Last weekend I loaded up the doggers and headed up to farm-sit for Julie. I was almost to her place when I got the call that a good friend, Dan King, had passed away unexpectedly. I had to pull over and stop as my mind and heart were just stunned. It has been very difficult to wrap my head around Dan being gone.
The moment I met Dan he instantly made me feel like he *saw* me, and not only that but accepted me and cared for me (and my dogs) exactly as I was. Dan was always ready with a cup of coffee in the mornings at a dog trial, or a glass of wine beside his camper upon arrival. There have been very few dog trials that I've been to where Dan wasn't there - and it won't be the same without him. This world won't be the same without him. My heart aches for his family, and all of his friends. There have been a lot of amazing tributes to him all over the Internet, and every time I read one more I cry anew. It is touching to see that one life really can and has made a difference to so many others.
I don't have any photos of Dan that I took myself - however I have several photos that he took of me and my dogs, which I value. I will remember the weekend of the cherry pit spitting contest, and the first sushi sampling because of him. So many things to remember and I hope that his kind and accepting spirit will be something that the rest of us take away.
He saw the good in my dogs, the good in my runs (even when I didn't), and the good in other people. He was a model of how to welcome and encourage other people - and I hope I can learn more of that lesson and emulate it.
My heart is heavy, and I don't feel much like offering up anything funny (though there was this one rooster incident that involved me poking him with a leafy branch to try to dislodge him from his perch so that I could close the chicken-house door). I couldn't make the memorial, but I've been taking some time to reflect and mourn.
Godspeed, Dan, until we all meet again.