• Shannon

A Really Rough Year

I’ve struggled for a long time with regard to how I would write this post. You may note it has been quite a while since our last blog post and even our last vlog. I simply haven’t known how to put any of the past year into words. Some of it blindsided me, some of it was less of a surprise and all of it was devastating.

Each of these things is worthy of a blog post each, and perhaps I’ll do that at some point, but today’s post is a bit of a catch-up for those who maybe haven’t followed us on social media as closely. We lost Rama unexpectedly last year. It’s been a full year and still feels like yesterday, There a few dogs that come into your life and leave an indelible impression. Rama certainly was one of those dogs for me.

The month after Rama passed my father passed away. He had been battling cancer for a while and his body just couldn’t fight any longer. He was the strongest man I knew. He was funny, caring and made sure we knew he loved us right up until he lost the ability to speak. Then he made a heart with his hands and held it out to us. The loss of a parent is hard but watching someone you love waste away from this horrible disease is something else entirely. Almost a year later and I still can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that he is no longer with us.

My first time riding Dumbo was with my dad. A few weeks before he passed away, we rode it together one last time.

The weeks following my father’s death saw my husband and I part ways for a time (we have since reconciled, however). In the span of a few short months I’d lost my father, my dog and my marriage. Long work days , 2 hours nightly at the gym, grief and lack of sleep just left me a zombie. It was all I could do to keep going.

Sassy had some health scares that I had to face as well. She had begun to develop growths. After one surgery to remove a tumor from her side (it was thankfully benign), a routine x-ray revealed a giant mass in her spleen. So she underwent her second surgery within a short period of time and thank goodness that mass turned out to be benign as well. Since then she is doing well but the growth on her side has come back. We knew it would. I have also noticed more small growths on her and we are watching them. I am praying that she doesn’t form more anywhere inside. The thought of losing her is just depressing as hell.

There are those times in life where you sometimes just look around you and go “What the fuck just happened?” The past year has felt like that. I have continued my fitness journey even during the times when I knew I was only going through the motions and not really progressing. It literally served as therapy. I don’t know where the energy came from. I have dealt with chronic fatigue for many years but this past year has really been a bitch and I could never seem to get enough rest to deal with the onslaught of bullshit that it brought.

I haven’t been outdoors as much in the past year. I miss it. I look at friends on social media who are out hiking, camping and enjoying the outdoors and it just hasn’t seemed to come together for me. I have intended for a year now to hike one of my favorite trails and leave some of Rama‘s ashes there. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.

It’s also been over a year since we took one last trip to the mountains with my father. He was so weak but he wanted to return to the mountains one last time. You would never know he felt as bad as he did from the way he soldiered on. He wasn’t able to hike up mountains like we did all those years ago, but he was able to enjoy their beauty.

Recently my mother and I sat and went through pictures from trips we took there in years past as well as several containers of gemstones we panned out of various streams in North Carolina when my sister and I were kids. My dad held onto these rocks in jars for all these years. We always talked about turning some of them into jewelry. You always think you have time.

On our way back, one last picture of the mountains my dad loved so much.

I would love to take my kids back and do some gemstone hunting. If anyone can recommend good spots to do this rather than those touristy places definitely leave me a recommendation in the comments below. The mountains are definitely calling. In remembrance of my father and of tranquil hikes with my beloved dog, I need to find a way to get back there soon.

Nature is there for us; she is the perfect medicine for what ails us. I need a dose of that. It’s time to head back to the trail.

I loved you hard

I loved you long

Sung every chorus to this simple song

But I will remember

I will remember

I will remember

I will cry for you no more

no more

Simple Song by John Paul White

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