Category Archives: Reflections

letter to Donald: how to break the fatal conundrum

Donald:

If there ever was a leader who needed a forthright and blunt consultant, that would be you.

If there ever was a leader who didn’t know that and refused entertain even the notion, that would be you.

As futile as it may well be, I am appointing myself your consultant. It is the best public service I can perform.

Don’t worry (if you ever do), it will be simple. It will boil down to a very simple action plan. But first we need to do some work on the first two phases of change, awareness and acceptance.

Right about now you think this is all a pile of b.s. And many Americans do not think you worthy of being told the time of day. Unlike those many millions of other Americans,however, I think you also put on your pants one leg at a time–and I believe that God has no grandchildren. I must give my clients the benefit of the doubt, else I could not work with them. So someplace down deep in those murky depths, where your soul languishes,. starved for the living light of love, a little voice may be whispering into your mind’s ear: this guy might have something here.

So let’s get it on, Donald. First thing is: let me explain why I don’t call you Your Highness, Mr. President, Mein Führer, etc. I am here to share with you what I’ve learned. And the only way that will have a snowman’s chance in hell of that working for you is if we meet human to human — no bars of status, no norms of what I cannot say, no place for you to go. 1:1, eyeball to eyeball, level playing field

It will be hard for you, but stretch a bit. It wont take long and you can afford my fee. Best, however is that you will profit personally and financially acting on my advice.

Here, then, is why. Listen up, Donald.

Shakespeare said, nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Lets look at yours. A blind man could see that your thinking or self image is locked into avoidance of responsibility and accountability, into being against things just to be against them, into an inordinate and all consuming addiction to power, position, status and prestige, and into a ruthless win/lose mode of competition , Those modes of thinking drive you to being willing to break the law. You do that in order to undermine others so that you can feel that you have won. And, probably at base there lies a drive for excitement über alles. It is very much like criminal thinking. No matter the label: as I said, a blind man could see all of this, unless he or she were a Moscow Mitch/Lindsay Graham type or a white US evangelical.

Lets dismiss the support of those two groups right away: you can always easily tell them, but you can’t tell them much.

In other words whatever the situation, you assume you can win out if you do not cooperate, always undercut, ruthlessly try to control. It is all reactionary and it does nothing except negate.

Lets bring that a little closer to home, lets venture into accepting what we are saying here.

There is one exception to your well honed spirit of negation: receiving real, valid feedback about how you are doing. You do not negate that: you just don’t ever get it. Until your assumption of the Presidency, you could afford to make feedback so onerous., so dangerous and so painfully expensive that few if any had the inrtestinal fortitude to tell you anything except what they all knew you wanted to hear. But the whole US public, all world leaders, the Democrats are not afraid of you. They are breathing fiery feedback, saying you are not fit to lead. It is everywhere, except for Fox News, Moscow Mitch and lackeys, and white evangelicals (although one of their revered Leaders recently said that with the Ukraine S N A F U, you have lost your heavenly mandate.)

So here it is: the rats are jumping off the ship. I know, you think that “they” are all devious traitors. But accept that it is happening.

And that brings us back to the fundamental notion in my suggestions: your emergency needs and your inability to act in this emergency exist for the same reason: lack of feedback. The worse things get, the more you negate and strike out. And the more you negate and strike out, the worst the crisis, the greater thebody of evidence you must sooner or later deal with, and so forth in a vicious downward spiral. All being cheered on and given loud applause by Moscow Mitch and the white evangelicals.. And when figuratively the guillotine blade of impeachment and trial falls upon your overfed neck, you will, as you always do, conclude that everything was rigged against you and that you have been betrayed by everybody.

Of course you will be wrong but you won’t know that until after that blade has fallen.

So heres the action plan. With most of the nation looking to see your head roll, yours is not to reason why, yours is but to quit or die.

Whether you think it’s just or not is irrelevant. Even you can see that you are developing a reputation for being a criminally inapt leader. People write your reportcard based on what they see, not on your intentions. And what they see is getting more nefarious every day. Not just in the US, but everywhere on this globe. Disbelieve it at your own peril. The minority Moscow Mitch and white evangelical report card looks less and less realistically accurate with each round the clock news report.

