Thankful. This morning i woke up and cuddled my mom and Lassen in bed. What a wonderful way to live. We moved the cuddle fest to the living room where we laid in front of the heater, Lassen and i soaked up the warmth and cuddled while mom typed away drinking her morning coffee. It’s thanksgiving. Im so glad I’m not a turkey.
Last month on October 16th 2022, I hiked Mt Tallac. It’s about 11 miles with 3,274 elevation gain and a very strenuous hike. My parents and I did this hike for my 10th birthday. I’ve been fighting cancer for over 3 years now. My mom didn’t know if we would ever do this hike again, but she always hoped we would. She brought a dumb dog bag for me to go in just in case, but i did not need it, This time Lassen, my two year old brother did it with us. He kicked butt as well. Little did we know at the time of the hike that my cancer had come back and there’s some progression. This was revealed in a ct scan I did a couple weeks ago. My mom sits amazed at my abilities to do this hike. My dad told her on the hike, that I dont’t really care so much about doing this hike, but I’m doing it because i just want to be with her. You know, he’s right. I just want to be with my humans. That is the greatest gift, well outside of seal watching to me. After my ct scan we drove to the campground jallama which is near Santa Barbara off a long country dirt road that leads to a beautiful beach full of seals and surfing. Two of my dad’s and mine favorite things. Two years ago, a seal grabbed me and pulled me into the ocean here and tried to drown me. Yes, i instigated the seal extravaganza but the guy must have been some kind of martial arts fighter to my surprise , because he meant business . He drug me out to the ocean to drown me and it took a little bit of time for my parents to run down the beach but my dad swam out to me and pulled me and the seal into the shore. The whole time my head was in his mouth. My mom ran up grabbed the jaws of the seal and pulled my head out of the seals mouth. True story. I reflect upon all my near death experiences over the years…with a seal, eating a fish hook, a coyote stalking, living with a clumsy mother, and of course cancer. I am thankful to be cozied up on this blanket with my mom and Lassen this morning.
I show no signs of cancer, i act as i always have…happy, healthy, normal and kicking ass as a 12 year old miracle frenchie hiking huge mountains. I heard on a podcast this week from an integrative doctor say, “we are all on this race, and we never know when we are going to exit.” People keep telling my mom in response to my cancer ‘just enjoy him’. Have you ever JUST felt enjoyment, when fear, sadness, and pain are rumbling inside thinking about one day living without the one you love more than anything in the world? I didn’t think so. My dad told her that to enjoy me is to simply love me and loving me is simply being with me. I don’t care about Christmas decorations or presents or thanksgiving hoopla with fancy pies…i just want to be with those i love, that’s enjoyment. I love all the places I go like Colorado, Moab, Tahoe…I am Eben the traveling French bulldog….But what i love most is that I go there with those i love (us 4 amigos). My mom was sharing a thought on thankfulness this week thinking about a family in my grandparents neighborhood. I walk by the cutest house to go to my grandparents boat dock to seal hunt quite often. My mom loves this house and its so cute and newly redone, cute mid century furniture, big windows so she can see the cute three kids, dog, and loving parents ( dad is a fire fighter and mom is a teacher) inside looking like out of a beautiful add. A picture to be envious of. Little did she know the past 20 months she been walking by that the mom in that home was battling cancer and just passed. Envy will only lead us away from thankfulness of what we have. Its like when i want Lassen’s three dog bakery treat, i lose seeing my own treat that is right in front of my face. Thankfulness invites us to love not only what we have and who we have, but reminds us there is hope. My mom knows that loss forever changes us, but maybe there is still hope for that family in the cute home to love each other through the pain.
My dawgs, one thing I know is that there is always hope. Hope is one of my best friends. Maybe there isn’t hope of remission, but there is hope of more time. Maybe all we have is hope while we live in the uncertainty of life. Maybe there is hope today that goes into all eternity…. Yes there is. If thankfulness feels like a stinky turd today, maybe Hope is a friend to call upon. I am thankful for my beautiful family, life, travels, adventures, seal hunting, treats and all i get to experience that is so good here. I wrote this today for my mom who struggles with being present although I’ve tried to train her for so many years, who regrets, who is scared, who feels sad, who wants to never loose those she loves most and feels visceral response to this….I’m reminding her of hope and what thanksgiving is really about : loving what you take for granted. So today my dawgs, we got this, we can’t and we won’t stop loving, finding and refinding hope, and learning to cultivate a thankful heart in the uncertainty of this life.
Im not stopping, so neither should you. Lets run the race with a open thankful heart. Follow my lead my friends