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Just now I had another brief, vivid memory of Oly, but it came slowly enough for me to see it coming, and it was smaller than it's been, and I smelled an opportunity to do something... less foolish, maybe even wise- with the experience (of the memory).

{My 50th birthday party really started me thinking about the quality of the memories I choose to lay down into long term memory. Sure, it sort of seems like a wasted effort, given these brief human lifespans, but it's all I've got to work with, and it's important enough to do even if the result is imp[erfect.]

I'm starting to re-connect with projects I was doing long before I met that fellow. I'm also building up more memories of this new place that don't include him. Finally getting the car - after he left- has been a major shift in the way I see the geography. Walking distance no longer defines the perimeter of my horizon.

(Even my view of the light rail has shifted! Before the car, I was content to rely on the hugely simplified Max schematic. Yesterday I had to re-orient my landmarks according to the street grid, rather than the sequence of train stops. It was strangley satisfying)

 So when I thoughjt of Oly just then, it was as if he were on the train platform in an old black and white movie, and I was steaming away on board the train. It's tempting to get distracted by the poetry of that image, but the thing I want to write about is not my dog, not his soul, not even my own death seen through his eyes.... I want to write about my memory of him, as its own thing, seperate from him.

 The trauma of that aweful day is shrinking, becoming managable, and is slowly becoming another book I can place on the shelf with my other traumas. Not just the icky part of that day, but the magic part of why that day was important, that's getting smaller, more managable too. We were together 5/6(7?) years, and now that that interval has a punctuated ending to it, the whole experience can now be evaluated in a way I couldn't really affor to do while I was in the middle of it. Looked at the proper way, I'ts actually kind of liberating.

 If I'm really good, I mean *really* grown up about it, I can weigh this experience with some other significant experiences, and compare them, and try to get a sense of the physics involved. Where my mind went just then, was Bremerton in 1998. In so many ways, I've felt frozen in time, inwilling to learn new things, unwilling to budge, to let go of my grief in that moment back then... I think what really happened was I was afraid to let go of something, afraid to move on.

Contrast the me of 1998, with the me of 1992. They're almost two completely different people. In 1992, I was clawing my way out of a really deep hole, and making some real progress. It felt powerful to be making friends, making money, enjoying a standard of living that I'd never imagined possible for me.

And then in 98, I pretty much gave up. I figured if I never tried to lift my head again, I couldn't be beaten back down. In a way, I guess that was correct, and though I understand the costs involved in that choice much better now, I actually don't begrudge 1998-me that choice. It was the best I (he) had to work with.

I've been really conscious of trying to channel 92 Joe, and get back into the "Can Do!" spirit he embodies. But what I only now just realized is that 98 Joe is standing in my way, telliong me there was a *reason* for all those painful choices made in 98. I'm not being told I can't have 92 Joe back again, just that I can't get there by forgetting 98.

(It's a little frightening how much easier it is for me to think of the 17 years between now and 98, then it is to think of those six years between 92 and 98. It's the same sort of trauma I feel when I pick up Ollie's collar and read his dog tags.

 Such a patient teacher he was. Is.  17 years of beiung stuck in the horse lattitudes, and that's 3 years longer than that person's entire life span. I don't need his ashes or his paw prints to memorialize him, I've got what's left of my life to live, and try to do it as well as he did.

[so many typos and bad turns of phrase. But unless I hit "send" now, I doubt any version of this will ever get posted.]


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February 2017

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