Lets wind up here talking about why you must think twice before rejecting this action plan suggestion.

Just exactly how well do you think that a report card getting worse by the day supports your business aspirations and interests? You used to be able to hide your disasters. Your business was not that important to the rest of the world; you buried your malfeasance in the fathomless and muddy depths of New York real estate. People simply dismissed you as a poisonous clown. Now however everything about you is right out in front of everybody. A growing majority of Americans, even now including some Republicans, thinks you should be thrown out of office. The report card is beginning to show a lot of Ds and Fs.

That brings us to the action plan. What if you just up and said, to hell with all these ingrates and traitors. I’ve spent millions on this stupid job and there’s no gratitude. I have lent my stable genius to the building of a revitalized America, and all I get is trouble. To hell with all of them and that: I quit. Come on, now: hasn’t that possibility drifted in and out of your mind already?

Do you really think that such a disgrace and calamity as Impeachment and trial will actually boost investors willingness to work with you? Your interests will be valued at less, your patrons in Russia will drop you like a hot potato, your business upon which your whole identity rests will begin to wither.

But if you were to tell them all to lump it now, you would be able to take with you some of the honor and a little bit of the goodwill that you might have had upon entering this office. You would not have to explain away a permanent report card with all Fs. Your businesses might be salvageable.

You ought to be frightened enough to do this, Donald.

As a consultant valuing integrity,, I am duty bound to say that I do not think you could take being booted out of office, maybe not even just the process, regardless of the outcome. All the evidence suggests a fatal external locus of control as the foundation of your life: you must have position, power, status and presige, especially via money, to live with yourself. the mere possibility of losing even the appearance of that puts you into witchhunt mode licketysplit. And at your age, losing all that would certainly be more than you could handle.

So here are two behavioral suggestions, rule of thumb, which might make this action plan easier to do; First: u think of my suggestions like the suggestion that you open your parachute if jumping out of an airplane. Second, open your eyes while keeping your mouth shut. You might then see that everyone who knows the score with you is singing to the Impeachment investigation. You might notice that your rats are indeed jumping your ship.

T .

Well, that’s it Donald: get out of Dodge while you still can. My consultation with you is complete and ended. I will only add that I like the majority of your countrymen devoutly hope that you will take this advice.

As for my bill for this work, first this is pro bono, public service so I charge you nothing. In additon, however, it is gratis because you will need all you can keep and I don’t want to kick a man who is about to be big-time down.

Good luck!

W. S. Hill

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.

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Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.

Can I help you, sweetie?

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I am by most counts 76 years old. Not that it pleases me much. But I’m fed up with ageism.  It’s everywhere, like a fungus among us.
  • The doc says not to worry abut X YZ because, uh, well uh, ahem! – you know, at your age you might ..uh well-uh you know what i mean, right? As we grow older certain things do not work-as well, you know what I mean? Right?
  • The bored and distracted cashier at the grocery store assumes im already-a demented, doddering, simpering, half blind , weak old nincompoop who cannot find or then carry his own  groceries and so says: here let me carry them to your car SWEETIE/HONEY/etc.  I decline as politely as they were when offering.
  • It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy being waited on.  No.  I decline because of  the packer’s behavior:  either s/he is, my  age or ojder and  looks like s/he is about to topple over just by himself — or because being young and strong, the packer has a look of blind+deaf+dumb indifference that says you cannot breach this wall in a thousand years oh boring old person.
  • There is no winning.  They want us whitecaps to lose their oomph.  Maybe when we are vital and aged ,it upsets some teenage universal order.  Who knows?  It does not matter.  When I declinebecausee of these reasons,  these slobber-mpommies inevitably come back with;     are  you sure DARLINGs
  • I get the same bs from some nurses, waitresses, bank tellers, Wendy’s order takers, secretaries vendors eyc ad nauseam.
They mean well but they dont know!
Sure the body chsnges over the years.  Just ask my pants. But so does the wisdom  of been-there,  done-that. Its simple and I demonstrated it this.   morning with our 1’ foot of snow. You just work fast so that your body is  done before your slow, turtle like brain knows it has hapoened.  Take a peek:
 And the next little floozie who calls me HONEY/SWEETHEART/DARLIN’ etc better watch out.  My slow brain might think she’s asking for a quickie — I might take her up on it, and she won’t ever again think we HONEY+SWEETIE+DARLIN’S  are slow, plodding slug like creatures incapable of our own little interpersonal explosions. She wont know what hit her ( neither will I but it will be fast there isn’t much to be quick about any more..) Or I can just tell her off:  Cut out the talking down to me (can’t say condescending:  it is above the 4th grade reading level — our just peachy national reading level average – -the tweet level of comprehension) HONEYLAMB, its rude, pushy and presumptuous. Need to know how to spell presumptuous?  Finally I could just watch as she laughs herself to death after I take her up on the presumed flirt.
One way or the other, it would be fondly to be hoped that SWEETIE/HONEY/DARLIN’ won’t ever mean the same thing again.
At least thats my own sweetie fantasy.  Going back for my mid morning nap.
 Now what was my name again, sweetie?
)😜😇

