Mary is now in Utah with friends traveling in her ‘Prius RV’. I haven’t been feeling great…actually not very good at all much of the time, with just a good day here and there, otherwise having some serious aches and pains…until about 5 or 6 days ago or so, and since that time I’ve felt generally better.
My almost 15 year old puppy.
Joy, Shiloh and I have been taking one day at a time, house sitting, light gardening, baking bread….
And visiting with my son Jason and his wife Mandy. (More about that in the next post).
Generally we’re just practicing living in one location…seeing how it feels.
I read on FB last evening that a very dear friend of mine passed away….a week ago.
This picture of Jo was taken in my yard in May of 2009.
The news really crashed hard on me. Lots of memories came flooding back. Jo and I were next door neighbors from 1997 until 2004, and I could have never asked for a better neighbor and friend. We’ve remained friends ever since.
I heard the news because Jo’s grand daughter wrote about it on Jo’s FB page. On Google I found out that her Celebration Of Life had already passed and that crushed me even further. I messaged her grand daughter ( whom I’ve never met) and poured my heart out.. I was relieved to learn then that there will be a Cremation Ceremony later this month, so I’ll be able to spend some time with others who loved her.
I was shocked to learn that she had a moderately long term illness because I spent a whole afternoon with her in December when we visited, shared a meal here and exchanged Christmas presents. She must have known at that time what was going on but she kept it to herself. She drove away that day with the knowledge that we would probably never see each other again in this world, and I was none the wiser. It must have been hard for her to leave that day, not so much on my account, but because of the dogs. She had a special bond with them, especially Joy. She was Joy’s second mom.
Jo with Shiloh sitting beside her and Joy giving her paw.
Before Joy I had another Golden named Bonnie. Back in the day Jo showed me the beach/dunes walk that the dogs and I go on, even now. Back then we would take Bonnie and her dogs on that walk at the ocean, in the early morning fog, time and time again. We would walk and talk and walk and talk and share our secrets, as the dogs romped and ran like wild things in the sand and surf.
Even today, hardly anyone goes there so letting the dogs run isn’t a big deal. And amazingly even after all these years there are no dog-on-leash-only, signs. We took that walk this morning, in memory of Jo. Actually a very short version of the walk.
Jo took care of Bonnie for me while I wandered around the country (and Europe too), following The Rolling Stones on tour. I saw the Stones close to 40 times and close to 30 of those times it was because Jo was willing and able to babysit for me. Fur baby, that is.
When it was time for Bonnie to cross the Rainbow Bridge, and I was distraught, it was Jo who orchestrated getting the vet to my house, so Bonnie could leave for the Rainbow
Bridge from her own living room.
It wasn’t long after that, I wanted a puppy, but I worked the afternoon shift at the hospital and I felt it was impossible to care for a puppy in that situation. Jo stepped up and promised she would help me out with puppy things on a daily basis as long as help was needed.
She was as good as her word. At first she came over three times an evening while I was at work, and not just to let the puppy out and go back home. I invited her to stay as long as she liked, watch tv, eat pop corn, etc. That’s when Joy learned to love pop corn! As Joy got older, Jo came over 2 times an evening, and later cut it down to once.
Part of the reason Joy is named Joy is because it has ‘Jo’ in it.
Today…Jo’s spirit walked with us.
Eventually Jo moved and so did I, but we always stayed in touch. When I started traveling, each time I came back to the home place we would get together…..except this time.
This time I was trying to wait until I started feeling better to start contacting friends about getting together. Since the last week or so I’ve started feeling better, I was thinking about contacting Jo, I just hadn’t done it yet.
You can see the fishing boats were out on the bay this morning.
If I had, perhaps I could have seen her and said good-bye…but it very well may be that is not what she would have wanted. She may have wanted to leave our memories together as they were in December. I’ll never know. But everything happens for a reason….
I have to tell myself that.
Jo was probably the strongest woman I know, and she generally loved dogs more than people. She never ever took the easy path through life, but she was true to herself, and stood firmly for what she believed.
I was so privileged to know her and to be able to call her friend.
My comfort is the thought of her many dogs she loved over the years who were there to meet her at the Rainbow Bridge in a warm and wonderful reunion. I know my Bonnie was there too.