Chasing After Heaven’s Dreams–Happy (Belated) Easter

Happy Easter, Everyone,

I just didn’t want to let the sun set on today, Easter Sunday, without a shout-out from the waling wall. 😦

We are down in lower Virginia at our summer house on the Chesapeake Bay…..actually, the eastern tip of the Piankatank River such that we have a little surround of land on either side of the river-bay, for which I’m grateful as it serves to protect us (just a bit) from getting hammered when the hurricanes hit…..AND THEY DO. I withstood Ernesto and have never in my life experienced such a radical turn of nature, but that’s a topic for another time.

I love it here in the “red-neck Hamptons!” Peaceful and easy. Only jammies and bathing suits needed. Hairdryers and makeup can stay at home.

View from the water to the house

As just about everyone who knows me knows, I’m in a dark, sad place watching my dog, Zolton, slip away from this earthly existence.

I think a big part of it, for me, is that I know my precious Zolton’s days with me are too few. He loves this house. He’s a water dog–part Newfoundland-part Labrador and this place is paradise. Plus he knows how happy we all are when we are here–a respite away from our busy lives up north.

He was thrilled to arrive, albeit a long, long car ride when he became quite accustomed to traveling there by private jet, only about 25 minutes in the air versus 5 – 7 hours in a car (I have told you that I have withstood some extreme lifestyle changes).

Zolton and George resting on the ride

We had to stop every two hours to let him out to go potty and to give him a good long drink–the steroids are nasty yet I think they are making him more comfortable. Quality of life decisions!

Yet to our great surprise, his spirits picked up the moment we drove in our driveway. Wagging tail took to the air. Head up high. Smile on his grey snout.

In the days to follow, we took our ritualistic walks with our friends and their dogs.

We’d visit friends’ cottages and their dogs and love each other to pieces. We snapped lots of photos and kissed each other a lot.

We even rolled in the dirt and jumped in the water to rinse off. Well, he did; I didn’t.

We watched the moon rise….

And we had cocktails on the deck….it was a little chilly but we snuggled on the double chaise (minus the Hermes towels).

Our friends and their four dogs came to visit!

It really was a beautiful day. It began with a lovely church service and ended with a yummy dinner shared with friends (and even more dogs) such that this post is coming, not on Easter Sunday, as intended, but Monday….Easter Monday.

What strikes me most on this glorious day of hope is why I have so much trouble living in the moment. I mean I was able to forget the pain for a few moments here and there but the weekend was pretty much clouded over with sorrow….at least for me. Once I hear about a grim medical diagnosis, I’m always burying that person-dog (I do it with people, too) rather than being grateful for the very moment embracing me that very second. We were never promised much more than what is in front of us. Why? I wonder can’t I just enjoy the good days. Do other people feel this way, too?

It was just so bittersweet for I know Zolton will never return to his most favorite spot on the Chesapeake Bay. We won’t be returning until the summer and I know I am dealing with an aggressive enemy. I have nearly fallen apart. I’ve lost 6 pounds in 10 days; my hands shake; I can’t paint, write or think straight. I feel pain so deeply; I am more sensitive than most. That being said, I also feel joy, when I feel it, probably more than most. Oddly (given what I have put forth in these blogs), I am pretty much the life of a party. I am the “fun” friend….I am usually upbeat and FILLED with joy….when I am. And when I’m not, I’m morose…like I’ve been in these blog entries. Completely morbid. It’s been a tough two years but I’m ready for the new season in my life when joy is restored.

I’m reminded by the words of Kahlil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

We need to remember that the most sorrowful moments will give way, in good time, to moments that are overflowing with peace, joy and contentment….and maybe even a good dance party! And perhaps there is a purpose to in it all, after all…

Happy Easter Monday, Everyone.


Can these hands heal?

