Blog 42...The Birth of a Princess...
Sometimes when I go through a tuff day or a hard week, I think back to darker times...so I can appreciate how far I have come and to shed light on my troubles...sometimes thoughts of the past can make any current situation just seem simple.
And while I try to keep my writings funny and full of humor, please note, this is not one of those blogs.
Life is not always about unicorns, sparkles, and rainbows (shhhhh, don’t tell anybody)...there is loss and sorrow and pain, yet from those comes strength and the ability to see a dawn breaking from where fog lingers.
This is the story of my best friend.
A couple days after I attended Ken Kesey’s funeral (if I have not mentioned it before, this was one of the most life changing and profound days in my life...the lessons I learned.) my ex-husband and I had decided to get a puppy. We decided on a Japanese Mastiff properly known as a Tosu Inu. At eight weeks old the hips of this dog rested on my shoulder and if I held my arm out straight, his chest rested in my hand...oh yes, he was my big man.
I said we must name him Kesey...and then whispered in his ear, “You have big shoes to fill.”...he licked me on the face and nuzzled me, answering my statement, without words.
Kesey grew to be 230lbs of the most amazing dog that you have even seen. And he was my man.
People would comment about how obvious it was that I was this dog’s world...his eyes & ears would follow me around the room, he would be waiting after every shower I took (and remember, I shower a shit ton) to lick the water off my legs and feet...my own personal shower mat. He would spoon me when I went to bed or napped, on arm around me, he pulled me close and as he dreamed he nibbled my ear. We would dance...I would put music on, he would put his hands on my shoulders and rest his chin on top of my head and we would go around the kitchen.
Kesey’s love for me was unconditional.
For most of Kesey’s life I owned the restaurant, and worked without a day off. I would try to come home to cuddle, do work from the house, or take him to the restaurant (that was his favorite, because he was the most handsomest of handsomes, and oh the attention he would get)...but my time with him was so limited and sometimes I was so stressed it was just hard for me to deal with any one or thing.
Since his time as a puppy, Kesey had a problem with one leg, this bone-bump-thingy, but it never seemed to bother him and the vet said it was nothing.
One day I was walking Kesey and I noticed him limping on that leg...after a week of it not getting better, I took him to the vet. After some tests and x-rays I was told he had cancer, and about a month to live.
He was four and a half years old.
I spent the next two weeks sleeping with my big man on the kitchen floor, encouraging him to hop up so he could use the bathroom, cheering when he had accomplished his mission, and this time around, it was I that spooned him. And I simply held him, as much as I could...I told him how sorry I was for being so busy, how I wished I could take it all back, to just be with him...how his love was the most important thing in this world...it was so pure.
He awoke one morning and I helped him up and outside, as I cheered him back in he stopped in his tracks and looked me in the eyes, the gaze pierced my soul, and I knew.
I awoke my husband and told him we were going to take Kesey to the vet, we had to put him down. He said with earnest that we had two more weeks, I told him “this is not up for discussion, it is time.”
It took four of us to get big man on the stretcher, as we wheeled him in one of the vets whispered in my ear, “You are doing the right thing.”
And I held my best friend as he took his last breath, and as it exhaled out of him, clarity slapped me in the face.
I was alone.
I was in a marriage that had no eternal love. Neither of us loved ourselves, we had stopped enjoying life long ago due to the restaurant and we were both exhausted.
My dad sent me a card on the front was a quote from Rumi...”The true lover is the one who on your final day, opens a thousand doors.”
Inside the card, my dad had written, “Kesey will be missed. He was a great friend...maybe, also...In his dying he reminds us to embrace life and to do our best while we are here.”
As I read it (as I do each morning for it is on my mirror with a picture of my big man) the sting of clarity slapping me in the face finally numbed...and I realized what I had to do.
I went to my husband and told him I was unhappy, that the restaurant was killing our marriage. I asked if we could sell it and move away and start over, I could figure out what I wanted to do and he could still be a great chef, we just wouldn’t have all this stress.
He told me “No”...that he did not believe in me, that the restaurant was his dream, what he wanted and he was not leaving it.
I called my parents and said I needed to speak to them right away...I went down for a night, it is then I talked to my mom about leaving my husband, and she gave me the advice “To give it 150% and you will either save it or be pissed off enough to leave.”
For the next six months I truly gave it 150%...I convinced him to close the restaurants on Mondays so we could have a day off, the economy crashed, I encouraged us to change the menu to work with the economy and pushed to get the local newspaper to do an article on it, which we got the front page of the Friday Business Section. I got us a cabin on the coast for his birthday, he canceled at the last minute, we had date nights. We planned to see my family for Thanksgiving...the entire time down to see them he yelled at me, about how we always had to spend holidays with my family, the people who had helped us buy our house and our restaurant, his dream. I breathed and decided to just shut my mouth, and enjoy it, that this would be our last holiday. I made plans to go see my family for Christmas without him. On Christmas Eve, I told my mom I was leaving him when I returned. I flew home one Christmas night so I could spend it with him. He was late picking me up from the airport. I was on my elliptical on December 28th when he brought me a potted tulip and said “Merry Christmas”
I told him it was “To little, to late………I want a divorce.”
And I hit bottom many a time as I crawled away from my marriage, and I still do not see the top of this mountain, but man, is it a beautiful hill.
And if Kesey had never died, I would probably still be married, I don’t think I would have found the strength to leave.
He gave me the ultimate sacrifice to make me happy.
His last breath became my inner light.
And I miss my friend.
My friend who on his final day, opened the doorway to my self-love...
For my self-love is one of my key components to my being a princess.
My friend, you did not die in vain...thank you, for making me...me.
DANCE MOVE OF THE WEEK
BUTTERING THE BREAD
I am always antsy for bread at a restaurant, I feel like it is the first impression, and how are they going to impress...so get antsy, this usually means kinda shaking from side to side...ohhh, you have the view seat, here it comes, maybe a little clap is in order when it arrives...okay, now tear off your piece of bread with authority, and grab the butter knife. Is it the salted butter (that shit is the best)...now you spread the butter on the bread, butter is an awesome thing, don’t be scared of it...spread some more...bite...oh yeahhhhhh...sometimes, the simplest things...when done right...
makes the best dance.