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A Tribute to Charlie Bear
By Darcy  Gunnlaugson

 

Author's note: In times of old, not really that long ago, times that seem like the waking from a   dream, in those times I often told Charlie Bear, that he was the FAMOUS BOUVIER OF OLD,  and he would look at me in agreement. And it may well be that from here and through you, his fame will spread, as in stories told around the campfires of our ancestors. We are all part of a living myth and legend.

 

 

For the cremation technician:


THIS IS CHARLIE BEAR (SILVERHEELS)

A SHORT WHILE AGO HE WAS ANIMATED WITH LIFE, LIVED AND SAW THE DAWN GLOW; CHASED RABBITS AND BREATHED THE CLEAN FRESH AIR OF CREATION...

HE IS OUR NOBLE AND COURAGEOUS FRIEND; STEADFAST AS A FIXED STAR,

FAMOUS TO ALL HE MET, ABIDING AND LOYAL, GENTLE AND HANDSOME...

HIS LOSS IS MEASURED BY OUR UNBEARABLE SADNESS INTERMIXED WITH THE JOY OF THE MEMORIES HE HAS GIVEN US, JOY WHICH HE HAS ALSO GIVEN TO THE MANY HE HAS ENCOUNTERED ON HIS SOJOURN HERE.

PLEASE BE REVERENT WITH HIM, HANDLE HIM WITH THE KINDNESS HE DESERVES, AND MAKE HIM, THE FUNERAL PYRE OF A VIKING KING.

THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU MAY BE, FOR THIS FINAL ACT OF SERVICE AND KINDNESS.

-DARCY GUNNLAUGSON AND KATE JOY

 

 

When the autumn rains came, you went away. And my grief was inconsolable.

We spent the hours of your last day chasing rabbits, and you, eating chocolate kisses, and the chocolate chip cookies which "The Mom" had made with loving care. I built for you in your last hours, the first fire of the season, in our fireplace, and we "visited" on the carpet before it; you mostly staying to your fluffed-up grey comforter. Then Kate came home and we three, JUST THE THREE OF US, spent those precious final hours crying, and then bravely alternating to cheerful bonks and ruffles, but all the while saying goodbye. And you, this prince, this King, stoic to the end, licked our faces goodbye, pawed us numerous FIVES goodbye... and then at the very end when the vet was there, and just before your eyes glazed over, your left eye caught mine, one last time, saying "goodbye Dad", and you were gone. And I... I will never be the same...an absence so large exists in me that the tears of my lifetime will never fill it.

My friend, I will miss you more than these words can ever say. Tears well up again, and again, in my eyes, and I, and The Mom, the other remainder of THE THREE OF US, are left with great gaping holes in the fabric of our beings. Mr. Bonk, Mr. Bouv, oh how I will miss you, and oh how I thank you for the times of my life. I praise you, and I sing of you. And I cry. You are a good friend of mine, and I shall not forget you, less I have forgotten myself completely.

And, after you left to make your convoluted journey to the crematorium, the sun broke through, and I saw this as a good sign. Helping you to end your pain was all that I could endure. Holding your shaggy head, rubbing noses and whispering I love you, and to go to sleep, and to go to the light, were but all that we could do. I know you will find your way for I have invoked the assistance of the Great Ones for you on your journey. And, I pray in these dim hours of the late twentieth century, that we will meet again: THE THREE OF US...to go a rambling again in the company of eternal friends. Tonight your bed is made and "clean", in case you feel like stopping in. We will leave it for at least 3 days, along with your water dish, a cookie, and things to let you know you are welcome always... might you want to stop bye. And when these things are gone, you can pick any ole place on the carpet, couch, or bed, to lay your shining head.

Mr. Bonk, Ohhhh The Bonker, the brave Bouv, The FAMOUS Bouv, The Bouv of myth and legend...I do love you. And what a good friend you are. I cannot measure my grief, my love, my loss...or my immeasurable gain from knowing you. Nor can I wrap my mind around this gaping absence...the Prince of Lindholm Road, Crown Prince of Nature, the shadow at my feet, at my back, my guardian, my life friend. Oh how my heart breaks. And oh how proud I am to have known you. Charlie Bear Silverheels, Treewalker, Gunnlaugson, Joy...Chief Thunderpaws ..CHARLIE BEAR..."Oh Charlie Bearrrr, you’re always there , you’re always theeeere, Charlie Bear..." I sing again of you, even as my heart breaks 

Before my numbed inward eye there exists a great noble shaggy head, a soft furry bear with big liquid browns, who has a unique roll of eye whites, a bouvier shrug, a tapping at the door, a low pitched mmmm, a contented drawn out snoring sigh, a gentle pink tongue, soft soft ears, big hugs, a pawing foot, poker legs, and who is an ever present attendant shadow. The subtle nuances of you I record here now, that I might not ever forget you my friend...and in so doing I find myself and my description incredibly inadequate. And, on this last day together, for reasons I cannot know, after breaking my keychain opening the door, I lost the keys to my own home, inside the house.

"Oh the boy, ohhh the Boy, ohhhh the boy, the boy..." The bravery you have shown will make me forever brave, and only with that, is this veil of tears bearable my friend "Mr. Bear." Goodbye until we meet again, and then it will be a long awaited hello..


CHARLIE BEAR SILVERHEELS: 10 AND 5/12 YEARS YOUNG, GRADUATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1997, 4.10 P.M. WESTCOAST TIME IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS VERY PROUD MOM AND DAD.. "THEY DON’T COME ANY BETTER"

* * *

And, still later, when sleepless nights had numbed my brain, when time had become meaningless, and the silence of the darkness stretched infinitely long... when the snatches of memory I replayed through my choked grief had suddenly stilled...then, in the middle of the 3rd night a still voice called...no, more like announced me, with simple clarity; a voice which cut through the stillness and the muddle of my mind with a single, crystal clear word. And it left me startled and then puzzled, and finally as comprehension dawned, I t left me joyful. The voice in it’s single articulation had seemed like that of a young man I once knew, a young man named Shad... and it had simply uttered one word in a happy almost proud way. It, you , had said Dad.

And then yet later, after I had shared the story of the voice with The Mom, she in turn had been awoken from a fitful sleep in her mostly sleepless nights, to see at the side of the bed where you always slept, where your fluffed comforter still lay, the movement of a glowing light in the air. And she gazed at it while it moved in a slow circle where you would lie, and then, after completing this movement, it rose slightly and expanded into a glowing luminous ball which then faded slowly into the darkness. And, she says there was a single word which she also heard when she saw this, but after falling to sleep and later reawakening, she could not remember it. But I know what you said, and in the language of numerous words, it has but one meaning, and that meaning is love. And that, my big friend, is what we feel so mightily for you, and is why we are so sad, and yet so proud to have known you. Still, our ears strain for the sounds not heard, and at times the hair on my neck rises, and I feel your subtle presence again with me.

And even later, on the 4th weekly anniversary of your going away, of your graduation...on that day did I take the urn which has been left for the spirit dog to guard, at the head of his comforter, and I began to sprinkle your ashes over all the places that you frequented around our ole place, inside and out, until I was covered in a fine ashen dust, and you were everywhere. And still the urn was full. And while I performed this act, I talked constantly to you, and made more memories while I remembered the many places you sat, and watched, or talked, or wandered ,or accompanied me in the many years of our time together here. And I will take little bits of these ashes to your other special spots, so that you will always be in those places you loved the best. And then, I will cry again, as I do now....but one day, when I do, it will be a happy sad, and perhaps by then we will have found the new Dali Lama.


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