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October 17, 2016

The Sun Also Rises

"I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about." ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises The most painful moment of each day is the first one. Sleep filters the toxic truth of Eko's death and I can dream of holding him safely in my arms. But my waking breath is a poisonous, choking reminder that he is gone. One night last week I grew weary of that despair, riding with the sunlight, ripping me from sleep each day. So I decided I would no longer let my sorrow wake me.  I would wake and meet sorrow on my own terms. I told Emily that Penny and I were going to the beach at dawn the next morning. "I'm coming with you," she responded. No hesitation, no equivocation, no negotiation. I have never loved her more. 

“I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.” ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

The most painful moment of each day is the first one. Sleep filters the toxic truth of Eko’s death and I can dream of holding him safely in my arms. But my waking breath is a poisonous, choking reminder that he is gone. One night last week I grew weary of that despair, riding with the sunlight, ripping me from sleep each day. So I decided I would no longer let my sorrow wake me.  I would wake and meet sorrow on my own terms. I told Emily that Penny and I were going to the beach at dawn the next morning. “I’m coming with you,” she responded. No hesitation, no equivocation, no negotiation. I have never loved her more.  We quietly rose from sleep and tiptoed past my anguish on our way to the car. The beach was cold, dark and deserted as the three of us walked towards the lapping waves. The last time I visited the beach at dawn, with Eko, a red sun burned brightly. I imagined that this time, without Eko, the sun would set the horizon on fire. The sky would explode with color, angels would weep, and the universe would beg my forgiveness. But the world is not a reflection of what we wish it to be. Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Sunrise The dawn, at whose magnificence I wished to scream my challenge, was cloud covered and muted. “This is what I’m afraid of? How can this meager light which barely breaks the clouds break me each morning?” I wondered. As I stared at the thin rays filtering through, a wagging tail drew my eyes down to where the tide creeped at our toes. Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Sunrise Penny, barely more than a shadow against the sand, looked at me eagerly. Ready to do what that pitiful star on the horizon could not – bring light to my day. With a whooping cheer we set off at a run down the shore. Emily and I took turns at tag, laughing and calling Penny’s name in the dark. Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Sunrise We played until the black of night gave way to the light of the new day. The same light which once woke me in tears now found me dancing across the sand with the woman and the dog that I love. No longer hiding from our suffering, but instead learning to fully live in it – with the hope we may one day discover what it all means. Rhodesian Ridgeback, Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Sunrise So this is how we meet each new sunrise. Striving to live joyfully with, in and through our sorrow. Broken and lost, but together.

Comments for The Sun Also Rises

  1. you are still a team… Will&Emily&Penny… and that you walked together into a new sunrise was a wonderful way to show that you 3 are strong enough to carry on… even with wounded hearts…

  2. Dashlilly says:

    And Penny said: “Good morning Will, I knew you were in there. We’re still here.” Well done.

  3. Jess says:

    Lovely, bittersweet, and auspicious.

  4. Pat says:

    Great quote, so fitting. I remember those mornings. They will end. Emily is a gem among gems.

  5. Victoria Coleman says:

    Every post to this blog brings either tears of joy or sorrow (as well as full out laughter) – you are quite simply the best writer i know. I am so happy you and your girls found some happiness at your beach -there will be more to come!

  6. lauramcgrew says:

    Will, I could hug Emily and Penny a thousand times for this. Such beautiful girls, both of them. I am so glad they are walking alongside you.

  7. Piglove says:

    The team goes forward my dear friend. May the light of the new day at the beach start your healing. It is a process. We are always here for you. XOXO – Bacon

  8. I’m so glad to hear that you are finding your way……..you, Emily and Penny have a “love circle” – yes it has an empty spot but memories are filling it slowly but surely. Each new day is an opportunity to take one more step forward. TOGETHER.

    Pam and Sam

  9. Connie Taylor says:

    Sunrises promise so much each day. I’m glad you, Emily, and Penny got to share this one as the first of many more great promises to come to all of you! Thanks for the blog this morning, its helped not only you, but the rest of your fans.

  10. iamparool says:

    It takes deep courage to be broken open, broken hearted and still filled with love for the one you lost and the ones you have and resist being swallowed up by the grief.

  11. OhMelvin says:

    I have been reading your posts, reliving the last year and half with (and without) Melvin and Jake and I so badly want to reach out to you and make it better or easier. The truth is, right now, grief is collecting on the debt of your love. I can only tell you what so many others have, that one day, the weight of it will lift. When I think of Melvin, there is no weight, if there is, it’s joy to have had him near me. It’s only been 3 months since I lost Jake but even still, the grief is not hurtful as it was those first few weeks. I’m so, so sorry that you are in this place, without Eko, but I’m so happy he was yours and that your girl’s are helping to guide you through all the sunrises and sunsets. #loveliveson

  12. fran welch says:

    I know how it hurts, Penny i wonder what is going thru her beautiful mind. Missing her playmate, running the beach is not as much exciting n fun. What an adjustment for her as well but the beautiful thing of getting thru this is with the ones u love, Penny n Emily. I love u all, i lost two of my favorite dogs within 5 weeks n it is not fun to miss Bocker n Eko who were part of my life but not my immediate dog family. My love, prayers to u all n my heart bleeds for Penny who may not understand, who knows what she knows.

