Walking Each Other Home


“We’re all just walking each other home.” ~ Ram Dass

We learned this week that Clancy has cancer that can, for a time, be managed by medicine. He is able to walk the trail, bark at squirrels, eat, drink and be merry, and we will guard against allowing him any loss of these sources of his joy. Timing is everything; stumbling is human, but, of course, we want to spare our beloved useless suffering.

DSCF2051Every day still begins with our Morning Party, to consecrate whatever adventures come our way. True companionship, which, after all, means breaking bread together, has woven our sacred bonds with each of our 4-legged friends.







DSCF2772Our walks have become even more precious. Thousands of miles covered, over and over, for 14 years, have inscribed our love, our stories, our chemicals, and our spirits on every particle along the way. Our story of deeply-shared love and companionship accrues and circles us; we breathe it in and out with every step. It clings to Full Moon and to every part of the path we’ve covered, day and night.

DSCF2707We have seen the seasons come and go, the river rise and fall, the trees and wildflowers bud, bloom, and die back, and now we face–most compassionately, but authentically–our own family member’s dying and our transforming.


DSCF2796Clancy knows changes are occurring and seems more determined than ever to keep Full Moon Cottage safe from invading squirrels and perceived threats. We bark along with him and Riley at times. I think we are singing our joy, our memories, our fears, and our grief together. The cats look askance, but forebear these concerts.

I’ve always enjoyed Clancy’s help in the kitchen, although his preference has been to plop down right at the intersection of oven, sink, fridge and dishwasher, so I have learned to be a nimble dancer in my culinary activities. I wonder if, after he is gone, I’ll leap over his imaginary presence. The Clancy Ballet.

DSCF2808I find myself wondering a lot about life without him; perhaps that’s a way to try and soften the reality we’re facing…it doesn’t work, anyway. Images of Clancy-less space and activities fade away before I can get a purchase. Which is good, I think, because I’m pulled back to the moments before me, precious and finite and burnished by the utter gift of loving and being loved.

And I take comfort in knowing that when Riley and I one day walk the trail without him beside us, Clancy will be everywhere we are, forever inscribed on our hearts and walking us home.




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14 thoughts on “Walking Each Other Home

  1. Hi Kitty….Why not give Clancy medical marijuana. It is curing both people and pets of cancer right and left. Of course you don’t hear about it because of big Pharma, but it is working for so many suffers. Here is a quick article. Look it up online as well. There is a wealth of info but stay away from the sites condemning it. Those are put out by big pharma…It works, it works well and it is harmless compared to drugs….Just a thought. So sorry to hear about Clancy…I would surely use it on myself and cats in a heart beat….Sending prayers…Much love…VK ❤


    1. Thank you for your idea, VK; he’s not in any pain right now, and doing well with the anti-inflammatory. I appreciate your kind heart and good thoughts.


      1. I’m just amazed at how many people and pets are having cancer cured by medical marijuana….I was just thinking about stopping Clancy’s before it got any worse…Good luck…VK ❤


        1. We’ll look into it. I should have paid better attention to his licking of the site a couple months ago: classic sign of cancer/tumor that only registered subconsciously. Had we caught it earlier…but we’ll certainly check with the vet about other treatments. 🙂


  2. What a gift you have for writing and photography, your posts flow so very beautifully, however heartbreaking they are….and your emotions and thoughts are felt gently and softly, just like the snow that is falling there.I loved your pics, especially the one of Clancy, his eyes are very knowing and there is strength and life in them, I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere soon.
    I couldn’t stop looking at the circle of trust you have going on there each morning, oh….how I wanted to join in!!! Amazing!!!
    The situation you find yourself in claws at my heart, I have been there and know exactly how you feel and what you are going through….yet you are living in the present and enjoying your darling boy. Sending you all my love and a huge bear hug.xxx


  3. Thank you, Dina; love and bear hugs are exactly what we all need. Perfect!

    Yes, Morning Party is a grand time; I “sing” our song and everyone gathers and no one makes fun of Mama’s goofy pj’s…It’s only about 5 minutes, but it’s a sweet start to the day, that’s for sure.

    I appreciate that so many people I know and love have been through this, as have we, so I know it will hurt like hell, but eventually, all will be well. Clancy has had a good run and made our own infinitely richer and deeper.


  4. You sing, to call them????? Well of COURSE you do!!!! You should see the smile on my face….it shall carry into my dreams….what a lovely thought to go to sleep with.xxx


  5. sorry to hear of Clancy’s affliction. Best to hold on to the pleasures of life, with whatever aids are available, and not to think much about afterwards. All of us are here temporarily… life goes on, and together with our friends, at this step along the path… we need not wonder how it’ll be afterwards, or what went before; together we dance our appreciation of the moment.


  6. Dear Kitty, thank you again for a beautiful essay, and for sharing the photographs also. I’m praying that Clancy has many many many “best” days left. He couldn’t have better friends around him right now. I’ll be praying for Riley, too. If/when the time comes, I imagine that Riley will have a special, wordless, grieving. Praying for all.


    1. Oh, thank you, Matt; life’s taught me your prayers are powerful, indeed, and so very welcome. Yes, Miss Riley has her own health issues, and the nursing home feels a bit understaffed these days. We’re trying to be most mindful of all the companions’ responses to Clancy’s changes…our Morning Parties have become quite jubilant, and none of our precious time together is taken for granted…we’re all living pretty intensely, but trying, too, to relax at times and to allow “what is” to flow…Your prayers help to keep us afloat; thank you.


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