Yesterday I went for a run at Thetis Lake — my first visit there since before Yoshi died. This was my favourite place to take Yosh, and we logged a lot of hours there. I had been dreading going, and I wasn’t going to go until I was good and ready.
I didn’t go alone. We are taking care of Digger for a couple of weeks, and I took him and a small part of Yoshi. Before Yoshi died Greg expressed his wish to have his ashes returned to us. I am not sure I would have done this had I been on my own, but I didn’t have any strong objections, so I agreed. A couple of weeks after he died we got the ashes back from the vet. In an urn, of all things. We promptly put them in the basement in a closet as we were not ready to deal with them. But we did talk about some of the things we wanted to do with them, and one of the things I wanted was to bring some out to Thetis.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this — I didn’t really want to go alone, yet I didn’t want to go with anyone. Any humans, that is. But as I was falling asleep one night earlier this week, I suddenly thought: Digger. He’d be perfect company.
So off we went, Digger running ahead of me and a small bag of Yoshi’s ashes in my hand. I knew exactly where I was going to leave the ashes. On Trillium trail there is a rock outcrop that Yoshi loved to jump off (and Digger too). I planned to throw some in the lake and leave some on the shoreline. I did most of my run before getting to this spot, and it was a good run. I didn’t think about Yoshi much, I just enjoyed the run and Digger’s company. Although a couple of times I let myself imagine that I was running with both dogs, and Yoshi was off running in the bush, as he often did.
When we got to the spot, I threw a few ashes in the lake and then got distracted as Digger went crazy looking for a stick. I helped him find one, smiling to myself at the interruption, and then grabbed another handful, threw them in the lake along with the stick and whispered to Digger to go in and join him. And he did. He jumped right in the middle of the ashes, and went for one more swim with his buddy. I put a few more on the shoreline and then I just stood there for a few minutes. I told Yoshi I loved and missed him, and then continued on my run. It was then I discovered you can’t run and cry at the same time, so I walked for a bit and had a good cry.
I had a few more ashes left and I was just going to bring them back to the house, but then I saw one of the side trails that Yoshi loved to go on, so I sprinkled some at the entrance and just stood there imagining him running through the bush. I could almost hear him. I collected myself and then finished my run with Digger.
It was exactly what I wanted to do, without really realizing that until I was done. It seemed fitting to have Digger with me, and now that I’m through the hurdle of the “first time back”, it will be easier to go again.
Thank you Digger — you were my rock.