find our rooms, and I can see my dog acting bizarre, through a glass door. She is acting riled up. Her hair standing up along her spine.

Some one says “They are here.” I want to know who. They looked like brothers from different mothers. One was ginger, and the other had jet black hair. They were dressed like punk rock Nazi’s. Someone tells me that they are demons, as old as time, and that I can read about them and see pictures of them in an old set of Biblical Children’s Encyclopedia.

I was told to look under “Deedle-lingen”? I go wandering around to look for a bathroom, and notice a wet walkway that leads to bathrooms and some guest rooms. It is gross down here.

I see the brothers walking toward me, only this time they are dressed in what appears to be ancient buffalo hide. I turn into a room, and it’s filthy. I see a toilet, and it is filled with cigarette butts. This is the brother’s room. I am appalled that whoever runs this joint, allows them to smoke inside the building.

I look out the window and watch a car drive straight into a deep puddle and sink into the rain gutter under the building, and notice the water turning red. The brothers are killing people, with their minds, for fun. I can’t find my group, but I am able to locate my dog. I woke up before we could get off the mountain.”

May 11, 2017 ” Last night’s dream I am back in this cruddy festival land for a weekend camp out. Again I have my dog and we troop around talking to people. Everyone is talking about God, but it seems like they are talking about some other god.

I get an uneasy feeling.

Someone secretly doses me with something, and I am trying to keep my wits about me. My vision and hearing change, I can see them (kind of like the movie They Live).

Some fella talks to me about God, and I tell him that he worships Lucifer, and he says “I know that, We all Know That.” I rebuke it in the name of Christ, which basically turns me into a big beacon of light, and I can no longer blend in, They All See me Now. I’ve got to get out of there, but now that they see me, they prevent me from leaving.

I call my step mom to pick me up, but she keeps getting distracted by the people and the scene. I pack in the back of my old red Camry hatchback ,Shastina (that I sold in 2006) with my dog; from the back seat I put the keys in the ignition and tell my step mom to drive.

We get out into a mountain highway, and cars are ganging up on us. We hear sirens, so she pulls over. The siren sounds are phantom, there are no police cars. Cars are pulling over surrounding us. I jump into the passenger seat, and yell at her to drive again, and she swiftly pulls back into traffic.

I am trying to read the 32 missed messages that suddenly pop onto my phone. I am trying to call my dad to let him know what is going on. Karen is suddenly falling asleep at the wheel, I pull over to get her coffee. I am still “tripping” and the people at the coffee stop see me and know she is with me, so they have some hand in her sleepiness. Everyone is staring and moving in on me, so I wake up.”

November 9, 2017 (the day Quantum DreamCat showed up.)  “So this afternoon a wounded cat came into my yard, and she let me catch her… she’s been in my lap for most of the day, and I have been acclimating her to Claddagh, who is fine with kitteries.

I’m falling in love, but really trying to find her people. Right now the 3 of us are sharing some Nori (seaweed).

This kittery already knows about litter boxes, so that is awesome…. Claddagh is scared to get hissed at or batted in the face, but she really wants to show love to the kit.

Tonight is going to be interesting…

A couple of nights ago I had a dream that was really lucid, and in that dream I got a phone call from a man who sounded Black, (my spirit guide always shows up as a Black dude, if you want to know more about that, ask.)

Anyway, this guy on the phone asks me “Is it okay if I let your cat drink from the dogs water dish?” And I am aware that I don’t currently have a cat, so I misdirect and ask “Where are you calling from?” Trying to discern more info.

We talked around the topic, but the phone call ended with “Congratulations” Mylar balloons appearing in the reproduction of my dream world….

I have wanted to hold and love on a small kitty for over a year…. now I am fostering one… It’s kind of intense, because it is unexpected, and I am unprepared… But I am getting some really unexpected joy at the same time… This kittery has a perfect personality, or maybe she is just a good guest.  I don’t care… I am loving every minute of it.”

These are just the public posts of dreams that I made in the last year.   When I look at them in chronology I can tell I was being informed of a future that I didn’t see.   All the signs were there, I was choosing not to see it.

When I take all of the information I see the non-linear reality that plays in the waking and sleeping worlds.   This gives me some comfort that soul truly does live on, even when it is out of material form in this 3D construct.

I look forward to her returning to my dreams, perhaps accompanied by my brother, or my Dream Guide Rafiki. I bet my brother would have really enjoyed Claddagh’s company, I hope their re-introduction was beautiful for I am sure he had a hand in the synchronicity of perfect timing for our meeting.

My brother Kevin, was my first best friend, and I know that he would care for anyone that could steal my heart in such purity.   If there is a heaven, they are there together building bonfires in the sky.

My Best Friend: What Is Nature Without You

Yesterday I was numb.  My mind was empty.  I did a lot of pacing.  I used what mental strength I had to imagine kissing the black spot on Claddagh’s head, right where the third eye sits.  I imagined the way her hair spread across her face, and in what position she may be laying depending on where I was looking.

