Sunday, May 2, 2010

Partners


Woman and her dog on the grounds of the Capitol.

I know it's early; the anniversary of Jake's death isn't until June 30th. Still, I am already reminiscing. The truth is, I miss my dog terribly, but I'm simultaneously grateful for the time I've had alone this past almost-year. Honestly, I am.

That dog was my everything, he really was. He was my roommate, partner, best friend, spiritual community. By the time he died, I depended on him for all emotional needs, I looked to him to fill in all the blank spots in my heart. My god I was in a loop with that dog.

It didn't start that way. I had a partner when Jake came into my life, someone I lived with. I had a big spiritual community in San Francisco, and I also had a couple of great best friends.

One by one, during the thirteen years Jake and I spent together, all of the above fell away. I moved to Washington DC, split up with my partner, left my spiritual community. I'm not sure whether it was Jake stepping up to the plate or whether it was me turning to him every time I suffered another loss. No matter what happened, there he was, ready for a walk or a scratch behind the ears. He was my rock of Gibraltar. He was always there, always.

Which explains why his death was So Tremendously Huge. Still is, in fact.



For the past year, I've lived the life of a solitary in every way possible: unpartnered in love and work, no specific spiritual community, alone in my space. There is no one with whom I've shared an every-day intimacy, no one I check in with on a daily basis. I've had no personal or professional touchstone.

Is this sounding pathetic? I don't feel pathetic, not at all. Another truth is that during the past year, without Jake, I have reached out, connected with others of my own species in ways I haven't for years. Yes I have missed Jake and yes I have felt the loss so acutely. Ouch! But in fact I haven't been any lonelier without him than I was during Jake's final year. And I have had absolutely no interest in getting another dog. None. Zero.

An astrologer told me, once upon a time, that only through partnership would I express my soul's purpose. Hmmmm ... is that right? Did I express my soul's purpose with Jake? And is that all over now so it's OK to be so singularly single? I wonder. I really do.

21 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

Is it OK to sneak in a terribly personal post on Sundays when not as many folks are out and about in blogville?

Yada yada yada.

John Hayes said...

It's ok--there's a way in which life is defined by loss, too. I've dealt with that a good deal in the past couple of years--all the poems I wrote from 2008 thru the beginning of this year were about that. Of course, in any kind of partnership, there's always some loss. My thoughts are with you as you continue to come to terms with yours.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, John!

steven said...

reya - in-between scrubbing toilets, blogwork, and cooking some potatoes in butter i've been watching two frogs. one large the other small. the large one moves one step at a time closer to the little one. eventually she ('cause i'm gonna guess the little one's a she) jumps back in the water. finally, after several visits the big guy works very very close to her and she seems resigned or perhaps she figures he's actually serious and so why not, and just as he puts one webbed foot on her back, along comes a blackbird and the two frogs dive in different directions into the water. (i could hear the "oh damn!" from up here in the kitchen!) relationships are like that. you get enmeshed, immersed and a blackbird comes along and you're left with all the what-ifs, the whys, the what did i learn from thats. the biggest learning though is the who am i? it's the big window, so look out it. what do you see? i bet the view's amazing! steven

ellen abbott said...

I think we live in cycles. I'm mostly a loner, though I do have a partner. Never been much for large groups or socializing, not a joiner. But for about four or five years, I tried to get out there, made efforts to be with people but I have found myself slipping back into my old ways the last year or so. Is that good or bad? I don't know.

You know, a year is not that long to mourn the death of a companion of 13 years. And much as you loved Jake, I don't think you expressed your soul's purpose within his companionship. You are doing that every day Reya.

Linda Sue said...

Interesting isn't it...same deal raising my son- for 20 years utterly my world! Poof just like that he is gone- into his own life- gone - a visit now and then but will never be the same- my life- pretty much over- what else is there...BUT , the black bird out Stevens's kitchen window did not eat the little frog- she jumped back into the water! so, I guess there may be something else for her to do during this time on earth.Just like you- just like me- I think that I have Dexter in perspective - He is less of a champion than Jake- more of a baby to take care of...but when he dies I might just have to take at least a year off- and be still.
You offer so much to so many just being you, Reya- perhaps that is the reason Jake had to leave- More entities needed you...Blogland is actually grateful for having you and your humor, questions and wisdom.

