Heart Wide Open

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 I fell in love with this handsome young man many years ago.

Roy10The handsome young man with bright blue eyes and a heart of Gold.

Roy12The handsome young man who is still in love with me and I still in love with him.

Through thick and thin we are sticking together.

He supports me in all the crazy things I do and I put up with him because he sees me through.

My Rockin’ Roy.  My rock of life.  In my heart and in my soul.


This story of love.

This story about Roy and the journey he is on.

The journey we are both on.

Roy-8Everywhere life is full of beauty and perfection.

_MG_0380We go along happy as can be, thinking we have life all figured out and then POW!!

Roy-7That happy life you thought you had all figured out suddenly gets sad.

But you can’t have happiness without sadness.

Just like you can’t have life without death.Roy-6Roy has been on a journey since the day he was born.

He has risen to every challenge put in front of him and found happiness in doing it.

Roy-2He has figured out many things about this life, his life.

Roy-3 Like how to catch what you want.

IMG_9067And be proud of it.

Roy-5Roy has perfected the art of being alone.

Of sitting quietly and taking in beauty.

Roy-4Accepting company even when he might want to be alone.

RoyThe beauty of Roy is he often finds joy in what ever situation he may be in.

In sickness and in health.

Roy8 He easily sets aside the pain and struggles of life.

In sickness and in health.

He works on finding solutions.Roy6 Patiently waiting for love.

Roy13And finding it.  In sickness and in health.

Roy5I have not always been but I am now a like a guest in Roy’s life.

Roy3He calls the shots and I try to stay in the background.

Roy7Like the sunrise, mountains and the river.

Roy-11Caregiving can be exhausting.

You have to remain tender and soft.

While trying not to lose your life and soul and balance.

Roy-12You get lonely and sometimes a little resentful.

Which does not help when meeting life’s unwelcome challenges.

Roy-10So I preserve my energy and keep calm.

I remember to see beauty.

I remember to be grateful.


 Sometimes we get what we want.

Sometimes we lose what is precious to us.

Joy and sorrow are part of this deal we call life.

Roy2So get all the joy you can while you still can.

Life is full of hidden treasures.

Make a point of finding them.

_MG_0297My treasure is my Roy, my rock, my love.

A more informative note.  

Because I know many want to know.

Roy has entered a new chapter in his fight against brain cancer.

The fight is over.  We are at a new juncture.

The harsh treatments and chemotherapy have ended.   Because we said so.

Although we can’t ignore the predictions and the prognosis any longer, we are living life to the fullest.

Even if that means lying in bed watching old movies.

I am committed and honored to take care of Roy in this final phase of his life.

I have learned to get rid of anger, fear and frustration.   Most of the time!

I can pick up the pieces of my life some other day.

Roy is weak but in no pain. What a blessing 🙂

He still loves food.  We eat, we eat!

And yes……He knows he is in the final phase of his life.

He admits to occasional fear but is facing the reality of diminishing immortality ever so valiantly.

We are ever grateful for family and friends and healers who are guiding us through this difficult time.

Adios Amigos

50 thoughts on “Heart Wide Open

  1. Jo, what a brave letter you have written. Love and peace to you, Roy, family and friends. May we all learn to handle the end of life as confident, brave and loving as you both are. Thank you for sharing and allowing all of us who love you to be a part of your journey. Love.


    • Thank Sue. You are right on target. It took me a lot of time and thought to get the strength up to write this one. When you start a happy go lucky blog about your life on a ridge with all the crazy animals you never think the subject will take a turn like this. Although we try to laugh about anything we can it is hard to write a humorous post about end of life. I thought it was important to let everyone know what was going on in my own way instead of a post on facebook or a email. I would like to encourage everyone to share on facebook so word gets around. Hugs, JO


  2. Your photographs as well as your words always still a story so beautifully. I wish I had words half as beautiful to say here. You two have had a paradise together; both in each other and in the beautiful place you live. Brent and I are so sad hearing of this news. Loving thoughts and prayers to both of you.
    XO-Brent and Judy


    • Thank you Judy. When I think about you I think about Ukiah. I reminisce about the time when you and Brent came to pick her up as a tiny puppy many years ago, such excitement! It’s memories like that that make me cry but happy at the same time. So happy to keep in touch. Hugs, Jo


  3. I love Rockn’n Roy !! OOOps, mis spell,but, I like it so leaving it !!! What fantastic photo’s… you both are so brave… and real ….. I will drop my rake to come rake for you anytime !! & we need to meet up soon. big Hugs Mustang


  4. Jo, you so beautifully expressed the strong love you and Roy share with one another. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings at this turning point that we all must face someday. Sending you and Roy positive energy. Love is the highest vibrational energy and it will carry you both as you need it. All life ends, but love is eternal. Much love, Pat and Deb