There is a ghost in my mind, that I am trying to materialize, and I know that it’s futile.

A recent acquaintance asked if I would like to go hiking tomorrow.  My folks suggested I take a few days and go to the mountains and write, or to at least take a walk.   At the moment I can’t bare the thought of going back to nature without my nature buddy. I mean, what would I even do once I got there?  Deep down I know that nature is my solace and I feel at most peace in the mountains.  I know that when I get there it will be hard to think about this pain in the same way that I am currently thinking about it, surrounded by the reminders of  this ordinary life we had been living.

Who will keep me warm at night, if I choose to camp?  Who will I share my meal with once that big meaty steak is done cooking over the open flame?  Who will alert the bears and beasts that we are peacefully sharing the space of nature for a few days?  Who will alert me when something suspicious- this way comes?

I know that I never really thought of Claddagh as “protective”, there was never any real reason for her to have to step into that role, and I really feel like she trusted me to be the protector.  When I think of going back to nature for long periods of time without her, I feel a sense of fear, despite the seemingly carefree nine years I was roaming and camping on my own before she came into my life.  I became incredibly comforted by her company.

When we were on our three month camp out, she wandered away from the camp site enticed by the smell of horse manure on the near by trails.   Frantically I called her back.  I walked around calling her and eventually I her her sharp cries in the distance.  I kept calling and walking until I honed in on her howl.   I found a distant campsite with a van and a tent.  Claddagh was tied to a tree with a rope, and an old drunk Native man sat on a near by camping chair.

I asked him why he had my dog tied to the tree, she was obviously responding to my calls.  The man said nothing, so I angrily walked to the tree and untied the rope.  Claddagh and I walked by to our site, side by side.

Claddagh was always more fun to walk with off-leash.  She was really good about either walking right by my side, or running up ahead about twenty feet and then stopping and waiting to for me to catch up.  I use to enjoy playing statues with her.  She would run up ahead and just as she would turn around, I would freeze in position.  I would hold it until she ran back to me to see why I wasn’t moving, and then I would just resume walking and we would do it all over again.

Nature was a big playground for us to make up games.  Sometimes we were treasure hunters.  Sometimes we were ninja’s.  Sometimes I would just trust her to take the lead in order to see where we ended up.  We stumbled on old graveyards, abandoned buildings, and perfect bubbling streams.

A few years ago we went out and my car battery died.  We walked the long dirt road back to Happy Jack and just hoped that some one would help.  Happy Jack looked desolate and the weather was turning dark and stormy.   Just as we approached the asphalt a big green truck drove by and I started waving frantically.  They pulled over and turned around.  Two kindly older gentlemen were in the cab.  They worked for Game and Fish and were happy to assist me and Claddagh.  We hopped in the back seat and they drove us back to the site and proceeded to jump my car.

I started packing up, and shared my last two Red Stripe beers with the men, who had never heard of Red Stripe before.  They gave Claddagh some treats, and were on their way.

It’s like I’ve always had “Angel Power”, but Claddagh amplified it.  We had double Angel Power between the both of us and often times it felt like things turned out the best for both of us, because she was there.  I think people subconsciously know that the way a dog acts, says a lot about the owner.  If you feel you can trust the dog, you can probably trust the owner.

More than once we were invited to stay with strangers who ended up being wonderful hosts.  It takes a special kind of person to invite an unknown person with a dog into their home, around their children.  We were blessed to have those kinds of experiences.

Claddagh and I didn’t go on many group camp outs.  One of the last ones was July 4th, probably four years ago now.   There was a rather large group of us, and almost everyone had a dog. I was so proud of Claddagh getting along with everyone.  There was one dog, belonging to a friend, who was younger and less adapted than the rest of the dogs in the group.  He really wanted to get to Claddagh, and it was slightly problematic, yet she wasn’t giving into violence.  I was hoping that we were entering a new maturity phase where it might be easier to be around more dogs without causing anxiety.

I was able to see that play out a couple of times as home, when an occasional lost dog would end up in our yard.  If they were friendly and tagged I would bring them into the back yard until I could figure out where they lived.  Claddagh would casually share the back yard, peeing on their pee, sniffing what the guest would sniff.  One time, a guest dog was super playful, and they ran around together, playing for the fifteen minutes it took for the dog’s family to arrive.

In all reality, I felt safer having Claddagh with me.  I haven’t really tested my fears in recent years, and it’s a scary prospect at re-exploring that side of me that has been dormant.  I’m not sure how I will be able to step back into it.

The idea to go camping came up a few weeks ago, and I really did want to go with Claddagh, but what I said was “If I go up to the mountains, I’m not going to want to come back down.”   That is really how I felt, that if we were to go back up there, that, that is where we would want to stay forever.   It’s like going back to the place you had a honeymoon, only you are returning solo.  All the magic that place may have held is no longer the same place.  You feel a haunted feeling, you see the ghosts of the past at every turn.  You turn to comment on the scene only to realize you are talking to yourself.