As FOR THE SENDER is making its first small steps out into the world, we've been playing shows where we present the letters and songs through video and live performance. Some people cry as they watch the video of my dog (and best friend) on the day she died, but I know they aren't crying for her. They are crying for their own loss. Maybe the loss of a parent, or their childhood, or their spouse, or their identity. That's how we are part of the same conversation... we just call our triumphs and tragedies, however big or small, by different names. Mine was a labrador named Kona. I recently came across something I wrote the week Kona died, and I thought I'd share it as the first blog on FOR THE SENDER. Thanks for listening (and reading)- Alex
Many of you met my black lab Kona at some point over the last 13 years, either on the road or at my home. She ran deep in more people than just me. But she ran deepest in me. I said goodbye to Kona on Monday night. As her breathing slowed, a single tear dropped from her left eye onto my shorts. The vet said it would be better not to think of it as crying, but that's what it was. That tear held love, thanks, and goodbye. And then she was gone. I made my way out of the house and took Stella on a run, crying most of the way down the street while folks driving or walking by wondered whether or not they should ask me what was wrong. We ran on the beach for a long time. I stopped once because the crying was stronger than the breathing and sat down on the sand. Stella came running up to me and dropped something at my feet. It was a little green plastic fish, the kind you might find floating in a kid's bathtub. She carried that little fish all the way to the stretch of beach in front of the house, where I took all my clothes off and walked out into the water. Stella followed me out until the surf got too big for her to clear, and then waited for me as I came back to the sand. I pulled my shorts back on, walked up the stairs and into the house, and took a shower. I slept without dreaming. I posted "The Table" for Kona on alexwoodard.com. We recorded it just days before I found out that she had cancer. When I wrote it, I didn't know she was dying. And now I know I wrote it for her. If you come to my house, you will probably see a little green plastic fish sitting up on the mantle. Stella was sitting in front of the fireplace this morning, staring up at the little fish. I gave it to her and she now has it nestled next to her on her bed. i'll post a photo of stella and the fish on myspace in a minute. We both will be saying goodbye for a long time.