Perspective

We live in (yet more) turbulent times.  The expected orders are being upended, the familiar dreams are being destroyed, the economic system on which most of us have relied seems headed for the junk pile, our leaders are people we would earlier not have chosen in a thousand years.  It seems that we are experiencing the re-valuation of all values.

So I was lazily drifting through blogs, books and emails when I stumbled across the following.  I’ve shown it to a few people and all agree: there is here some validation of the woe of our times.  See what you think:

“Oh grim calamity, where have my years all  gone?

Have I dreamed my life or is it real?

Whatever I held to be something, if it were there,

Was it really something?

And so I slept and knew nothing of it.

Now I am awake and now is strange

That which was before as familiar as my own hand.

The folk and the land in which I grew up

Are now foreign to me—as if that all were untrue.

My earlier playmates have grown slow and old.

The fields are abandoned, the forests all cut down.

Were the streams not flowing

Where they formerly flowed,

My pain would be truly great

I must believe.

I’m greeted coolly

By  those who knew me well.

Everywhere the world is bleak

The moment I recall many a magnificent day

Which has now slid away like a splash in the ocean

Then, forever:  oh woe is me.”

Ring any bells with you?  My sense was that, essentially, this sums up a lot of how I have felt recently.  And says it more eloquently than I could,, for sure.

But there is another aspect to this also:  perspective, in the sense that, first, my impressions are not just my own particular insanity, and, second, that we have been here before and are still around to talk about it.  It appears that we are like the timex watches of ads when I was young:  we take a lickin’ but keep on tickin’

And why, you might ask, do I come to that conclusion about this:

Simple.  It was written 800 years ago.

800 years ago by an itinerant German troubadour named Walther von der Vogelweide.  Walther spent a lot of his life walking  —. Yes on foot in all weather, day and night at a time when the world was lit only by fire — from one Prince’s court to another. HJe composed his poems and then sang them to his audiences for food, shelter and any other reward which his benefactor cared to bestow.

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He turns out to have been the for many greatest poet of the German Medieval era.  Apparently some people back then thought so too. His works survive in 32 manuscripts and one of them has a record of the melody to one of his Crusade Songs, the Palästinalied.

For me, today, his words go well beyond just having great historical importance.   Historical importance is a value in and of itself for me.  But this occasions both a sad reflection on persistent tragic folly of mankind and in a roundabout way, an encouragement in these turbulent times of ours.   It’s pretty obvious that here is an 800 year old ode to the tensions in the Holy Roman Empire during his time, and that they are to unlike some of mine at least, here 800 years later in another time of tensions and struggles. Our tragic folly is hardly different today:  fractured governance, fractured values consensus, seemingly endless warring, repeating some of the same actions that led in 1932 to The Third Reich, reversal of the reverence for nature implicit in our former embrace of ecology, etc, and so forth.  Different bottle, same sour wine.

