Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ocean, Pain and Love

This is kind of a long story so if you can't finish it all at once you can come back to it.  Stanley and me are going to be traveling for a few days and won't be able to post, so you can come back if you need to.  But all the parts of the story come together to form why we're going where we're going.

I'm telling this story because my mom told it to me.  She's never told all of it together because it is just hard she says.  She could tell it but there are parts that still make her cry and we didn't want to get the keyboard all wet with tears in case it would make the computer blow up or something.  So we decided I would tell the story in spite of the fact she will not tell you the whole thing face-to-face).

Mom grew up in a state called Indiana.  She says there are lots of trees and it is very green.  She says there is a bad thing there called humidity.  I guess there were other things that she needed to get away from too because when she turned 18, she came to Utah.  She didn't necessarily WANT to come to Utah (California was  "THE" place to be) but she landed in Utah and has been here ever since.

After mom got to Utah, she only went back to visit her family a few times.  Of course now she feels really guilty about it, but at the time it was probably a good decision.  Her mom would always ask her when she was coming to visit and mom would say "maybe this Christmas".  Well, long story short, it never happened and every Christmas my mom felt bad that another one went by without seeing her mom on Christmas.  Anyway, her mom would come to visit her in Utah every now and again and stay for about a month.  Mom is glad to have shared that time with her mom.

Her Mom died at age 72 on July 11, 2001 (since my mom and her mom shared the same birthday she thinks they might both die on July 11th but that's getting me off track).  Before her mom died, she always wanted to do some traveling.  She was a complete homebody, not out of choice but more out of circumstance of life.  But she didn't complain.  Her mom wasn't the complaining type.  Anyway, a couple years before she died, she and mom's  father took a car trip and drove to Utah, then to Nevada.  The plan was to drive to the ocean but her  dad got tired so they turned back east and returned to Indiana.  Her mom never saw the ocean.  Mom thinks it is the saddest thing, to live a whole life and never see something as magnificent as the ocean.

You see, mom really likes the ocean despite the fact she is deathly afraid of water.  Even though I can swim and think it is an easy thing to do, she cannot.  But she loves to go to the ocean and stand at the edge of the continent and see the water splash onto the shore.  A beach-like shore is fun for playing but it's the rockier, cliff-like shores that really leave her in awe.  She says it seems to her that it must represent the kind of power God must have.  All these mega-zillions of drops of water, sprinkled all over the earth, have so little power, but where they are all joined together there is this magnificent strength and power that is capable of so much. So the ocean feels very spiritual to her.

Now I have to tell you another part of this story.  Before me and Stanley were born, our peeps had other dogs.  Their last two, before us, were named Leroy and Reggie.  Mom had Leroy since he was a pup but Reggie was rescued by mom and dad after they got married.  Leroy knew mom before she met dad (dad used to call him "city slicker").  Leroy hated men but he liked dad so mom thought she better marry him.  Anyway, they had Leroy and Reggie a long time.  The vets thought Reggie was around 2 years old when they got him.  They had him about 14 years.

This is Leroy, short for Leroy Brown.  He was little but he didn't put up with guff from anyone!  One time mom was driving to see dad and Leroy was on her lap and he got his head stuck in the steering wheel while she was trying to turn a corner.  She thought she was going to wreck the car!  That is why me and Stanley have to wear seat belts.  It's probably a good idea anyway.  Anyway, Leroy died on February 8, 2006.  He had gotten so old that he had bad arthritis and slept most of the days.  He had pretty much gone deaf too.  Then one day everything just stopped working.

This is Reggie.  Mom said he was all heart and no brain.  Dad thought he was the best a dog could ever be (until he met me and Stanley).  Mom said Reggie was pure love.  Reggie didn't age as well as Leroy.  Reggie never learned how to play either.  They weren't sure what his life was like before he came to them but they knew someone abused him.  So they thought Reggie was grateful for a good home and that was why he was such a loving dog.  Anyway, Reggie had bad knees.  The vet said he could do an operation but at Reggie's advanced age it would be cruel to put him through 2 separate surgeries that would involve a long and difficult recovery.  So Reggie struggled with walking for his last few years.  He died a year after Leroy, on February 5, 2007.
Mom and dad bought the camper trailer just so they could go places with Leroy and Reggie.  Actually at that time there was Fluffy too but her life didn't contribute to this particular story.  Mom and dad knew they (the dogs) were getting older but they tried not to think about it because it made them so sad.  Mom said when they would camp at RV parks, people would see them outside slowly walking the 2 dogs.  The people would just weakly smile and nod, often making a comment about how old they were.  Mom and Dad knew, way before it happened, that the day would come and they would have to tell Leroy and Reggie goodbye.

The summer before Leroy died, they went to the ocean in Oregon.  They walked the dogs to the beach, thinking that the sand would be soft on their joints.  Mom had Leroy on leash and dad had Reggie on leash.  Pretty soon Leroy started pulling on his leash.  Mom thought this was odd since for the longest time he was always trailing behind her.  So she just kept walking faster to let Leroy enjoy his walk.  The beach was deserted except for the 4 of them.  Leroy kept walking faster and faster and pretty soon he was actually running on the beach.  Mom was shocked but she ran with him as long as he wanted.  Pretty soon she heard dad yelling at her to look behind her.  And there was Reggie, running right behind her with dad in tow!  The four of them ran on the beach!  That was probably the last time either dog ran.  Mom says when she thinks of them and gets sad, she remembers what it felt like to run with them on the beach.  She thinks the dogs felt the strength of the ocean too.  She said that it gives her comfort to know they had that experience.  Remember, mom thinks no one should live a life without having experienced the ocean.

