I’ve travelled several paths already this year and it is only just the end of April.
The paths are sometimes real and sometimes metaphorical and yet they are all a means of sauntering along on my journey.
We sauntered our asses over to Hawaii’s Big Island again a couple of weeks ago for a fabulous little journey in the warm sunshine.
The sky was bright blue, the ocean was navy, the clouds were fluffy, and the golf courses were awesome!
Our hotel room was a bit fancy but we didn’t complain.
We somehow landed this one-bedroom, ocean-view, corner suite on “cyber Monday”… a day that is uniquely American and geared to online consumers.
Generally, we aren’t much for that type of thing but the rates last fall for the Hilton Waikoloa were 50% off! And then we found a conference for Alistair at a resort ‘down the road’…. I mean, we HAD to book, right?
I loved exploring the resort and the area around me when Alistair was off at the Hapuna Prince for his morning conferences.
Its amazing to think that one week ago we were waking up all excited to play golf at a non-resort, more local golf course over by Kailua-Kona called Makalei.
Its amazing because here I am today, back in Montana, on a dramatically different farm than the one we left.
For starters, the weather is a bit different this morning.
It wasn’t all that cold before we left for Hawaii. Our local golf course had re-opened and we had played a couple of times.
Little Loki is missing her Mummy a lot and was a bit unsettled yesterday.
That could also do with the main reason our farm is so different now- Casey finally succumbed to his laryngeal paralysis while we were gone.
Jumpy, eager, goofy, happy, silly, clumsy, fun-loving Casey.
The dog who was always there is gone and the hole left behind is tremendous.
We had all hiked together before we left and Casey’s breathing had been labored so we did a much-modified, shortened hike. I had explained to Whitney that his disease was a matter of ‘when’… not ‘if’ and that we had already surpassed expectations by over a year.
Alistair and Whitney were adamant that we keep things as they were- that I wasn’t to step in and end things before we left.
Before he had a few more bumps with UB.
Or cuddles with Cleo.
Or sniffs with Loki.
And I was and I am completely fine with that.
Because each day really is a gift and nobody knew that better than Casey.
The physical embodiments of the words, “Oh, BOY!” lived each minute as the BEST one ever, regardless of what came his way.
As a puppy he never looked back when his former humans shattered his rear limbs with some blunt object. He became a ward of my vet school and joined our family for the rest of his own journey.
He took every opportunity to cuddle and enjoy each companion he could, human or otherwise and there was always such joy in his eyes.
His clumsiness seems more endearing to me now as I look through my rear-view mirror back down the paths we traveled.
At the time, though, I’m sure a few naughty words flew when he would slam into me.
Or when he knocked Alistair over post-knee surgery into a puddle on the driveway. I can only imagine what was being said as Alistair struggled to get his crutches while Casey was leaping all over and on top of him.
Casey lived and loved at full throttle.
If you were in his way (as my brother’s boys discovered) you would be slammed into and then licked and loved as you laid on the ground.
His wiggly ass and wagging tail knocked Cleo into the hot tub one time.
That was the BEST dunking of Cleo!
Something changed for Casey when we unexpectedly lost Harry in January.
He was still eager, keen, bright and goofy but he didn’t go for his kibble with the same gusto… and his runs through the pastures seemed more like he was looking for someone.
I believe he has found Harry again and the 2 of them are on a different journey of their own now.
We laid our big boys to rest with pink roses along with Cousteau, Mae Mae, Oscar, Cadbury, Marmalade and Mulder on a cloudy morning with patches of blue peeking through and a breeze strong enough to keep me from keeping my Memorial candle lit.
And I miss Casey like I never thought possible and Cleo has moved primarily inside and she’s eager to cuddle and take over the bed and all of the animals are sorting this out and I still look for Mulder and long to hear Harry’s “Woo Woo’s” and I think I hear the guinea pigs whistling at me and I’m crying again but trying to be that strong, independent woman I think I am when clearly I’m not and our hikes out back are SO different now because although its the same path I have hiked for years, its a completely different journey.
And we will all be okay.
Little things make me smile or laugh- like seeing my golf club head covers at the Mauna Lani resort 2 days after Casey had laid down in the grass with Whitney and Cleo on a sunny afternoon for the last time.
The fact we were an ocean away maybe even helped because of the Aloha surrounding us.
We played golf and raised our glasses to one of the BEST dogs ever to join our rag-tag band of merry misfits.
And I continue on my journey and I’m hoping that’s enough loss for awhile and that I can retain some of that Aloha ’cause it really is something special.
And I am okay with the hurt because it means the love was real.
And I still think I am the luckiest girl in the world to have known some amazing spirits.
Mahalo, Casey. That was the BEST of times! xo