Lucy came last night.
She came to see me for the last time
Just to look on me.
She had all the wisdom, pace and majesty
of a fully matured dingo.
She carried sadness, the same sadness I feel.
Her’s was contained but just as deep.
She was traveling alone, heading somewhere.
Somewhere she knew.
She looked deeply into me with a flare of her dingo eyes.
No smile, just a look of knowing and a moment of thought.
She was her own master.
She was a calmed, wild dog.
She took her call, looked at me one last time
And went out the window.
Back to where she had come from.
The above wrote itself after waking in the early hours of a particular morning, a week after Lucy went on her way. On the moment of the last word, a breeze came in behind me, delivering me the smell of dust. I turned to the window and saw a Sydney sun rising a shocking dusty red.
“There she goes,” I reckoned. “On her way now. Kickin up a storm”.
This photo is the last I took of her, says it all.
Today I Lost My Lucy
Published in Talkabout magazine 2009
Today I lost my Lucy, my Mooku, my darlin’ girl. I wasn’t ready but you never are. Time had moved too quickly on us.
14 years ago my partner died, 14 years ago his sister sent Lucy into my life. From the day we first met and she knew that here with me would be her home, we became inseparable. I went nowhere without her. All she ever wanted was to know where I was and how I was, was I safe, was I happy and ‘could you feed me please?’ For the times she couldn’t come with me, we had our code word, “wait-a-while”. It meant, ’won’t be long, stay here, I’ll be back, I promise you’. And from that spot she wouldn’t move, not till I was back. So it is that I feel this pain of an endless and unrewarding separation.
Our life together began in a time of the beginning of my own journey of grief and recovery and she was my light all the way, guiding me onwards. A year after Matthew’s passing we closed up home, set off for a year on a trip of a lifetime, driving anywhere and everywhere, just nowhere been before. Something my partner and I often did. Lucy was yet a careless, loving puppy and needed watching over. She’d see water and she’d jump on in without any sense of fear or judgement. One time it was a swollen flooding river. I went straight in after her as she floated off downstream; we both nearly lost our lives. Another time, pulling up on the Great Ocean Road for the view from the breathtaking heights of the plunging headlands she saw the ocean way below and took the fancy and the stance to jump on in. “Nooooooooooo!” I screamed at her. “Get in the car!” And we were outta there. She soon learnt to better judge distance.
For that year, we lived in the back of a station wagon, the two of us, anywhere we could find along the way to pull up for a night or two or three… One time, sleeping in a forest with the tailgate down, Lucy slipped off for a-look-around while I slept. I woke up to this thumping noise and Lucy’s fat ass in my face. She was pulling in a dead kangaroo and had it half-up on the tailgate. Must have thought, “This’ll feed us for awhile, Tim”. She was very disappointed that I wouldn’t let her keep it; she was so proud of what she’d found.
Along the way we sometimes stopped off with family, other people we knew or people we met who always welcomed us both, took us in, enjoyed our company and gave us comfort. Lucy learnt to always be well behaved for other people, never to fight with their dogs or chase their cats and became very good at conning people up with a cute look and a friendly smile. She was more outgoing than me, the first to make friends and to bring other people into our life. I made many good friends through Lucy’s introductions. She was a winner and it got her many privileges denied to other dogs.
That trip instilled in Lucy that everyday could be a new excitement, a new possibility and that is how she lived the rest of her life and encouraged me to do so. In my times with depression she would find the right balance between laying low for awhile and being undemanding with eventually giving me the nudge, “C’mon now, time to get out, let’s go somewhere.” And we would.
And so it is with the passing of Lucy that I return to this place where it all began. Grief. Once it enters our lives, it never seems to leave us, just momentary respite. But it’s a powerful place, it’s all about love and what has been and you grow from all that you’ve experienced in the love. Lucy and I, we did it all. Our life together was complete. I was her master but she was not my slave, she was my tireless friend. I gave to her a sense of freedom in the world and the same respect I would give to man or woman. She gave me the strength and the encouragement to keep going. (If you see an open door go in with a smile, they might give you food) and I will.
I leave you with no more words truer than Lord Byron’s, ‘Epitaph to a dog’.
One Who possessed Beauty
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man
Without his Vices.
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