When Leroy and Reggie died, there were huge gaping holes in mom and dad's hearts.  They couldn't even talk about it for the longest time.  They decided losing them was so painful that they could never take a chance on loving another dog again.

It took them five whole years before they got me and Stanley.  I think I've told the story before about how it was Goose's blog that cracked mom's armor around her heart.  And once she cracked, dad crumbled pretty easily too.  Boy are me and Stanley grateful to Goose for making that happen!  Anyway, mom and dad know that eventually, many years from now, we will grow old too.  And they know the pain will be unbearable when we are parted. But they also learned it is impossible to harden a heart to save it from breaking.  Mom says that God sent me to her so that she could love freely again.  So in the meantime, we're going to live, grow, play, and love together.  And in order to live that plan . . . we're going to the ocean!


PS - For those who asked, we are headed for the northern California coast, the Ferndale - Eureka area.  


  1. I think this OCEAN Trip will be a grrrreat tribute to your mom's Mom and to Leroy and Reggie. It will be super FUN fur you also. You enjoy it a whole bunch.. Have a WHALE of a good time. (hehehe I made an Ocean Frankie Funny fur you)

  2. I hope you enjoy your trip- I know you will have a wonderful time!

  3. Hi Murphy, Now I know that somehow I am connected with your mom; I know you might not get to read this for a few days but have to share anyway. I lived most of my life in northern Ca.(in fact 56 yrs); in Sonoma County which is a bit south of where you'll be with your mom and dad. I love Ferndale, it is so beautiful. So here are two other things that are like your mom & dad's story-one is that our last dog was Reggie; he was my sister's rescue that we adopted when she passed on from cancer. He never played or gave kisses(which is why I love Hunter's kisses), I think he was a puppy mill dog. He didn't like other dogs except for my heart dog Sadie. O.k. and I so understand your mom's concern about death-you see my mom died when I was 21 and she was 61. My sister died 7 yrs ago at age 65; so I always worry that I won't make it past my mid 60's. It is a silly thought because God holds my days/years in His hands but I understand how your mom feels. So go, enjoy the ocean for me and live life fully!
    Much love, Noreen & Hunter

  4. Hey boys!! You are not going to believe this but I have NEVER seen the ocean (well unless you consider the Great Salt Lake an ocean). I know you tow are going to have the time of your life. What the ocean is for your mom the mountains are for mine. I am humbled to think that I had some tiny part of the two of you getting to be with your mom and dad. In truth all I was was a tool that God used to bring the four of you together. Have a GREAT time boys and I want to hear all about it when you get back.

  5. Enjoy your time visiting the ocean!

  6. We so look forward to seeing the pix of you all by the ocean. I can now just hear the waves lapping and feel the breeze. Have a wonderful time and your story was very touching. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. Sweet,sweet post! It is so hard when loved ones grow old, whether 2-legged or 4 legged! Unbearable when they leave.
    I am so happy Mom and Dad found you two!
    Enjoy Ferndale, it will be nice and cool at the beach!
    Cyber belly rubs to you guys
    Hugs to Mom and Dad

  8. Enjoy your ocean visit!!

  9. Oh Murphy, I loved the story. IT hurt my Vickies heart a bit because she kept thinking of Jamie, but it was a wonderful thing. I am hoping you have a wonderful time at the ocean. Take lots of pictures for us, but remember that the big ocean can be a bit dangerous so stay close to your brother and you humans.
    I will miss you on our Friday walk, but will see you soon.

  10. Aww..that is a great story and this ocean trip will be good for mom and dad and you and Stanley will have the times of your lives too!! Have fun.


  11. My mom says the ocean makes everything better. We loved your post. My mom and dad had a dog before me too. He got cancer on his tongue, of all places, and left them right before his 5th birthday. Mom says she knows exactly what your mom is talking about. Have a great trip and take lots of pictures for us!!!!


  12. That was one of the best stories I've ever heard!
    I loved it. Me is my family's first dog, though when me mommy was a child, she had 2 dogs, though she only clearly remembers her second one name Singlis (a weird name, she just copied her neighbor's dog's name) and he was a Poodle that died when she came here. Her parents took more than 10 years to recover and after that they moved to the countryside and got a dog named Kingus and he was a German Shepherd and Husky and Lab mix and was put to sleep in 2007 due to cancer. They have decided not to get another dog.
    Good idea, live life with your mama and dad to the fullest, no regrets...

  13. What a touching story. How great that your Momma's armour got cracked and she has let you into her heart! It doesn't surprise me that she was inspired by Goose. Have fun at the ocean!

  14. Your title covers the emotions this story wrought very well. I am sorry for your past sadness. I am happy that you are again happy. And I am THRILLED that you are following your heart and going to enjoy the California Ocean! :D It is so beautiful there. Well Mom tells me it is. That's where she's originally too :)

    Waggin at ya,


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