A Hole in My Ho Ho

This has been the first Christmas in many years without you. Ah, buddy, I miss you so. There really is a hole in my ho ho. I’m still saying goodnight to you when I turn off the light. I may do that until I’m gone, too. If there’s an afterlife, I sure hope we can meet again. It would be interesting: two souls together once more without the human/dog thing happening. My naiveté doesn’t really know what to think about that stuff. I’m bound up in this human form and I’m sure there is an arrogance about me that I’m not even aware of, the whole humans are so special syndrome. Is what I think really who I am? Is what I think really what I think? I always assume my thoughts will eventually get around to something kind of profound and that I’m not wasting my time when I daydream about something, creating an internal dialog that might turn into some kind of art. Or am I just pretending to be aware? Does it even matter? Does doubt keep me honest or does it cloud my vision?


When you were alive, I’d bounce this stuff off of you as we’d walk. Before age really started to catch up with you, we had some pretty good routes around and through Gearhart—woods, dunes, beach, ocean. You seemed happy to listen. You’d look at me every once in awhile and make me feel like you were listening. It might have only been the droning of my voice that pleased you. At least you didn’t roll your eyes. Your kindness always informed my own.


Now that you’re gone, am I misrepresenting the friendship we had? Am I trying to make it more special than it was, to kind of glorify my grief? That would be an all too human behavior, I think. I don’t want to believe that’s what I’m doing. I’ll go out on a limb here and just deny it. What we had when you were breathing and enjoying the world was a true friendship that continues. I’m not sure how that works with you on the other side, but I’m learning. I’m guessing, hoping, you are too. Whether or not we survive in some kind of afterlife, you are certainly within my living heart and I am deeply blessed with that. I will continue to prattle on as I walk the old paths. And hey, they finished to the two bridges through the wetland and the Ridge Path now goes all the way to where we crossed the creek on that last walk we took. Maybe you can join me for part of the way. It feels like you do, sometimes. Another blessing.


G’night buddy.

(Top: Jessica Stewart; bottom: Jim Stewart)

About Jim Stewart

Writer at Butt in Chair
This entry was posted in Beach, Bedtime, Dog, Friendship, Letters from elsewhere, Slice of Death and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A Hole in My Ho Ho

  1. AnnieO says:

    Running again. Young again. Same special smile and twinkle. sigh.

  2. Ruth Langlois says:

    R.i.P. Toulouse – nice thoughts Jimmy.

  3. John Allen says:

    Seems to me that many of my old friends are dealing with the limits of mortal life. Perhaps there is more. where youth may well be eternal and we just might be able to retain the lessons of age. Wouldn’t that be special? Or perhaps not.

  4. Toulouse is definitely along with you and will be for a while. ❤

    For a long time after Dusty died, Bear and I would encounter him where we always walked together. Seriously. He was always in the same spot and would always go part of the way with us. I remember the day he wasn't there any more. We don't walk there any more, either. I am now living with my 26th and 27th dog. I don't doubt at all that walking with my dog(s) we are having the same walk. If the wind weren't blowing 50 mph right now we'd be having another one.

    I see dogs as offering us the chance to love someone in a way that's impossible between humans. I think that makes their loss difficult to 'recover' from. I think I owe the best in my life to all these years out "hunting" with my dogs and all I learned from that. Please don't take this wrong, but maybe you will find another pal to share the trails with. My sense of that is that my dogs encouraged that.

    • Jim Stewart says:

      There’s a great quote in the current Orion Magazine article about service dogs:
      “I grew up in a pack of dogs, and they taught me their values of loyalty, conflict resolution, unconditional love, and how to shake off negativity like water. Seriously, we should get out of the way–let the canines lead us out of this raging shit show” (Ruby McCargh).

      • No kidding. I injured my IT band and I was just in the kitchen doing stretches. The wind is roaring out there, 50 mph. Awful, so, we’re not out there much as we’d like to be. Bear came out to the kitchen and started doing stretches with me like she knew exactly what depended on my doing those. Did you read about the abandoned newborn girl in India who was taken in by a dog and her puppies? They stayed with her in an open field. Otherwise, she’d be dead. Kind of the Romulus/Remus thing. I don’t just love my dogs; I admire them.

  5. He was a remarkable soul. Remarkable souls must live on. They simply must.

  6. Beautiful. Makes me tear up and think of my own four-legged friends who have passed over.

  7. Debra says:

    So poignant! You’ve touched my heart with this truly special tribute. Our dogs truly fill our hearts, and when they move on, that void remains. Blessings, Jim.

  8. zdunno03 says:

    Beautifully touching, Jim. I know how you feel. I hope, too, that our loyal friends are waiting for us in the beyond.

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