The questions then must arise:  have we changed?  Has our notion of progress been an illusion?  If it has not, even in part, then could it be that we are not fundamentally here to make this world a better place?  DO we need some deeper reflection on the persistent tragic folly we create?.

On the other hand, this man lived  in circumstances physically enormously more dangerous and trying than mine.  He lived in  a world lit only by fire.  He walked or, if he was lucky, rode or was pulled by some animal in his travels. In the winter, he did not have to worry about his cars heater and defroster working.  No impermeable snowmobile suits with fitted gloves, boots, headgear and facemasks:  he wore heavier cloaks and possibly leather boots.   There weren’t even buttons to use on clothes.  No radio, no tv, no newspapers, no mail service…  He depended on handouts for his food, drink and shelter.  There was no social safety net of which we know (have to be careful here not go judge then by now’s standards however).  Lifespan was shorter.  Diseases which we have controlled then regularly cut down whole populations like scythes cutting tall grass. He even engaged in some rather pointed and possibly very dangerous political poetry/song writing which could easily have been seen as Walther biting the hand that fed him..   And yet:  he survived and  left this world works of beauty that have endured 800 years.

Therein lies the encouragement.  Do we not have so much for which to be grateful, even if it becomes the stage on which we act or our age’s tragic folly?  Should I then be consumed by concern?  Where are the gifts that are bestowed upon us in our time? If we can be open to it, even the cry of human woe grasping at our hearts across 8 centuries can be beautiful—-to my ears the beautiful music of Walther’s words.   Think of a poem or work of some sort where the words and the rhythm of the writing pleases you very much.  You will then have an idea of what this man’s literary power was 800 years ago..

Walther seems a lot closer to me now than he did 50 years ago and yet his distance has grown by 50 years. Increasingly my reading of history uncovers how we have been similar over the centuries, how our humanity has been the same, regardless of the physical and technological conditions of any particular time.  I have a growing sense that we are all in all ages in this together somehow.  Why not?  Einstein said time is a delusion.  My dear friend Bruce asserts that there is no future and no past, just the same day repeated over and over with different perceptions of the same thing=and all for the purpose of learning.  Walther’s cry of Owê, oh woe, oh alas, ach Weh gives that abstract thought shape and color.  At least for me.

Such mulitleveled beauty in one cry of existential sadness!  If we did not know that Walther said that 800 years ago, we could think someone said it today!  His reality and beauty is then ours too.

If truth is beauty, then our true reality is beauty, not turbulence. Turbulence just causes us to find new ways to create and celebrate beauty–to love. That’s! the reassurance of Walther’s Owê.

With this perspective, do we really have anything to fear but fear itself? O in the end Walther leaves me with this one compelling question:

Owê,what am I leaving behind of beauty?

 

 

 

 

 

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Beyond the Divide

The announcement by DJT that the US is leaving the Paris Accords takes this repugnant regime and the rest of the US from the frying pan and into the fire.

As usual, his facts are wrong.

As usual his conclusions are wrong.

As usual his party is wrong.

As usual, this is what Scott Peck called evil: being unwilling to exert energy unconditionally on behalf of other people.

He is living proof of the German adage that stupidity will never become extinct.  But what should one expect from a spoiled brat whose parents protected him from the consequences of his boyhood bullying, who evidently was totally immune to learning during his educational years and whose lawyers and aggressive behavior have protected him from knowing what an unmitigated disaster he has been all of his malignant live?

Is this just a political difference of opinion?  Absolutely not.  It represents greed,  ideology and oppositional thinking (being against things to be against things in the erroneous belief that opposition is somehow strong) blinding decision makers to reality.  It is in short, disastrous denial and terminal uniqueness.

Climate change is real and 194 nations on this ailing planet agree.  194.  So that leaves Generalissimo Trump and his Repugnikan cohorts gleefully thinking that they are the only soldiers in step in the army.

