Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Missing Max

Time stretches and morphs into strange shapes and loops, following no schedules, disagreeing with clocks and calendars. Sometimes it feels like Max was here just yesterday. His absence is overwhelming.

I look out the window and expect to see him lying in his spot amongst the clustered spindly trunks of new poplar trees, or flattening the weeds beneath the bathroom window, snoring softly as a brown, round rabbit hops by within three feet of his slumbering form, both seemingly unaware of the others' existence.

His wheelchair sits in the corner of our entryway, leaned back on its metal frame. Silvery arms reach up, waiting. A hug just hanging. My arms feel extra-empty looking at it. Hairs of white, caramel and bronze are still entwined and sewn into the black fabric of his harness. The wheels gather dust.

Max inhabits my heart, he has a chunk of it all to himself. He was my dog for three years. I wish sometimes I had known him longer, watched him navigate his way through the world from a tiny, tumbling puppy, but then he would have been a different dog, shaped by different circumstances. By the time I met him his back was crooked, his feet dragging, his eyes starting to cloud, his spirit sent soaring with the moments others took for granted.

There was just enough mystery surrounding his existence that made him seem larger than one life could contain. The stoic, wise old Max I knew was a connection to a deeper wisdom thrumming along just below the surface of this world.

It was his spirit that inspired me and yet all I want sometimes is to reach out and run my fingers through the thick coarse fur of his neck, smooth my hand over the silky hair on top of his head, touch his downy soft ears. I want to see his face again, look into his brown clouded eyes and feel that peace he and I shared in the quiet moments, the one that was powerful enough to make life itself make sense, if only for a little while.

I look for him in the trees sometimes, hoping to feel his presence, hoping that he is still somehow walking beside me. I think part of me actually believes I will find him one day trotting towards me with his laughing eyes, his big front feet leaving solid tracks in the mud. Maybe I look too hard because all I see flashing through the green of the forest is the fiery fuchsia and bright salmon pink of the flowers we planted over his grave.

There are days when my soul aches as though a piece of it is missing. A Max-shaped hole. And I wonder if he knows how big his life was, how far reaching his spirit.


  1. It is too early to tell if I am awake, the house is pitch black and the screen of this computer is glaring and harsh.

    Part of me drifts away to memories of Max, as if he was an old dear friend, in truth I am saddened deeply by your loss.

    I would love to have had the connection you had with that grand old man, but the truth is I never took the time to establish it.

    Even now as I write I feel as if part of me is relieved that I don't have to watch his declining body drag him down towards the bitter end, but another part of me wishes, perhaps just for your sake that he was here again.

    I know and it yes it bothers me that I probably will never be as close to your heart as Max was. He truly had a magical way with you that cannot be put into words, there was a tangible connection that was so deep and vibrant that it exsisted in the room sometimes as a third person.

    Cont..next post

  2. I believe I could have been a better man, and a better friend to Max most of the time, and yes I must also admit that even though I was the one who introduced you to dogs, that if I can take so much liberty, that I was the one who got you hooked on dogs...I have not loved a dog the way you have for a very long time.

    No I have not loved a dog so completely since my first sweet Becky, a doberman who was my best friend and protector, that zigged and zagged with me as if we one person. We laughed and cried together each and every moment of every day. As if our time together was one perfect day at an amusement park, where the rides were free, we never got sick no matter how much we spun around, and best of all we had the whole place to ourselves, with all the food we could eat that never made us too full, but rather just right with each bite.

    Saddley as you know I lost my grip on those perfect days way too soon when she was hit by a car and died in my arms on the side of the road on a cold winters night..Struck as she came back to me when I called her..

    Just now I realize almost 25 years later, I was never the same from that moment I lost her, and just as Max is gone I get how you always walk around missing your very best friend...

    I get it my love and what is maddening is that I can do nothing to ease the pain, and lesser still to protect you from further stories unfolding.

    I think now that as time has passed and I have become more "important" in the world, busy impressing myself with how much I can achieve, how much money (not that much!) I can make, or the complexities of other peoples care, welfare, safety and security that consume my waking moments. (at least I pretend that my social work job is that important)I have lost the focus of our life together.

