This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. Normally, we aren’t ones for writing about sadness. We aren’t ones for writing about things we would like to forget. But…sometimes you have to tell a story the way it is. Sometimes you have to tell a story to help someone else. Sometimes you have to tell a story to help yourself.
We have been to countless campgrounds over the last three years. At some campgrounds, we stay a day or a few days. At some campgrounds we stay a little longer. At some campgrounds it seems like we wear out our welcome. Ok. That’s just Digby.
At this particular campground that we are at now, they let us stay a little more than others. It’s a good thing, because we love the beach and we can walk to it every day and night.
We get to know the other people here. And we get to make friends. That was the case with Bob and his little dogs last year when this was were we were parked.
When we first got to the campground, Bob was our campground host. He made sure that our light was working in our campsite.
We talked and he told us about his dogs and how much he loved them. Some were rescues. Some were very old. Even older than me. And Bob made sure to tell us what a good job we were doing trying to help other animals too. He sure did love his dogs. He sure did. And it seemed like most dogs loved Bob.
It might have had something to do with the treats in his pocket. Or it could have been when he was driving in his car and saw us walking. He would pull over, get out of his car and sit down on the side of the road so we could give him some love. Bob did that. Now, Bob was grumpy too. And we even liked that. He liked to complain. He liked to be irritated some days. He liked that a lot. But when he saw us or any dogs, his voice changed. He turned all gushy. And we did too.
Most days at camp, you would hear Bob’s leaf blower. He liked a very clean campsite. You would hear Bob’s cart go by. And at night, Bob hooked up his little homemade dog cart and there they went on their rounds. He made sure to tell us it was early to bed and up at 2 a.m. for a snack.
Anyone just passing thru camp for a night or so may not have talked to Bob. And I suppose that we were very fortunate to have met him. We would have never imagined when we got back to this camp months later that Bob would be gone. His dogs would be with someone else. And we would have never imagined Bob would have taken his own life here at camp. And left us all with an empty spot in our hearts.
I understand depression. I hear Girl Person speak of it all the time. I hear her and I hear Boy Person talk about their sadness and how some days it’s hard to be ok. Us dogs have that too. But we can’t talk about it. You can though. Bob needed to as well. And maybe he thought no one heard him. Maybe he wanted to talk about missing his wife.
Maybe he wanted to talk about how he didn’t feel good. Maybe he wanted to talk about how he was scared. We just don’t know. Because he only gave us love and treats and kindness. And we wish that we didn’t have to say he was gone. And it makes me wonder how many others need to talk. And they don’t. When they are gone, we wonder, like we wonder about Bob. Bob seemed to give his all to his dogs and others and left nothing for himself. Please let Bob’s memory be a lesson. Don’t give everything you have to everyone else and leave nothing for yourself. Ration out the love and leave some for you.
It seems that life circles the same no matter where you are. And the campground definitely shows you a bigger picture of life. People move in, they move out. Faces change, stories change. Some you may know for a little while and some a little longer. But just when you think you have it all figured out, you don’t. You go to look for someone in a campsite and they’re gone. You go away for a bit and come back, and everything is the same but it’s changed. You go back to your favorite campsite and it feels somehow different. Because you are.
This will always be Bob’s campground. We will forever forget he is gone and stop at his campsite for a treat. We will look for his dogs on his RV dash which isn’t there anymore. He made sure they would be taken care of and we can only hope they are barking away wherever they are.
The last time we saw Bob, we were walking to the beach. He was in his car. He pulled over. And he got out. He sat in the middle of the road, gave Digby a back rub, and I ignored him. Some may have regrets about that. But Bob understood and told me he had had a hard day too. He said he would catch me later. Being a grump doesn’t mean you don’t care for others. We knew that about Bob. How many people do we judge by one interaction or one introduction? We never, ever know what someone could be dealing with, who they miss or what they battle with. Bob may have felt alone. But in his company, we felt important. We wish we would have said it.
Not all will understand why Bob left us. But we can’t judge someone else’s despair based on how we would handle the same. When you look around you today, notice who is there. Imagine their spot empty. And then think about how you can tell them they matter. It may make a difference if they need to hear it. It may not. But don’t leave your spot with regrets.
–Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle