Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baxter’s Gift

 This is one of the shots Dan got when we went to shoot the sunrise last week.   

The day after Baxter died, Wednesday, there was a pinprick feeling piercing the agony of loosing him. It was barely perceptible—just a wisp of a thought—but I did notice it. A glimmer of hope. 
During the night I woke at 2:30 feeling scared and alone without him. Heart racing, jaw-clenching, stomach churning. I can see him behind my closed eyes; feel him near me. I call out to him in fear, and he answers by giving me peaceful sleep.

Thursday morning dawns beautiful and hollow. I miss my boy terribly. My head aches as bad as my heart. At my husband’s suggestion, I lay on the couch all day and cry. Sleep. Watch the Oprah Network. 
The sun brings Friday morning and more thoughts of Baxter. But that pinprick feeling has slowly rolled over the agony, and created a sea change. This morning I feel a little more grown-up. I feel calm. Sure. I feel hopeful about the future. I know that I am a good writer and I know I will earn a good living by it. Adversity brings Dan and I closer. His work is picking up,he has a new website and we have Lucy. Everything is going to be okay.

I sneak out of bed to write. As I walk to the living room, I feel Baxter happily trotting beside me, and know he will always be by my side.
I remember his final hours, before the vet opened. As I laid down with him, his head on my chest and the pain evident in his eyes, I surrendered. I thought, “God, I don’t know what you have in store for this dog. If you take him from me, it’s your will. Today, I will wait to see what happens.”
We go to interview a chef and I find myself surrendering even more. Even though everything was prearranged a month ago, there is no food. Without a tasting and photos, there is no article. 
I write him an email. Explain my situation. I hear nothing. I let go. I figure it’ll work out.

There is an email from one of the of the island’s top chefs. He wants us to cover his sushi restaurant. The other chef calls, apologizes, and we reschedule.

Moments of happiness intertwine with sorrow. Lucy always makes me laugh. Since we took this risk, my life has been rewarded a thousand-fold. The relationship with my folks is better than ever. We talk more, we accept each other more, we miss one another. My mom and I are like old friends, but she still takes care of me. She looks out for me like great moms do.
In Colorado, I wouldn’t have been able to put my life on hold for a week to be with Baxter. Dan and I know we can weather any storm. Baxter’s passing seems to have softened our edges. We are kinder to each other, softer with our words. Not wanting to take each other for granted. 

Taking off the gold-plated handcuffs of the corporate American Dream has been worth it. Even though we make 90 times less money, we are 100 times richer. We have the room to let life in. 
I get to pursue my dream, not someone else's. The hard work is for me, not the President of Cuts and Dissolves. If I want to take a week to comfort my dying friend, I can. Hours dissolve as I pour passion into my work, because it is truly my work. 
Dan and I bet on ourselves, we thought the odds were pretty good.

Dan shot a Mixed Martial Arts competition last Saturday.

Baxter, I’ll see you in my dreams buddy.