Dead is Dead

Death - Dead is Dead - A Wasted Life

Hope is a luxury only afforded to those at ease. Roger had given up ease and hope months ago.

Pancreas. A death sentence sooner rather than later. There would be no appeals. Three months in and he decided to give up treatment. “Dead is dead” his father would say when someone passed. No mourning. Dead is dead.

The temporal nature of life hadn’t ever entered Roger’s mind. He was 48. Young. He would make something of himself. He had plenty of time.

They were the same lies he told himself all his life – he would be someone. Failed venture after failed venture did not dissuade him from his fantasy. He knew it would happen for him “soon, just around the corner….” The books all promised it. “Just believe,” they would say.

Now he realized for the first time he was done. Dead is dead.

His children were grown, out on their own. Occasional cards but no genuine contact. His wife left him a dozen years ago. “I can’t do this any more,” she said. He didn’t even have her address now.

He was alone. Dying alone. Still a nobody, also-ran in life. Dead is dead.

Positive thinking, motivational posters all meaningless now. He would never be anything. He had wasted his life pursuing greatness and had, in the end, become nothing. There were no family, no friends, just a tiny life. One of 7 billion.

His children would come to the funeral, of course, it was an obligation. But that’s it. He had squandered his life selfishly chasing his ego dreams and had ignored the truly important.

We reap what we sow, he said to himself.

Dead is dead.


Saying Goodbye

Benz in the Truck Mirror

This is just an update for anyone who’s playing along at home.

Last week was tough.

All day Sunday and into Sunday night, Benz was sick. Waco cuddled with him on the bed and made him as comfortable as possible. Neither slept all night.

Monday morning he had a seizure. She took him to the vet’s and they were unable to do anything for him. He died a little before 9am.

Waco came home, empty collar and his toy in hand, and cried. We knew this day was coming, and that it might come soon, but her pain was intense. She called and asked me to come down that afternoon.

She had a doctor’s appointment of her own in the afternoon, so when I arrived the house was empty.  I walked in to the living room and found Benz’ collar and his booboo laid out neatly on the ottoman. That’s when I cried.

Monday evening was difficult, as expected. Tuesday was as well. She didn’t want to come home to the reminders in every corner, so we went out. We came home and continued our drinking. We talked. Cried a bit.

Over the weekend we stayed busy. Caught up on some chores. Waco did some crafting. Went to a Superbowl party. I came home Tuesday morning.

Last night was Waco’s first night coming home to an empty house. No sound of Benz’ collar jingling, no greeting her at the door. She likes to process alone so I didn’t talk to her about it. I’m sure she cried, but I’m sure she did fine.





Benz the Wonder Dog

Benz is back from two stays at the doggie hospital. He’s Waco‘s long-term companion and my friend, romantic adversary and writing partner.

He had two bouts of serious illness over the last couple months. It was touch and go. After the first I intended to publish this update, but he was soon ailing again and had to go back.

Now he’s rolling around on the bed, climbing the stairs as well as his tiny body can and sleeping in my overnight bag.

Yorkshire Terrier Benz sleeping in my overnight bag

I guess he missed me too.


Missing Her

She hated pictures of Herself. She had learned to accept He wanted them and took far too many.

They had been having a wonderful time together. He had been spending more time at Her’s than His for the last couple months. But it was time for them to miss each other.

They had said a wonderful good-bye, both travelling for the holidays. They were looking forward to missing each other.

This morning He opened up the “Waco” folder on his computer and paced through pics of Her.  Her eyes. Her smile. Her kids. Benz. That pic She made for him on a dare. Her with friends. Ugly Christmas sweaters. Joe Bonamassa. Kayaks. Texas A&M. Troy. Renewed deck furniture. Rain.

Over a year of memories now.

Missing Her this morning felt good. Anticipation. Looking forward to a special event you know can’t come fast enough, but in the anticipation is joy.

He was happy. For Her. For Them. For the pictures.




My Writing Partner

Waco's Dog Benz

Benz is sick.

Benz is Waco‘s dog. Over the last year I’ve grown to know him, love him. That’s him in the pic above.

We had our struggles. He didn’t like me giving attention to Waco. In his mind, she belonged to him. We negotiated a settlement: He (and Troy Aikman) get her when I’m in Knoxville and we “share” her when I’m in Chattanooga.

We learned to respect one another as worthy adversaries. Plus I give him treats, so there’s that.

On days I work in Chattanooga, Benz accompanies me to the deck. On chillier days he’ll lay in the sun, clad in his sweater.

Benz on the Deck in his Sweater

Warmer days. he’s content to sit by me on the love seat.

Benz got sick this last week. He’s 13 years old and getting sick at his advanced age can be tough. He’s at the vet’s as I write this. It started out looking bleak, but it looks like he’ll pull through again.

That dog is made of iron.

I lost my dog several years ago and between a divorce, moving, business hadn’t gotten a new one yet. Benz fills a void in my life.

Waco loves Benz. Since her divorce and with her kids on their own, he has been her roommate, friend, confident and co-conspirator. They snuggle in bed and watch Dateline and Game of Thrones together.

Waco has children and friends, and Benz is much a part of her family.

I hate to think about Benz leaving us. It will be incredibly hard on her and her children and even on me.

Fortunately, this time, it looks like he will beat death once again.

I’m not a praying man, but if you are, you might want to shoot up a little petition. Benz and Waco would appreciate it.




Suess House Deck

He arrived at Suess House at 6:20pm, knowing She would be out until 8 or so.

As He walked up the stairs to the door, He felt a calm. It felt like home. He topped the stairs, assessed the living room. Yes, there were certainly remnants of the previous weekend’s company. She had been busy every night this week.

He wandered through the kitchen. “A quick smoke, then I’ll pick up” He said to himself. He popped a Marlboro from the pack on the kitchen table and wandered out onto the sunset deck.

He noticed the quiet. It was deafening. He was rarely alone at Suess unless He was writing. Distracted. Here, alone in the evening, it seemed empty. It was feeling less like home.

He put out the smoke and went back in, straightening up. Putting away the clean dishes. Moving dirty from sink to dishwasher. Wiping down the counters. Moving to the living room. Placing the pillows properly. Putting away the afghans. Moving up to make Her – Their – bed.

When He finished He plopped on the couch and surveyed. Suess is “homey” – She decorates beautifully. She has a certain style permeating the pores of the odd house. She had offered to help Him with his ramshackle, but so far He had declined.

Despite beautiful appointments, the warmth He normally felt there was absent. It didn’t feel “home” any more. It puzzled Him.

That’s when the obvious Hit him: “Home” for Him wasn’t a place. Furnishings. Art. Firepit. Those were nice. They made home “better” but they weren’t home and never would be for Him. Home was the people He loved. Her, His sons, His parents, His sister.

Suess felt like “home” because She was there. Her smile. Her joy. Her laughter. Her wit.

It felt like home again when she drove in at 8:07.