Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Like A Whisper

“Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the ideal.” – Victor Hugo
As the second anniversary of his death approaches, there’s an anxiety stirring up within many of us who miss Lee Mannix beyond words. We all know it is there, May 2, a date right around the corner that will bring to surface a gut-wrenching pain and for some, an anguish. We reach out to one another in a calm, evasive way to “check in”. Vague in our responses, but encouraging, we remind one another that he is looking down and smiling – on each of us – that carry on his work or simply carry on his dream.

Photo by Lara Gale
In death, I have to believe he is living the ideal…because I know he dreamed the "Utopia" during his time with us, here on earth.

Lee Mannix dreamed BIG and he shared his dream with so many of us. Some of us chose to accept such a dream and build with him, others frowned on his efforts as he did theirs. He was a cocky young pup with a “my way or the highway” approach…but through HIS dream, he shared a beautiful gift, with so many…                                

“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.” – Eugene Ionesco

He gifted the pet dog owner a down-to-earth way to better understand these beloved animals we call “companions” thereby creating a two-sided communication leading to greater relationships.

He gifted shelters and sanctuaries ingenious ways to improve quality of life for dogs during their stay, regardless of their fate.

He gifted countless rescue organizations his time and energy to aid them in saving one dog at a time and shared, too, the gift of letting go.

He gifted the pet therapy world a vision of animal assisted therapy available to dogs in need of jobs resulting in greater rehabilitation for all involved.

He gifted young, rookie dog trainers a chance to grow and fulfill their own dreams in the dog industry…helping dogs and helping people help dogs.

He gifted the canine. Oh God, he gifted the canine. An eternal gift, of sorts. In his death, above the clouds we know he continues his work with the companions we've lost...and here on earth, in the work of many of us (because he gave so much), he will continue to gift the canine. Eternally.

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”  – Author Unknown

And finally, the gift that changed my world…
On a silver platter, he handed me every bit of his knowledge, skill and talent; every bit of his passion. He never held back (except maybe when he was yelling at me…pushing me, the only way he knew how, to be better). He shared with wisdom, experience, and skill through smiles, laughter, blood and tears. Lots of smiles and so many tears…vividly, they fill my mind now. My goodness, I miss him. He watched me grow from a rookie crying in the middle of my first group class, to the professional who now holds the hand of rookies crying in the middle of their first group class! Lee Mannix entered my world as my mentor. Lee Mannix left this world as one of my very closest friends. He knew me inside and out, without words…he knew my heart, he knew my dream, he knew my passion…and my most prized notion – brought to me by Bart Emken – he knew my potential.  

In his dream, he was imperfect…in his training (though effective and naturally damn good), he was imperfect…as a man, he was imperfect…but in his gifts, he was beautifully perfect.

Last year, I spent this time (the first anniversary of Lee's death) in Utah, in Zion, alone and searching for some sort of peace. Zion is where I learned that a soul can scream louder than loud in anguish. The echo, I remember, exemplified the hurt of many others I knew were right there with me, in spirit, holding my hand as I faced my own grief…as I faced my own loss and each of theirs as well. This year, that scream remains within my own body. The screaming, you see, it is still there…the loss…the anguish…the grief. It is all still there. I wonder, with tears, when will it fade? When will it get softer? I need this hit to be softer. And as I hear myself scream – inside my own body – under my breath, I realize that I hear no echo this time. I’m not screaming out loud anymore. It must be softer, like a whisper.

Rest in peace, Mannix. ~ Kimberly