Blueprints, Birthdays and Beagles…

Hey all!

Been quite a while since I have posted. Yes, some elements of old blueprints have risen, but I think there may be an explanation for some of that that I didn’t realize until I had started this post. But let me assure you, for the most part, all is well, all is well…

There are certain birthdays that seem to draw feelings of dread and despair. It was my turn to back up to one of those.



As the day approached I wondered if I’d suddenly hunch over and start to drool, forget where I left my keys, or why I even needed them – clearly I was taking this way too far. None of that happened. Luckily, someone had suggested to me that 60 was the new 40. I’m good with that.

However, there was a little despair. And I guess a little dread. I titled this post “Blueprints, Birthdays and Beagles”. I used Beagles for alliteration. It’s actually about a beautiful golden retriever…

Little chuck

We received Charlie into our family in 2005 as a 6 week old pup. Just a doll. On my birthday, this year, just prior to his 11th birthday, our family gathered in our home as two wonderful young women administered to his final needs.

Charlie and Aubry

I share this with you for a few simple reasons.

To tell you of the power of family. While an inopportune time to say goodby to a family member, my oldest was in from Calgary with his lovely Jenae for my birthday. He had wanted to be home when it was time to say goodbye to Charlie. This was simply the best day.

In spite of consistent and insistent prayers for Charlie to just go to sleep on his own, I realized that this life is simply not meant to be without sorrow. Our ability to experience and understand joy is, I would suggest, proportional to our experience with sorrow. As we surrounded Charlie as he passed, and then the next evening as we sat on the patio, told stories and took turns returning his ashes to the earth in the little corner garden in our back yard, I realized how lucky I am to have been blessed with the family I am part of.

I share this to remind us all to find the sacred in even the most difficult of times – I was astounded as I not only heard the house become incredibly quiet as Charlie was passing, but I felt how still the home became. It was quite amazing.

I share this also to loop back to the Blueprint thing. I have found myself dipping back into some of the darkest of depressions I have had to fight my way out for a long time. But I learned something very important, I think – or at least for me. I felt a level of relief when my dear Jackie finally made me sit my butt on the couch and talk to her about what I was feeling and experiencing. It reconfirmed to me that concerns and fears and all things dark can expand in our heads to unmanageable proportion until they are expressed in words. Suddenly, they have form and limits and become nothing but fluff, for the most part.

I also learned that sometimes, environment can deeply effect our experience. Charlie has been suffering (far longer than I think we knew) with the tumour in his left sinus. The vet that came to assist him indicated that Golden’s simply don’t show their pain. I thought I would be completely devastated with his passing, but a strange thing happened. There had been a dinner planned at Maggiano’s in Detroit with the kids for my birthday, and we decided to go inspite of having just lost the pup. I had one of the best times ever at a family function. As I sat outside the next morning, honestly, the sky was bluer –  the air was, softer, somehow – everything seemed so much lighter. I’m not sure, but I think I was somehow embracing the unrealized suffering that was in my home.

If there’s a message, it’s this – protect your environment. Clean your “house” of not only the dust bunnies, but the demons and dragons. Cherish your family. Create meaningful moments.

And cherish your friends – even and especially the furry ones…

Thanks for listening.

Larry T

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