i am here

“When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here.” 
― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

We take off for a few days, heading east of the mountains; an overnight trip blooming into four.  I pack the dog's blanket and hold it in my lap as we travel, his smell still lingering. I have allowed all feelings to just happen since he left us. Those first days, stuck so deeply in his last hours, were hard but necessary. Today, I mostly smile when I think of him, and spend time creating tiny Basil shrines here and there all over the house. But there are times when the grief hits hard and I cry and I just let the tears flow; I don't try to bury myself in mindless projects or tell myself to move on. He and I both deserve more. 

I have yet to walk the pond road, or head down to the river.  Understanding those daily walks were tied deeply to my daily photo, I have allowed myself to just let that practice go. For the most part my camera sits idle and my thoughts ramble and I am thankful I know not to fight this. 

I come to understand so many things about my life with Basil, beyond his spunky personality and his sweet little routines. For one, he was my one constant, my anchor (as one friend put it) and my joy. He was there when things were so hard and followed me when I took off in all kinds of directions trying to find myself again. He was patient and always up for a snuggle, a walk or a car ride. He was the reason for so many outings and the perfect excuse to stay home. He never questioned my motives and our love for each other was unconditional. 

We end up in Northern Idaho the last two nights of our trip, spending time with close friends in their cozy cabin. The quiet and the beauty of the lake draws me in and he and I walk the trail for a few miles. Memories of my childhood flood me, as they often do in this part of the world, and I find peace. We wake Monday morning ready to come home, ready to face the emptiness of our home. We talk on the way home about how we will ask Jordan to start looking for a new puppy for us. After all, Basil was his dog in the beginning. 

And with that dream, I find myself thinking about names in the middle of the night. 

Thank you so much for all the love you have showered me with over the past couple of weeks. It means so much to me to know you get it and you understand. 

He taught us the art of unqualified love. How to give it, how to accept it. Where there is that, most other pieces fall into place.
— John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
cathy sly