This destroys American leadership in the world of democracy.  This destroys American initiative, creativity, determination to dominate the world in the future of energy production.  And it won’t come from oil or coal.  Even some of the oil companies refuse to support DJT in this evil insanity.

This is the macro-economic equivalent of wanting to deprive millions of Americans of health care.  Think through all the twists, turns and jumps and jerks of any part of this bully’s behavior and you must wind up at only one conclusion:  this is just plan evil in power.  Its what in Faust the Devil called himself:  the spirit who constantly negates. This is what M Scott Peck called evil:  the unwillingness, perhaps even inability, to do anything for the benefit of anyone else without condition or thought of reward or recognition.  Perhaps it is so utterly blatant that many cannot see it, but it is there nonetheless.

So this has now finally placed us at that place where the divide, until now still at least theoretically bridgeable by civil dialogue, is too great to bridge.   Civil dialogue with the morally bankrupt, know nothing bullies in the Repugnikan Party and anyone who even remotely supports them, is a waste of our time from now on.  As the kids said in the 1950s, we are cruisin’ for a bruisin’.  Except that there is no mirth in this at all.  This will do for our economy what the Repugnikan version of health management will do for our health:  undermine it.

Time to take off the velvet gloves and hit back as hard as we can —  plus 10% just to be sure.  The line has been drawn.  We are indeed beyond the divide.

Titan-o-man, so grand: farewell our friend

I keep beating myself up with self-recriminations.  Why didn’t I read the signals clearly and get help for Titanoman earlier?

It began after we gave him a bit too little food with his morning Augmentin on Wednesday.  He walking into another space from his bowls and vomited.  He repeated vomiting until it was dry heaves in the vet’s office in the early afternoon. An exam, more blood drawn and a hypothesis:  his stomach was upset by the powerful anti-biotic.

But he needed to calm things down so that he could continue the Augmentin, the supplement which protects the liver, the prednisone and if he had any pain, the combo of Tramadol and Gabapentin.  He needed all that to keep the lymphoma at bay and keep his blood count normal.  He needed all that with this his third chemo protocol, the “rescue” chemotherapy, to give him maybe another two to six months, outside, to live.

And on Wednesday he refused to take any medications or eat any food after the regurgitation spasms.  He had been given a shot of Cerenia and it helped with nausea, but something else was going on: not eating and hobbling on the left rear leg.  The vet said take him home and let’s see if the Augmentin’s absence and the anti nausea med does the trick.

It didn’t.

By mid afternoon he was having troubles getting up and walking.  We were at wits’ end about what to do until we found that our former vet here in our new hometown offered home care!  Unbelievable.  Nobody offers home care any more as a routine part of a medical or vet medical practice.  But she does. And she did.

He verdict was:  probably his spine.  Lets give him Gabapentin by mouth, Prednisocw by mouth, more Cerenia and then morphine just to be sure.  And if he cannot or will not get up after the morphine wears off around 11 PM, then tomorrow we will have to end his agony and life:  euthanasia.

His morphine rest was restless.  He really did not sleep, he just vegetated and began panting in earnest.   OK, that could just be sensitivity to morphine. We will know after 11 PM what the score is.  (Come on buddy, you can do it, God, come on, don’t let this wonderful friend down, don’t make Nancy suffer what I suffered when you couldn’t help us save Kaiser from hermangiosarcoma that windy night out on our deck April 2 last year. Please, please, please…)

He stood by himself twice between 11 PM and 3 am today.  By 3 am he could not stand unless we hoisted him in the Help ‘Em Up Harness which Bruno had and which the vet and vet tech had helped us get onto him. Otherwise he was struggling with episodes of heavy paying and open mouth breathing while on his side in the hall, struggling to try to move himself, failing back into exhaustion and not getting up.


(Come on bud, you can do this!  You just need a little rest and you’ll rebound.  After all your blood tests just 5 days ago were all totally normal and your lymph nodes all right sized.  If you’d only just eat a little, just drink a little more water.  Should we try to get you to an Emergency Vet?  Don’t know if we can lift you into the back of the car.  But I think you want to be in the car, which is your safe haven and favorite place. Right?  How abou some sign of agreement? But if I get you into the car, am I doing this just so that I’ll feel better or is it really going to serve you?  I’m so rightly strung that I think I;ll bust.)

