Wednesday, April 01, 2009

bittersweet


It was that kind of day yesterday. I did some errands, after which I stopped by the kennel for a puppy fix. I never know what dogs will be there. Sometimes dogs arrive and get adopted within a matter of days. All I knew was that I needed to spend a little time with whoever was there, get my face licked and my fingers gnawed and hold 'em and love 'em.

There were four there. Three were male, and I decided that if I was going to think about taking one home, it would be female. Memories of Rigel lifting his leg and marking the furniture were just too fresh... The-one-yet-to-be-named, pictured here, came home with me. She's a snuggler, a necessary quality this time around, and though she will probably get bigger than I would prefer, she's here for a test-drive. Is she not cute? We have no idea of her lineage but that doesn't really matter. What is known is that she and a couple of litter-mates were dropped off at the Lowe's parking lot and left behind. We think we'll keep her.

A few hours into life in puppy kingdom the phone rang. It was my friend Jayne, with bad news. Jayne and I met through the Episcopal message board on beliefnet. After months of logging messages she figured out that I lived about an hour from her and we arranged to meet. Enjoyable message-mates became fast friends, and while I was in Sewanee it was possible to get together with some regularity and gab for hours. Since moving from the mountain we don't see each other, something that has got to change (I really miss you, Jayne!).

Anyway, her news. She had just learned that another friend from beliefnet had committed suicide on Sunday. Lee was one of those people who lived in real time. He wasn't afraid to tell you what was on his mind, had a quick and sharp wit, and was just as quick to offer affirmation and acclamation to all who visited the board (unless you consistently ticked him off, in which case he expressed semi-polite toleration). Several years ago Lee was diagnosed with an uncommon cancer, an event that triggered a series of crises with which he battled to the end. No matter his issues, however, he was a support to the people he had come to know and befriend in a virtual community. He touched many lives, one of which was mine. In fact, I heard from him just a few weeks ago, checking in with me since we hadn't been in touch in a while, and I wrote him back eager to catch up. Now he is gone. As I write this the tears flow anew for a friend who brightened so many worlds, and made the world richer with laughter and smiles.

In the same day I gained and lost love. Days like that have a way of fusing events together, such that the memories blur and become one distinct impression. I am thinking that perhaps the one-yet-to-be-named might take on Lee's name to honor the friend who I pray has found peace. McKinley. I'll call her Kinlee to keep her name from becoming a mouthful. It has dignity but isn't stuffy. It's distinct, as was Lee, and as she grows she will attach to it her own unique personality. That sounds a bit like redemption--entirely fitting.

Welcome Kinlee; joy and balm for my heart. Farewell, Lee; good and faithful servant.

5 comments:

kimquiltz said...

Sounds like a perfect tribute.

My black lab mix, Buddy, is named after my Marty's father, who has been gone for 20 years now. I shocked Marty when I told him I was naming the dog after his father (real name Henry, nickname Buddy - a Southern man). But in my family, naming your dog after someone you love is a tribute - I'm half hillbilly, half Southern belle, my Ozarkian grandfather raised fox hounds.

I have always felt that my Buddy is a gift straight from heaven. I hope Kinlee is the same for you. Sounds to me like she already is.

Jayne said...

I am tearing up all over again. It's made me so very sad, even though in so many ways, I could not follow the drama that was Lee's life. How fitting and sweet that the very day Lee hopefully found peace, you found Kinlee. I know he is smiling that his namesake will be bringing you so much love and sunshine. XOXO

Kip said...

I'm happy and sad for you today Anne. big hugs.

Maria said...

So sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute you've made to him though. Hope your puppy brings you lots of years of love and happiness.

Jules said...

I think your new pup would be honored to carry the name of such a person as Lee.

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