    • Yes, life ends, that is a lesson I am learning big time right now. Of course I’ve gone through loosing many of my animals in the last 5 years but when it is your husband….well it is huge. It is not easy to face it or talk about it but we must. I hope Roy and I can inspire others to face end of life strait on for others that may come to a fork in the road like this. Better to go with strength and dignity. Yes love is getting us through. Hear Wide Open! Love you two. JO


  5. Jo, Thank you so much for taking great care of Roy. I know you both had a wonderful
    married life together. This is so sad. I will miss him so much. God bless you both.
    Love, Mom (Lois)


    • Oh Lois… having to watch your son as he transitions from this life and to loose your child is the worst thing any parent can go through. Taking good care of Roy and writing about what a fantastic man he was and STILL is in this whole ordeal is the least I can do. Thank you for being there as his Mom and caring for him while I go to work. Thankfully only once a week 🙂


  6. Your love and strength are an inspiration for all who will face the inevitable. Thanks for taking the time to share your life and end of life experiences in such a thoughtful and beautiful way.
    Love always,


    • Thank Pat. Yup the almighty inevitable is right! The wonder is we never know how we are going to go. As I commented to Roy’s mom, Roy is showing us how it is done. I’m trying to do what I think I would want if I was dying like Roy. To be kept safe, fed what I want, taken where I want, to be with who I want, and lastly taken care of in case I get into some trouble in the dying process. Love to you too Pat, Jo


  7. You have found (and communicated) the grace in witnessing the dying process. Dying ain’t pretty nor does it follow a straight road, but Roy is lucky to have you, as you are to have him. And you both are lucky to have the four legged goof balls surrounding you. Peace.


  8. Jo
    I am at a loss for words. Thank you for sharing your journey. Its needs to be said and shared. I am so sorry that you and Roy are at the end. I am glad for all the time you had together and that your love is still so strong. Hugs!!!!!


  9. We are all here for you, Jo and Roy, with all our love and best wishes! Life is to enjoy, sweet or bitter, and we have Golden with us, to ride along the journey. 🙂


  10. Jo,
    Your words speak volumes to those who are on the same journey or have walked a mile on the same path. We don’t often share the personal pain of losing a husband
    before they are gone. It’s only after. I commend you and send my heartfelt love to you and Roy. Thank you, I could have used your wisdom back in 2004 myself.
    You have expressed what every wife feels when her husband is fighting cancer.
    Linda C in Seattle


  11. Jo, this is a beautiful tribute to Roy. He is very lucky to have you in his life and you are lucky to have him in yours. I hope this final chapter will be filled with calm loving moments that will bring peace to both of you.

    I love you both.



    • Hi Lisa sorry for the belated response. I could barely blog much less return my comments back in October. I miss Roy most as a wonderful companion. Hard to go back and look over photos especially our good times at Tahoe. We had so much fun together. I am forever grateful for together with him. Jo


  12. Jo,
    What a beautiful sharing of your love. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope we meet again down the road. Comes w/ a hug.


  13. Dear Jo,
    I have been wondering how things are going. If you need anything, just let me know. sending warm thoughts to you both as you trek down this bittersweet path. Anything… Cheree


    • What an artful and beautiful story, Jo. And what an excellent reminder about the fragility of the most precious gift that we call life. -Kathleen


  14. Jo, may every day be blessed for you and Roy. May you find happiness in every moment. Thank you for sharing and your beautiful post. We have been blessed to be part of your life.


  15. Jo-
    We are all with you at this time. Please reach out when you need our help. You have been the rock for Roy and all this past year. Take this time slowly to work through everything.


  16. Thinking of you and wondering how you are doing, thank you for your posts on your beautiful dogs & husband. My prayers are with you all. Look forward to meeting you some day, always wanted to take a lesson from you. I love your photos!


  17. I was just wandering through my old posts… and I saw you Jo of the Sundog Drift… You wrote such beautiful words, full of commitment and intensity… thank you for that. Each of us is sometime confronted with such situations… I was as well… he was my dad… and I wish I had such clearness in my mind.
    Be in peace and be strong… love is still always there, where it belongs, inside your heart.
    Serenity :-)claudine


  18. So beautifully written.

    I’m very behind in reading some of my favorite blogs, which includes yours. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Rockin’ Roy. He had some wonderful eyes. But, of course, you knew that. I understand how a loss can leave such a deep hole in the heart. My previous wife, Andrea, and I loss our third daughter, Kyle, 16 years ago to SIDS. Tough, tough time, but a day does not go by where the both of us think of her. And, two months ago, my mom passed away after living a long, full life. The circle of life tests us in differing ways, but we hope we are passing that test.

    All of our best to you and your beautiful Sun Dogs, Jo.


    • Thank you David. I am sorry for your tough losses. Loosing a child. That is one of the toughest losses. I think you said it best by saying not a day goes by without without you thinking of your daughter. That is how it is. I hope I get to live on and live a long life like your mom. We all do!


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