For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Jun 20, 2014

The Empty Chair is Gone

Rich and I ran our business from our basement. It was unfinished on one side and crudely finished on the side where our office was. He used to laugh about our "low overhead". Certainly no fancy digs! I think Rich kept every piece of paper we ever had. I cleaned out his desk immediately after he died and put his personal belongings in bins and put them upstairs. I rarely went down there after that.

When working, he'd sit at his desk and Lizzie would lay at my feet all day except for lunch time. Then, at the same time each day, she would go up the stairs and flip the toilet seat and let it down with a bang. That was usually her sign that her water bowl was empty, but at lunch time it meant, "Come upstairs, and let's go to lunch!" Whenever she did it, Rich would always smile and say to me, "Let's blow this place for a while." Then we'd laugh.

My desk was over near the stairs. When Jack came along, he would come running like a fool, down the stairs, stick his head between the railings, steal a pencil out of my pencil holder and run back upstairs. We laughed every time he did it. He had so much extra skin on him that as he leaned down it would cascade forward into wrinkles - he looked more like a blood hound than a Lab. Such a character. We had shelving filled with books and other office supplies. Sometimes, he would come down with a bone and remove books from a box, put the bone in, and cover it back up with books. Then he'd look around, suspiciously, to see if we had been watching. We were always guilty, in his eyes, so he'd take the books out, again, retrieve his bone, and go through the same ritual in another spot. This went on daily.

The basement being empty for over 9 years left me with a job I couldn't finish on my own. I've prepared the past several months by filling one garbage bag at a time. My back just couldn't handle more than that. I put a few things aside that my kids want. My granddaughter's boyfriend just bought a house so I saved the shovels, spades, pitch fork, pole digger, etc., for him. There are a few other things that my kids wanted, too.  I think I probably had 50 contractor bags of stuff. Some I could get to the street, others I couldn't. Then, of course, there were the tools, the file cabinets, the desk, etc. The kids, a couple of times a number of years ago, had straightened it up for me, but as time passed it became like a dungeon--spider webs and all. 

Just before the men left around noon, one of them asked me, "Does this go?" I hesitated and felt a catch in my throat as I touched his chair one last time, and then watched it go. There was no reason to keep it, but...I'm feeling like I want to see it, again. This will pass, too. Another milestone behind me.

Jack First Day Home

Jack One Year Old

Lizzie 1st Day Home-So Tiny and Precious

Lizzie--Her First Trip West

Jack Slowing Down
Jack's Time to Do as Little or as Much as He Wants

Rich/Lizzie on Mt. Hebo Where He Was Stationed

No More Running Up and Down the Stairs

Lizzie Vogel State Park


  1. Beautifully written Nancy. Tears are running down my face. What a hard thing to do. I know others wouldn't agree with me but I've always said, the one who gets left is actually the unlucky one.

    1. You are so right, Sherry. I find myself telling Rich that he got off easy. Then, I fight with myself, and say, "I'd never want him to feel this pain." Sometimes it's not something I expect that catches me off guard, then sometimes I think something will bother me, and it doesn't.

  2. holy cats, Nancy ... your touching his chair just about made me bawl out loud ... instead I feel a heart tug and tears ... yes... another milestone.... jeeeeeeeez you've really had a bunch... so funny to read about Jack ~ hahaaa ... and Lizzie ~ WHAT smart dogs you have/had... and a wonderful love to remember until the day you die.

    that's good stuff...

    1. Made me bawl, too, Carolyn! Yes, Jack and Lizzie - very smart dogs, and yes I will have happy memories for as long as my memory lasts--sometimes I think that might be just around the corner! As always, thanks for stopping by. I'm between a rock and a hard place--I find myself wishing that I was wandering so I could write happy posts like everyone else, but then I realize that will mean that Jack will no longer be with me. Thanks for sticking with me through these mini-rants. Sometimes ya just gotta let it out, ya know? :)

    2. Yes indeed I do know! ;) ... that's why my ol blog is FULL or rants... lol ... I like to get it all out ... sure do...

      well? you'll wander when the mood hits. Jack, right now ... is what is happening. And... he's special enough to hold that wanderlust down... that ol wanderlust will be with us till we can't want to any longer.. just who we are ...

      I'm a gonna hug me a Jack right now... look at that face... hahaaa .. oh, me.... I just one of my favorite blogger's blog and a friend of hers dog was poisoned! my heart is just breaking.

      What KIND of rat bastard would do such a thing... I'm going to post her link ...

      ohhhh me... two bawls... right in a row! maybe I'll bawl some calories off... ?

    3. Oops, sorry for the two bawls right in a row! I left a message for Wendy and put her on my blog roll. So awful. Sometimes the world just does not make sense.

    4. Nancy! another blog pal sent this to me in my email ... thought you might get a kick out of it... ;)

    5. You are too funny, Carolyn! I felt sorry for that little guy. I think he must be tired when he wakes up!!!

  3. Oh Nancy, my heart aches for you and yet you are so strong. I so admire you and this post is so beautiful. I often look at the girls and cry because I know they are getting old (still going strong) but (sorry I'm so weepy). I just talked to my good friend Carol who lost her husband (Jim's best friend) two years ago. Her sons finally made her sell the house and move into a condo and she was in tears. You never get over missing them - somedays you just can deal with it better than others. Wish we were there so I could give you a hug. You are in my thoughts and prayers always.

  4. Having you for a blogging friend is great comfort, Sandie. I feel like I must make everyone feel like I whine. I really don't--just that some things stir me to write so it seems that way. As my kids tell me, I'm paying the price for having a great marriage with a wonderful man. I have a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes, though, it doesn't stop the flow of tears. I hope your friend, Carol, finds some peace in her new home. Except that my house is paid for, I sometimes think I should move, too. We'll see in the next year or so. Thanks, as always, for your kindness. Hope Jim got your toilet fixed and that I'm going to read about why you're in Bozeman! Such a nice town to walk in. I remember that so well so unless it's changed, enjoy your stay.

  5. The Empty Chair is Gone. What a heartbreaking statement. And how brave of you to let it go.

    How amusing of Lizzy to flip the toilet seat and let it down with a bang to tell you she needed water. And Jack, burying his bone in a box and then covering it up again with books. What a delight. How much you still miss them does not bear thinking about. And the fact that they had fur as apposed to skin matters not. I honestly don't think there is anything more special than an animal. Their loyalty and love knows no bounds. The human race could learn such a lot from them if only we were to open our eyes and our hearts.

    My heart goes out to you and those you have lost. And thank you once again for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog. So kind of you.

    Take care.

  6. Your doing a great job and in your own time. Some people get rid of things right away and others need the time to heal first and then slowly get it done.
    But like I have said before you have some very beautiful and special memories and the great pictures to go with them.

    We are sending Jack a big hug and pat. I loved the story about his hiding his bone and stealing your pencils. And Lizzie banging the toilet seat how clever she was too. Hang in there Nancy and know you are loved still whether here or in the heavens.

  7. Hi, Jo. So glad you stopped by. There's really no right or wrong way to deal with grief, as you said. We are all different and we handle things differently. Thank you for recognizing that.

    I do have great pictures and special memories. Jack thanks you and Fred for the hug. Yes, Lizzie was really very clever. Why, she could play the piano. What a riot she was. Thanks, again.


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