Saturdays are hard. Eight Saturdays ago, Patrick didn’t show up to walk dogs … I called and couldn’t get him at his house, which was odd, but odder still was that I couldn’t get him on his cell. He always answered his cell. When I’d left him at the Bar and Grill, he’d been chatting with a woman, so I thought who knows? maybe he got lucky? Last thing he needs is his panicky sister tracking him down. But I was annoyed. After waiting until well after nine, which is weekend dog-walking time, I loaded the dogs in the car and decided to head down to Pine Creek, which is a good hike if you’re alone, because it’s pretty busy there and hence, the grizzly bear danger is fairly low. Also, should one sprain an ankle or something, you’ll be found.
Driving out of town I passed his apartment, and his truck wasn’t in front. I got that bad feeling in my stomach, but thought to myself “No, you always think he’s dead on the road. He only had four blocks to drive to get home and if anything had happened someone would have called.” I really did think that. Gave myself greif for being a worrywart. Figured maybe he’d had to go back over to Big Sky for a job — he’d been working over there a lot and there’s no cell coverage.
So off I went with the dogs to Pine Creek. It was a beautiful morning and we had a nice hike, although I was annoyed with Patrick for blowing me off like that. Pine Creek is about a mile hike or so up to a lovely waterfall — the trail winds through pine forest, and crosses the creek a couple of times. The dogs adore it because there are grouse up there and other good things to smell. The drive down and back through the Paradise Valley is enough to cheer anyone up.
I got back from hiking with the dogs, and did a little puttering around in the garden, then headed back out to the hammock to read. That’s where I was when I heard the front gate open, about two or so in the afternoon. I didnt’ get up, figuring it was Patrick and he’d come wandering back into the yard. No one did come back though, and the dogs were still barking up a storm, so that’s when I went up front to investigate. And that’s when Mike Fitzpatrick, the assistant coroner, came around into my side garden to give me the news.
I’m mostly doing okay, greiving, but doing okay. But Saturdays are hard. Puttering around my house on a Saturday is now overlain with this whole other shadow, which is, that that other Saturday, while I was annoyed, and hiking Pine Creek, and puttering around my house, Patrick was lying dead in that meadow off the Cokedale Road. He was being found and loaded into the ambulance and taken to the hospital and then to the funeral home. He was dead the whole time.
I used to love nothing more than puttering around my house on a Saturday, and for a while I guess, I’ll just have to live with this sort of jittery feeling about it. Like most grief-related things, I have faith that it’ll get better over time. So today I’m going to pull weeds, plant bulbs, meet Wendy-the-Buddhist and her kids at the playground, hike Pine Creek with Bill and Maryanne and a friend of theirs, then there’s an art opening tonight.I’m busy, I’m surrounded by wonderful people who love me, but it’s still hard. Saturdays are now the day when Patrick really doesn’t come through my front gate.