I’ve always been told that I jump to conclusions (if you read my previous posts you’ll see that I’m often TOLD things quite a bit). Most of the time, I let the people who tell me things about my manner–usually negative–go in one ear and out the other to some degree (though not completely, because I am sensitive). However, today, I don’t give one darn hoot what people say about my overly sensitive ways of reacting. I am intuitive and I’m bracing myself for some bad news.

If you recall my last entry relating the last year of life without my precious father and how he helped me handle my puppy twelve years ago??? (If in doubt, please read “A Year in Heaven). Well that puppy is an elder dog now–a “senior” and he is not doing well.

Last Thursday I took Zolt for a checkup. I’m embarrassed to say that with everything that has gone down in the past year, I’ve been remiss in getting him checked every 12 months. He had lost 15 pounds. I hadn’t even noticed. Now he is a big dog–half Newfoundland-half Lab. Down to 75 pounds from his fighting weight of 90! Now he was always over weight, I reason. But the doctor doesn’t like what she sees. She thinks he looks depressed and she palpates his belly and thinks his liver is possibly enlarged. She also senses something neurological is askew as he is doing something “weird,” she says, “with his head.” I don’t see it and I’m a psychologist.

We do the X-rays which don’t show anything unusual. We do a complete blood profile which shows some elevated numbers (calcium and amylase) though nothing wrong with his liver enzymes (though the enzymes are not amiss until 75% of the organ has been damaged). He has a history of Lyme’s disease which caused early stage renal disease, we were told, many years ago. He has since been on a fancy diet I sent for through the mail. This seems to have kept his disease at bay. The kidney disease seems to have created a further problem, that of high blood pressure, which we have been treating for the past few years. I mean this is a dog who has had issues. He was hit by a car when he was young and we patched him up “good as new.” About six years ago we thought he had cancer as they had found a growth in his abdomen and all medical personnel braced me for the worst (such that I was on-call for an intra-op call to decide if we wanted to put him down or not). Low and behold, he surprised us all, and the problem turned out to be a cyst, blowing the minds of all vets involved in the case. But let me tell you, I prayed and prayed and prayed for this dog–hands on him in the ER the night before his surgery. I even put him on a prayer chain on the internet. Were my prayers answered or was it just my good fortune? I happen to think it was God.

I continued to lay my hands on sick dogs and good things happened. Did God work through my hands? I don’t know. Wouldn’t that be something? Wouldn’t that be a gift from God?

Tomorrow, I take my very best canine companion to Malvern for an ultrasound. I am seeing an internist upon the recommendation of my vet. I’m hoping the weight loss is due, in part, to the fact that we were away for over 10 days and Zolt had no human food to consume which is a considerable chunk of his diet. Plus he seems to hate this new food I switched to in June, I’m noticing (remember, I’m slow to observe certain things–my mind has been riddled with emotional grief all year and I have a child to take care of). Plus it’s over a 2 year span!! And he’s getting old and they lose weight as they age, right?

As for the high calcium….well he eats a heck of a lot of cheese (so much for the “special diet”) thanks to my husband’s lax manner in just about everything that concerns me. All I can say is that I’m NOT READY TO LOSE MY BELOVED DOG!! I mean, I know he’s not going to last forever. I’m just not ready. I’m still sobbing over my father’s death. I sure hope I still have the gift in the hands. I’m claiming it! Or have I blessed other people and their dogs such that my quota is up–up when it’s time for some miracles for me??

One can only keep the faith and remember that the Lyme’s disease from deer tick bites is another bullet in building my case to get back to the city!! And look at my baby, how stylish he would be when walking through Bergdorf’s wagging his tail and knocking over some table on the first floor. How I would love to take him there. Last time I was there, I even asked if they had a size requirement since all the dogs frequenting that place (as well as my hairdresser on Madison) weigh under 2 pounds. They aren’t prejudicial–all dogs are welcome and I am taking him there one of these days. It’s on the bucket list. Plus he’s much better mannered than some of those little dogs taking a tinkle at the Judith Lieber counter. He would hold it–even if it hurt. What a blessing this dog has been….