  13. Emmadog says:

    That was beautiful. You are right. It is important to create a new way of facing the world using the situation life has dealt you. I’m sure Penny appreciated those romps too.

  14. Michael Bondor says:

    I’ve been expecting this entry. Life is fuller than we know. My best wishes to you and your family. (And by the way, “I’m coming with you” is what my dearest would say. You are a lucky man! Never take it for granted).

  15. KarenS says:

    Will. What beautiful post, the sunrise bringing on a new day. And it also taking you forward. When we lose a loved one we have to heal in our own way and in our own time, the sun came up and you shared it with the two that you love so much. The healing is beginning.

    Thanks again for sharing not only your emotions, but your words. Thanks for taking that next step.

  16. So familiar with the pain you are experiencing I have cried from every post about Eko. Its an experience of loss that never goes away. We just learn to cope with it. Eventually you will be able to breath without pain and although your candle will be out …one day a different spark will happen inside. I love all of my dogs but some light a spark and others I just love and enjoy. I recently found another spark and having lost my first spark now fully comprehend the special nature of the relationship. A relationship that deep never leaves you. I was afraid as time passed that I would lose the smell..the sense of their company. But you don’t. Eko’s memory will stay strong and you will remember him more easily as the years pass. And what a gift of life it was to have the years you did have. He was so fortunate to have you who could devote so much time to goofing off! I have a Penny by the way. Her name is Esme. She is about life and does not ever slow down to smell the roses the way my first ridgie did. So thankfully Penny is not gonna let you stay down for long and will pull your heavy heart through the days.

  17. Boomdeeadda says:

    Oh no! Hello Will and Emily. It’s been a while since I was able to visit but here, I read your heart wrenching post and choke back the tears for your pain. I’m so sorry for your loss of sweet Eko. This must be unbareable at times. I know Penny will help bridge the way to happier days. She needs you, she loves you and she will show you the way to go forward. Gentle hugs from Kelly

  18. Aud says:

    I’m sure Eko was smiling along with you three On that morning! And for a moment there I thought I saw Eko in the 3rd photo!! Joy and tears.

  19. And there is that human spirit rising to fight another day. Glad to see it!

  20. meANXIETYme says:

    What a beautiful post. Each day is a step forward. Each day you find ways of living in your “new normal”. I know how hard it is, and I’m so glad you have Emily by your side and Penny leading the way. Much love to your family as you continue on your journey.

  21. cafall says:


    Monty, Ramble and Harlow

  22. Geri Zeibert says:

    Will, I am so heartened to see you take those first baby steps into the light; it gives me hope. My girl Orflaith is fighting the cancer ravaging her body. Each time she will not eat, I think, is this the day I must make that awful decision that will take her from me? All she wants to do is lie on the deck outside. It does not matter if it is getting colder, darker or even raining; she just wants to be outside. Even outside, she spends most of her time sleeping. Then, inexplicably, she will suddenly begin eating again but not her kibble. She will eat yogurt or ground beef and rice, the next day she will turn up her nose at both! We are trying to take it day by day. But we know we are only postponing the day of reckoning. Your pain comes howling off the page. I fear it. I know it is coming for me. I know I am going to lose her. You had know idea that you would lose Eko so soon. You had no chance to prepare. I wonder which is worse.

  23. Pam says:

    Ego’s spirit is still bounding down that beach with you even if you can’t see him.

  24. Cindy Delgatto says:

    My very favorite picture of this post is the last one. Paw in hand….a new dawn rising in the background. That one picture says so much about this journey.

  25. Ellen Quilty says:

    What a beautiful post.Beautiful pictures and even more beautiful words.You are embracing grief as you should and also using all the tools at your disposal to make it a tiny bit better if only for a few seconds.You are saying that you just lost your dear,sweet Eko and are in great pain but you are realizing what you still have.You have Emily,you have Penny,you have your brother and a long list of other people and things in your life.And hundreds of strangers who are checking in with you every day and pulling for you.I hope all those things will eventually help you to feel a little less sad about Eko’s loss.

  26. Melody says:

    Good to hear you are finding a way to ease the pain from you and Penny. It is a dificult time and after just a year, I miss my boy each day but smile to know we had many years together.

    I had hope to one day to meet Eko and Penny since they so reminder me of younger versions of my Zonkal and Luna. Unfortunately, I will not be blessed with meeting Eko.