GenovevaPer32669 said...

Well done!........................................

The Bug said...

Well, as you know from my blog, grief is a random thing - grabbing hold at no particular moment & then letting go again for a while. You can't really say for sure when the season of grief is over.

I don't really think of you as solitary (of course I'm not there living your days) - but it feels like you're so connected. Is it because I'm an introvert that I think cyber-connection can be just as powerful as in real life?

Bee said...

I can't believe it's already been a year, Reya. In a funny way, Jake was a part of ALL of our lives.

You strike me as such a loving, interesting and interested person. I have no doubt that there are several more significant relationships coming your way.

Ronda Laveen said...

I love personal posts. They're, well, so personal. I adore sharing my energy and space with my dogs and hubby, I really do.

But, like in meditation, there is much to learn about the big and little self from solitude and silence. The value is often underated.

That being said, animals are some of the best teachers I've ever had and I've had some good ones.

Paul C said...

'OK to be so singularly single?' It may depend upon your vital needs at the time. Then something may come along one day to totally upset the singularity cart. Paradigm shifts could open new possibilities.

Reya Mellicker said...

I am blown away by every one of you. Wow. Thanks.

And much love.

Steven the view is totally awesome through every window, including (of course) the window into all of you.

Thank you.

Tom said...

they truly do get into your soul, don't they...i never would have believed it before this last year...and from what i've read the other household dogs benefit from your experience(s), so life goes on...happy new week.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, life goes on. Carpe diem.

xx and thanks, Tom.

Kerry said...

A person's partnership with their dog inhabits a really special place in that person's spiritual life, I think. And when the dog dies, that special place doesn't disappear. He will always be that sounding board there for you when you most needed him. I doubt that your soul's purpose was fulfilled when his life ended. In fact you ask so many questions that Jake's death seems to have created a sort of renewal in your seeking-out of spiritual answers. Oh, I'm talking too much...blah blah...

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

A year, a day, a decade...you will always miss that presence. Try to be happy for the time spent together and know that some never experience that love.

I could say this about Mike. I could say this about Bo. I can't say this about any others though...Still, I am fortunate that I was loved and loved back.

Nancy said...

I don't know what is next for you, but I have no doubt you will find your way. I still grieve for some of my old pets. When you figure they are around for many years, of course we will miss them.

janis said...

Reya~ I am quite sure we would be friends if we were living close. You speak as I feel & think. I love my pets... I have been Blessed to have had many in my life and Loved them all so unconditionally. Funny how they know more about me than anyone, including my husband or daughters. They have a unmistaken connection with me.
I still miss those that have come and gone. I cherish the time we have left with the little fellows that live with us now.
Love you :)

Karen said...

One thing occurred to me: you checked in with us, the blog, nearly every day. Not a companion, no, but something, a connection, an entity to reach out to and exchange with. Right?

(Plus Steven is amazing. :) )

Reya Mellicker said...

Yep and yep, Steven is brilliant.

Gary said...

This post got me thinking about the fact that I have always been partnered. I was born a twin and enjoyed the companion of my built-in best friend as a child. Sometimes that was difficult (like when I wanted to assert my uniqueness and be viewed as one rather than two) but overall fantastic. I have always dated, had relationships that were pasionate and loving and painful but ultimately worthwhile. Being 'partners' with another suits me. And within that I find time for the solitude you describe. I have been judged for preferring to be two instead of one and I think that is too bad. It is the same as saying it is sad or wrong that you are unpartnered. It is not pathetic at all. You, my darling Reya, touch so many people and are never alone. And as far as alone goes, we are all alone and not alone anyway. My thoughts are with you as you mourn and celebrate Jake. xoxox