In Memoriam: Charlie, 12/07/2002 – 8/13/2015

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Charlie is gone. He passed away at home on August 13. There is a big hole in the world, and we are heartbroken. While we held him and gently stroked him and looked into his eyes, there was one last “I love you” tail thump and then he was gone. The rest of the day we couldn’t stop crying. That evening, after a long drought spell here in the mountains, it rained. Heaven’s own tears mixed with our own, and I couldn’t help thinking it was Charlie’s doing, sending us the rain.

And now I have the afterthoughts, and his legacy; and this is what I think, and this is what I know.

Human beings have a complex, overstuffed, and often befuddled cortical processor that produces alienation from the pure, simple truth and tends to get caught in stagnant backwaters on the river of life, slowly revolving in circles of social and existential angst, often seeking peace in desperate prayers in one form or another. They find themselves asking question like Jackson Browne asks in the song “Looking East”:

“How long have I left my mind to the powers that be?
How long will it take to find the higher power moving in me?”

Soske Mic 00Charlie running in yard from 8Charlie never asked such questions. He just moved with the higher power in him that is in us all. He lived in the moment. Love is something most human beings think they know, and don’t. Charlie didn’t bother to think about it, he just lived it. The power of love was what he was. He lived with love and beheld love in all the people and places and things he met. He simply loved the higher power present in every moment, the power in all the things he encountered while he was here. Among them are the things Jackson Browne wrote of, and I can see Charlie with us in the times and places when the three of us, together, met them all:

“…the power in the insect, the power in the sea;
the power in the snow falling silently;
the power in the blossom, the power in the stone;
the power in the song being sung alone;
the power in the wheat field, the power in the rain,
the power in the sunlight and the hurricane;
the power in the silence, the power in the flame;
the power in the sound of the lover’s name.
The power of the sunrise, 
and the power of a prayer released.”

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Yes, people pray. And the prayer well and truly released always returns the answer. Charlie knew that answer. Everything in us, every thing around us which sings in the heart and is beautiful and interesting – that’s the answer to every prayer. People rarely realize that, don’t hear it, don’t see it, aren’t touched by it. They’re too busy waiting for their own answer.

 
 
Charlie never said a prayer in his life. He knew the answer. He was the answer. This great, challenging, tricky, wonderful, interesting, joyful, heart-filling world is the answer.

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When Lenore and I speak of “our life together,” it includes all the great souls we have encountered and lived with since we met. Charlie is one of those great souls and will always live in and with us.

It’s both humbling and affirming to know that we were all brought together because we belonged together. I am particularly humbled by that knowing; that somehow, for reasons beyond my own understanding, I have been granted the inexpressible grace of the presence of such great souls in my life.

Charlie puppy peering over gate

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6 Responses to In Memoriam: Charlie, 12/07/2002 – 8/13/2015

  1. Louis W. says:

    I am very sorry to hear of Charlie’s passing. I hate it when that happens. And it happens too frequently due to the difference in lifespans between us and our companion creatures.

    As you know, Darcy is about three and half years old now. By the time she reaches Charlie’s age, I will be pushing 80. She is the first dog I have had that I believe could outlive me. I’ll probably hate it if that happens, too.

    Anyway, Charlie enriched your life – and you can thank him for the rest of it. He will know.

    • bobgriffith says:

      Thank you, Louis. Charlie will always be with us. The heart holds more than memories. It holds the spirit, too. Yes, love shared enriches every life, adds to it, changes it for the better and changes it forever. Thank you for your kind thoughts and the good energy you directed to us all.

  2. Amy Putkonen says:

    I am sorry about the loss of your dear friend. What a wonderful tribute to Charlie. Dogs are really very special creatures. They demonstrate love in a way that we have a hard time with and I am sure that he will be dearly missed. Take care, Bob. {{hug}}

    • bobgriffith says:

      Thank you Amy for your kind thoughts and the big hug. Charlie was such a great hug, and I miss those. There were many times when we’d meet somewhere in the house, or I’d walk past him in the kitchen where he was being Lenore’s devoted, attentive, handsome kitchen helper and I’d stop and wrap my arms around his big old chest and give him a hug just because he was who he was. Consider this a hug from all three of us to you for being who you are, Amy… {{hug}} {{{{{big Labrador tail thumps}}}}}

  3. Dr. Mom says:

    A great tribute to an obviously great soul. Love the connection.

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