    Take care!!

  27. Vincent says:

    I’m sitting here in tears reading about the anguish you must be going through about your loss and don’t even know you (or Eko) in person. I initially came across your postings on YouTube while ‘researching’ Ridgebacks and started following your blog, later also on Instagram, because the way you expressed your devotion to your dogs in such an inspirational way. I was devasted by the tragic news and after reading this really hope there are many more such sunrises for the three of you. May God bless yu

  28. Stef Luciano says:

    You write so beautifully Will and this brought tears to my eyes as has every installment since Eko’s death. Thank you for sharing and hopefully we, your family from afar, are bringing you some peace as well.

  29. Jodi Wood says:

    You are amazing Will. I love reading your words. I want to read each and every one of these comments, and will when I can. Thank you for your inspiration. Keep it up and it will get better. I do know. 🙂

  30. I loved that the 3 of you sought out the sunrise at the beach. Here’s to many, many more joyful early moments of sunshine with Ms. Penny.

  31. Ben van Velzen says:

    Dear Will and Emily,

    I stumbled on your blog, because of a shared post on a Dutch Ridgebackaccount on Fb. It was posted there because of the fact that she was a follower of your blog and she was devistated by Eko’s departure, which she wanted to share with other RR-owners/doglovers.
    I was immediatly drawn into your grief, due to your explicite way of writing over such personal feelings. And having had “dogs” for over 30 years (and still a young RR), i can imagine your pain. I don’t know if Eko was the first companion you have to miss, but believe me, the aching pain will become less, but the memories won’t. Keep this special room in your heart for Eko and leave the door unlocked. But I have no doubt about that.
    Please continue to write on your blog, your writing is full of hope and strenght for the future. ” Grief is the price we pay for love, and despite the cost, it’s always worth it”, is what you wrote and it shows that you’re ready to continue loving your remaining companions and life.

    Greetings from Diever, the Netherlands


    (P.s.I hope you will forgive me my English writing, it’s rather rusty,)

  32. Liz Jones says:

    Will, I have been in mourning since my grandson was found dead on April 30. I have added mourning Eko since I have been following you for years now. It all hurts the same. I hope Penny makes it less painful for you. When I read your post about Eko dying, I felt like I too lost a great friend, no more silly costumes that he let you dress him in, no more romps with other dogs, no more happiness. You and Emily and Penny will survive, it will take a long time to heal, but just remember all the good times you have had. I try to do that everyday.

  33. Jo Rhodes says:

    Thought of you this morning on my way to work. So glad to see you guys are out of bed and bounding down the beach. Eko is there with you. He’s just riding in your hearts now. I hate that the world doesn’t stop when we lose some one. Rest assured it did for us. We stopped for your family. Now we wait as you start taking those small steps back. Come on now guys. There’s adventure to be had, and we’re right here with you!
    Love, Jo, Sam and Dean<3

  34. TheRidgebackLife says:

    Yep, Emily is a keeper.
    I am so pleased that the sun was able to poke it’s way through the clouds and give you a sunrise worthy of Eko’s memory. The sliver of red/orange on the horizon is vibrant for the season. I think the clouds are quite symbolic of your sorrow, whereas the sun brings life along with a new day. Beautiful pictures and even more beautiful words. Welcome back, Will.

  35. Eve says:

    Loved all these photos of your new day in the sun with your girls! I agree that EKO was right there with you all on the beach running! Glad to read this new post has brought you somewhat back. Take it one step at a time and you will get there when it is time for you to. Love and hugs to you all.

  36. So beautiful to read. I feel sorry for your loss of Eko. A beautiful dog with a lot of humor! Eko left this world way too early, but he is still in Emily, Penny and your heart. Beautiful pictures. Love and hugs to you all from me and my RR Shania.

  37. I am crying again…..some tears happy that you found the strength to visit the beach, some tears happy that Emily and Penny were with you…….but sad tears that Eko wasn’t…wait…yes he was……not in the physical form, but he was with you………watching you all from above and smiling ((((hugs))))

  38. Karen in Oregon says:

    Reminds me of a sign in front of a random coffee place the weekend our dog passed away. It was like it was put there for me: “You can take away the sun, but I’m still going to shine”. That simple phrase got me thru some dark moments.

    The deeper the broken heart, the richer experience you are mourning. You all were very blessed, even if your time together was too short. And, dang, it sure was too short.

  39. Joan says:

    All you can do is just keep putting one foot in front of the other, or should I say paw. Life always finds a way. Welcome back.

  40. Together forever! A lovely post and beautiful photos!

  41. […] did I retreat mightily. I locked myself in that shrine in my heart and tried to bar the doors. But Emily pushed me, Penny pulled me, and thousands steadied me as I learned to live outside myself […]

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