An insignificant date to most people, but for me it brings back anniversaries of two powerful events . Fifteen years ago, K9 Rocky was shot in the line of duty and on this date nine years ago, I had to put him down which buckled me to a level of depression I had never experienced. Fortunately, writing his story pulled me through some very dark times and Rocky’s website has pleasantly brought attention to him which I have always felt is well deserved.
The journey to see his life preserved in print was long and arduous with innumerable conversations along the way. Oddly, I had a conversation of enlightenment with, of all people, my boss. We were out of town on business and while poking at the hotel’s complimentary plate of cool scrambled eggs, he asked about Rocky’s book.
Unexpectedly, our chat deepened when I explained how after Rocky’s death, I guzzled a lot of beer to numb my senses and distance myself from utter heartbreak.
Admittedly, it was my easy way out.
Rocky’s death broke me and I may never be whole again. Beer became my coping mechanism to deal with the bleakness and after weeks of the liquid diet, a coworker pressed me to write Rocky’s story.
Pounding beers was my cowardly,effortless solution.
But, the day arrived that I sat and began to mindlessly peck at the keyboard. Although I had no outline to follow, I immediately discovered that the more I wrote, the better I felt. Thirst for beer fell by the wayside as my self-diagnosed OCD instead target locked on his story. It took roughly two months to complete the most primitive draft followed by years and years of fiddling with the words to craft them into the best story I could muster. This tinkering with words allowed me to spend quality time with Rocky in a new and different way.
I explained all of this to my boss and then, I actually surprised myself as I spoke. “Writing Rocky’s story most likely saved me from myself. I was headed down a dead end road of self-destruction… “
I should be embarrassed, but I’m not. I was fully aware of the dark road I was traveling and, at the time, I simply did not care. I had no idea what else to do, where to go, or how to cope with such lethal pain.
However, despite the high speed tail spin of self-destruction, I’m fortunate as I lucked into finding another direction to follow since the challenge to craft his life into words trumped my wayward vice.
So, once again, thanks Rocky. Your death absolutely devastated me and oddly, after all these years and over breakfast with my boss, I realized writing your story probably saved me from myself.
I dearly miss you my friend.