    Indeed just now as I write, I see your connection so much more clearly as I compare it to my connection with my "Beckerdoonie", and just now I have decided that if we have kids, I am going to name one Beckerdoonie, called it, stamped it, no ereasies :)

    Just now you are 1000 miles away watching and waiting for a new life to enter the world, I know in was formerly my writers heart that you wish Max was with you to bring the peace and joy of "just being" with him to fill the room with his calmness, and to find that spot within you that resonated with that so fully.

    I wish someday that I could emlulate that, that you could look into my eyes and feel the same peace and love, to feel the same safe haven that Max could create in the craziest of days...to be even a tenth of the shelter that Max was for you, I can do that sure, but to do it without ever uttering a word, well sometimes you just know when age, life experience, and heaps of mystery have got you beat.

    I just know that this time Indiana Jones, or perhaps this time Indiana Max; the man of travel, adventure and mystery has swooped down, and although I find myself to quite a catch, sometimes you just know when a leading man has swooped down and stolen the leading lady right before your eyes...

    And for a lack of writers decor in this note, somewhere inside you a voice tells you ..."son you lose, you just can't compete with that!"

    So perhaps over the last three years with so much dog stuff in my life, and oddly so much jealousy about their occupation of your attention and your heart...

    I found myself just now missing Max, and watching my poor Bear age and grey each day. Without going too far off topic, in the same way I wish I could stop time and just hold it as it was, if only to spare you from its greater plans...

    I had better stop trying to compete with the dogs for your attention, and for your love at times, but rather enjoy the journey with you and enjoy the dogs too.

    Cont...next post

  3. I am glad that you are a 1000 miles away for just now.. to watch a new life enter this world with Max by your side,if only for just a minute, as it gives me the opportunity to get to know the dogs in a way that I wish I had gotten to know Max...and it give me an opportunity to greet that new life with the best of me right by your side, I will be there with you, your easy to find I will just follow Max's footprints and wheel tracks on the road.

    An on a much much less corny/dramatic/over writen note :)

    Lord knows that if I started a blog named twodogsandjobandwhataboutuscats!dammit....it would suck... especially if I had two assistant editors with waging tails and freedom to enter their comments in the comment bar just as I am doing now, and two cats that had the last say...That would be my temple of doom!

    Flame on Bear and Murds...quit starting at me Chestnut and CLeo,for tomorrow I shall make yet another flailing attemt to fill just one of Heathers shoes, I don't have enough energy in one day to try and fill both shoes..

    I will however be very much minus the slobbery sock...eeewe I say

    Dang girl you wore that sock?

    And still on I write...whooooo I am on fire

    Yeah you are on your own on that one, I am not sure that Bear would wear a sock that you might so eloquently slobber on, but I know for sure Murds would say "OK OK...you wear it for 3 stick throws, then I will wear it for 3 stick throws, and then you for 3 etc"

    Deep in our hearts we would secretly know...we ain't gonna see that sock for at least 5 for six throws, and not without some strong voices, and whole lot of "but you promised!"

    All my love

    We miss you

    Roll on Max where ever you are!


  4. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful dog and what a beautiful post. It made me cry. I just found your blog (after you found mine!), and I know from the little I've had time to read that we are kindred spirits on at least one level. As many beloved dogs as there are in the world, I have never really encountered a dog-human relationship that was anything like what I had with Jessie. But I can tell, you had that with Max.

    How lucky the two of us are, to have had (and I believe, still have!) what we had with those sweet souls. It's amazing, I took one look at Max, in that Zen post, and could instantly "feel" him. He looks so wise and patient and understanding. His eyes speak of his life experiences. I'm so glad you found my blog and that I got the chance to see this. And Thunder Bay! Jessie and I have been to Thunder Bay. So Max lived outside before you rescued him.... in THUNDER BAY?? holy cow...

    I don't have time to read more now, have to go to work - but I'm going to follow this blog and read more as I get the opportunity. Nice to "meet" you Heather, and hugs to your other furry family members! :)