At 3 we realize that we need help, even if it is for a euthanasia. (Large, hard lump in my throat, nerves screaming, mind whirling, fatigue pushing me hard but not overtaking me). The Emergency Vet Hospital 15 minutes away says get him here. We haul and hoist him into the Outback “trunk” area on top of an old, soft deep comforter.  He smiles  the car is one of his homes.  He is safe.  By 4:30 we are there.

This loss is especially hard for Nancy: Titan was one of the greatest loves of her life. She and he were, are and always will be one. that is a once in a lifetime inimitable gift. Precisely that, however, insures that she will feel even more sharply the aching emptiness of the hole beside snd inside herself where he used to be, while the healing process of grief takes its course.

As for me, as I write I am quietly rehearsing my habitual though basec on his being nesrby: “come here bud, lets play tug the ball”. In that very instant Inrealize with a feeling of almost nauseating bottomless falling, that his physical being cannot do that any more.

Then I’m knocked down by the very big disaster for me, on older fellow who found his only effective cure for lifelong very severe ADHD in the companionship not just of dogs, but especially and powerfully with trained GSDs. The big knock down is realization.that for the first time in 17 years there is no GSD awaiting us at home when we return is daunting. It ties up my gut in fear.

Ut at least helping him with his dying we got right in the end. We are so very very glad that he died while in the hospital; we took him there because we could not handle his struggle by ourselves. And we wanted him and his body to be treated with the utmost care and dignity.

Things got so unbearably painful for him and us that night. We filled God’s inbox with prayers, petitions, even outright commands in less than civil language. With just an bour left for him, We achieved that at nearby Western Carolina Regional Animal and Emergency just in time.

We are so utterly grateful for the unconditional love he brought us — just as Bruno,Zora and Kaiser did. We are grateful to German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption of NC for having brought Titan and Kaiser to us. Our GSD companions have lined our lived for 18 years with safety, steadiness, solace and sweetly intelligent companionship.

Titan came to us on the 19th of April, 2013 via Connie from German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption, a group of some of the most loving and tough people I’ve ever known.  It takes a lot to have to face a dog whom some dead-souled human starved, intimidated, kicked in 3 ribs and knocked out a tooth while scarring his muzzle and psyche — all before dumping in the woods to die? Is that love exceeded anywhere?

That’s what happened to Titan and the context in which he had lived when I fist met him at GSRA’s Adoption Event in March, 2013 in Cary.

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We know who did it from what he feared when he came to us:  a slim person, wearing dark shoes or especially boots, jeans or especially cargo pants and a baseball cap,.  We think this person,  if such a lowlife can deserve the appellation of human implied in the word person, must have been a male:  titan was terrified of me, cowering, baring fangs, growling at first.  We think he was protected by a woman–he had no fear of any woman who is comfortable around him.  And in some way the back seat or utility area in the back ofd an SUV type vehicle was his safe haven:  even dying, one hour before his body gave out, you could see the realization and joy at being in the back of our Outback–regardless of going to his final vet visit.

He became noticeably more agitated at the vet hospital.  It was hard to draw blood because it was thickening inside his veins.  He began to breath with his mouth wide open, tongue hanging out, long, loose, pink in color but dry as a bone and oozing a sweet-rotten smelling green nd black gelatinous goo which had to be wiped from his lip:   dehydrated saliva.  He was alternately restless and almost senseless.

The vet was in a hurry to get his blood tested.  Maybe there was something that could still be done.

(My God, is he dying right before our eyes?  He isn’t even whimpering.  Don’t worry bud, we’ve got you covered, we won’t let you suffer :  dammitallanyway, the signs of all this were evident 5 hours ago at home, my God, my God, my God it was my need to keep him around and then to be his savior that made him suffer needlessly.)

