A Boy and His Dog.

One month ago today, I lost Blackjack. It hurts as much today as it did then. Maybe more.

However, it was important to me to memorialize BJ and this day, so Tonka and I went for our first Blackjack-less walk, and had a little ceremony to honor our lost pal. Just the two of us, of course, and as always. So very much sadness. And no photos, unfortunately. It’s hard to walk one dog, spread the ashes of another, and take pictures simultaneously. So, like pretty much all of the events of the past month, all I’ll have are the mental images. Maybe that’s better. I don’t know. I’m going to always regret the lack of pictures I have of the three of us – but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

It occurs to me that things are cyclic; that is, it started with just me and BJ, then became all three of us, and now it’s just Tonka and I. Obviously, I’m sad – but Tonka is inconsolable. Yesterday, I went to run errands early, and I got Tonka a new dish and a nice bone; the bone he promptly buried. He’s burying everything. I’ll watch him get a big mouthful of his dinner, and bury it under the tree next to BJ’s stone marker. I’ve never seen him do this before, and I don’t know what to make of it. I’m doing the best I can with him – it’s just hard. Hard for him, hard for me. And, of course, he just stays under that tree. All the time.

Luckily, a few of my closest people have stepped up on our behalf. I guess when tragedy strikes, you find out who really cares and who doesn’t. Without the support of a few people in my orbit, I’d be more of a wreck than I am now. For example, Blackjack’s stone marker was a gift (probably the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received), and it’s really helped me, and in some sense, I think it’s helped Tonka. I was gifted some wind chimes, as a reminder of BJ’s love for chimes and the outdoors in general (he was fascinated with chimes – he’d watch the ones in the backyard all the time). I’ve had people regularly contacting me, checking on me, sending good and sweet vibes to me and Tonka – especially helpful after the whole post-death insult-to-injury debacle, which I still haven’t fully come to terms with. To all those people who’ve stepped up and allowed me – and Tonka – to lean on them during this horrible time, thanks. It means more to me than I can put into words. While I knew this day would come eventually, it caught us completely unprepared, and it’s been pretty touch-and-go. I just can’t over-emphasize how much this has shaken me. Of all the horrible things I’ve been through in my life, this is far and away the worst. No contest. And trust me, that’s saying something.

So now, my Blackjack-related tasks are nearly complete. The artist in the Netherlands who’s making the ring received the ashes, and it should ship to me in the next day or two. The items I need for his plaster paw-print will also be here in short order, and I think what I have planned for that is going to be very special, and more importantly, will last forever. After that, I don’t know. I’ve toyed with making a garden under their tree, but Tonka likes it just the way it is, and I don’t want to disrupt the one thing that seems to bring him comfort. At least he has something. Well, I mean, I have Tonka to comfort me, but because he doesn’t understand any of this, I don’t want to make him more despondent by being sad myself. I’ve always been better at caring for others than caring for myself, and I guess that includes sad little puppers.

Anyway, after our early walk, I decided I needed to get out for a bit, so I hopped on the BMW for what I intended to be a short ride in the woods. A short ride that ended up being around 43 miles by the time I was done. It was nice to get out in the woods – I haven’t really done anything like that in…awhile. Plus, the weather was perfect. Riding a big motorbike on very rugged trails is tiring, though, so after that, I logged a little hammock time. Then – well, stuff – and I decided to hop on the other motorbike and scream up and down the mountain as fast as I could. So, there’s that.

Also this weekend, I bought and planted a bunch of flowers. Lilies, sunflowers, an elephant ear, azaleas, and a few others. Plus, I got the big black bamboo I ordered – it’s gorgeous. With any luck, it’ll start offshooting soon (UPDATE: It already has), so I can transplant some into other pots, or even in the yard (the goal is to have an entire grove of the black, red and green bamboo I currently have). The last grove I planted (ahem) looked amazing the last time I saw it (again, ahem), and it doesn’t take much to get a nice little area. When I rode the Silver Comet last year, I stopped at a beautiful, lush bamboo forest that someone had planted and tended to, and it was amazing. Even though I don’t anticipate being here long enough to see something like that come to fruition, I can at least plan it out. You never know what’ll happen tomorrow. The lilies I planted should also be nice – I bought one plant that’s about to bloom, as well as many bulbs (which may or may not bloom this year).

The bulbs one of my friends gave me last year are coming out now, as well. And, of course, I love sunflowers, but it’s been a couple of years since I planted those. I have 3 different varieties, so I should have a lot of color. This year, I’m going to learn how to save the seeds for next year; sunflower seeds are pretty inexpensive, but I should have hundreds of seeds if my flowers do as good as they did last time.

So, there’s my exciting weekend. And that’s me being facetious, if you didn’t catch it. It was sad, lonely, depressing and all the other adjectives. But at least I (hopefully) honored Blackjack, just a little bit. It hadn’t occurred to me until just now, but since I carried some of his ashes this morning, I guess it was kinda the last walk the 3 of us would take together. Sigh. I sure do miss you, pup.