I say that to Nancy.  She says remember we did not think we could lift him into the car. (Yeah, I forgot, it took us one hour to move him basically two car lengths with the Help ‘Em Up harness and then every ounce of strength we two oldsters could muster to heft him, feeling like a burlap potato sack filled with lead potatoes, into the rear.  Oh thank you God;, he looks so peaceful here.  He seems to be smiling, and the panting is far less severe.  He’s safe and we did it!)

The vet had sprinted with the blood to the testing area at about 5:15 am.  He’d given T an injection of painkiller to slow the stress on the heart and lungs.  Nancy was talking to him – T – and turned to do something at the counter in the exam room. I was sitting a bit away and behind where Nancy was standing.  The instant she turned away, he raised his head, looking for a split second up towards the corner ceiling in the room to his front and left.  He had not been able to raise his head or even react for hours now.  And now suddenly he sits up?

But that’s not even the  half of what I saw and cannot explain.

Just before Nancy had turned around, I had noticed that, lying there on his side, panting,  those deep, large brown eyes had begun to shine a glazedgolden brown .  Suddenly the great bear head raises up, just as if he were at home and had heard something outside that was not supposed to have been there:  high alert.  It was as if he’d seen something beyond that room.  But his alert was suddenly ecstatic.  We all know what our dog looks like when he is overjoyed to see someone he loves.  Those golden brown eyes the instant he showed his joy glowed molten gold.And then, the golden light just stopped and he slumped slowly, head first and neck curved, as he’d been doing when tired from exertion all night to his right.  My eyes went instantly to his abdomen:  the lifting and falling of life was gone.  He was dead.

I had seen something that we just do not get to see on this earth.  Please don’t ask me to prove it — you were not there, I was.  It overwhelmed me, I knew biblical awe in a flash, but my mind was kicking on my thoughts saying, tell her, tell her.  God I did not want to tell her that but I did.  She screamed for the vet — but more  for her loss, and he came running.  No heartbeat.  Just a very very handsome boy lying there, eyes open but with a gentle far away stare, those large black coal nugget eyes that always had had that polish and questioning look, were dull and blank..

I am editing this on October 23.  My oh my how that hole in my life still aches, how that empty hall still hangs dark with shadows of his suffering and last nights struggle.  I’d do anything to get him — and Kaiser, and bruno and Zora — back.  But I digress.

The blood tests showed that his kidneys had failed.  We were right in deciding not to do resuscitation.

So it would not have made one iota of difference whether we had gone there earlier or not.  He was on his way out all during those two days.  He was trying to tell us that by not eating.  He was trying to get, not to the hospital, but back into the car. At least just about his last experience was a 15  minute car ride.  He wanted to leave from his safe place.

Of course now we are enduing the wrenching and lurching agony of separation, parting with no debrief afterwards.  We are doing all the phases of grief.  But they say that the brain remains active for a period after the heart stops.  I am so utterly grateful that that night shift vet gave us 10 minutes with him and then promised dignified and caring treatment of his body.  Indeed when he came back, he sat down in front of T, told him how handsome he was, and  stroked his head, neck, legs and sides.  But in those 10 minutes, when I now believe his true eternal self had made those eyes glow and was still gently hanging on to this world, he heard, saw, felt and knew a love song enough to break the bonds of death itself.

The miracle was that we wound up doing it all just right.  Or more accurately: we were guided by him to take all the right actions at all the right times.

We are devoted to German Shepherds and after a pause to grieve and reorient ourselves, not only want to bring more into our lives.  We feel strongly that we must do that, that it is our lot in this life to provide a home and a good life for GSDs misunderstood as “aggressive”, rejected,  dumped, abandoned, beaten, starved and worst of all, ignored. We owe it to Bruno, Zora, Kaiser, Titan.  Having our hand out for them is our responsibility.

Thank God he chose Nancy for his earthly commitment.  Thank God that we had the honor and sublime joy of having been his companions for four years.  Thank God that we gave him in return the best life we could.  Thank you Titan for having given me just a quick glimpse of whatever it is that animates all life.  Thank God for Titan and German Shepherds.

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