Friendship

I got a text message from my former neighbor in Ohio today. They’d had a wonderful snow storm and she sent pictures of the old neighborhood under newly fallen snow. It hit all the buttons for me. Memories of raising my three kids there and the wonderful people I met there. I was content there for the most part and I felt very connected to my across the street neighbor.

We’ve not lost touch and I’ve been able to watch her children grow up through the miracle of Facebook. I feel close to her despite the miles between us. Maybe it’s a “mom thing” or maybe it’s because I witnessed her deep sorrow and devastation at the loss of a child and the birth of a child all at the same time. I don’t know what it is, but I feel a kinship with this woman although I only knew her for a short time before I left Ohio.

The text message and pictures brought tears to my eyes. It is meaningful to me that I was thought of and reached out to. I’m so grateful.

The Risk of Loving & the Rainbow Bridge

I heard or read somewhere in recent weeks that the risk of loving is loss. Until today, this didn’t really “hit” me.

Today, hearing that a friend’s beloved pet was sent over the rainbow bridge, it is hitting me. And I’m remembering the deep grief that my family has experienced with the loss of a beloved pet. Sam, Nouk, Kelly, Tasha, Lille, Max … all critters who lived with me and were such a big part of my family at one time or another. Who wagged their tail or sat on my lap or went for a walk in the woods with me. Fur family.

My Fur Babies & My Guy

My Fur Babies & My Guy

Loving is being willing to take a risk. A risk that we can give a piece of ourselves to another being and be embraced and accepted as we are. It’s humbling and makes us very vulnerable when we let a person or a pet have a piece of our heart. The honeymoon phase of love is that new, wondrous, can’t get enough of it which then grows, if we’re lucky, to the place where we can trust and depend on the love to be there for us when we need it. And when we don’t need it. And in return, we show up for them, too. Protection from danger, a comfort when we don’t feel well, sharing in life’s experience both good and not so good.

Pets are so special in that they ask very little in return for the love they lavish on us. They don’t judge us when we don’t feel like taking a shower or getting out of bed. They still love us when we get angry at them because WE forgot to get them outside before they made a mistake. They’re happy to see us when we get home, greeting us at the door, tails wagging. They’re excited about the same old kibble every time we give it to them (in our house, twice daily). They become an essential part of our days and nights.

So, when a pet dies, we experience a deep sense of loss. Perhaps a deeper loss than when we lose human friends. Because who else but our pet can truly love unconditionally? And we can feel it.

Lola, Max and Boq

Lola, Max and Boq

I swore, after Lille died, that I’d never have another dog. It was too heartbreaking. But years later, Lola & Boq entered my life and I’ve made them promise that they’ll never die. And while, on some level, I know that’s not possible, it makes me feel better for now. We’ve started to heal from the loss of Max and have invited Monk to live with us in our family. I’m sure I’ll make him promise, too. For today, he’s lucky he’s cute … because he’s so much puppy in a big brown body!

I’ve shed a few tears today for Pokey and for all the humans who loved him. I know he’s romping free of pain on the other side of the rainbow bridge. While the people who loved him mourn his loss with aching hearts.

The risk of love is loss. It’s hitting me today.

Gone knitting.

Rainbow-Bridge-Poem

To My Dad

"I want you to know that I built you a home in my heart. A place where our memories live and our love never fades." ~Brigitte Nicole

I realized today that it was the Ides of March and the anniversary of your death. Twenty-seven years have passed. I was almost 27 when you died. You’ve been gone as long as you were in my life. It seems that each year when I light the Yartzeit candle in your memory that the pain and sadness are just a little bit farther away. But when it comes time to really think about (and write about) the reality of living half of one’s life without a father, the tears flow. So, the pain is really still there and perhaps just as raw as it was the day that I got that surprise phone call from mom. I knew something was going on but expected her to tell me that the cat had died. Not you. We’ve missed so much time together. You’ve missed so much.

You’ve missed being here to enjoy your six bright, beautiful, unique grandchildren be born and grow up strong and independent. You’ve missed witnessing the marriage of your two sons and meeting your first-born who is a wonderful man. You’ve missed being here for so many birthdays and lobster dinners, successes and failures, Thanksgivings and school plays. Mom’s Alzheimer’s and pets. We all have missed having you to call about a legal issue or watching you puttering about in the yard with your too-high jeans and white socks. You missed the day I spotted the elusive Roseate Spoonbills and helping us chase the squirrels off the bird feeder in Maine.

I know you’re up in heaven watching over us all. I hope you and mom are getting along as you always expected us kids to do. Pat Kelly and Sam and Nouk for us. Hug Mom and Gram and Ethel. Seek out Rick and Charlottes parents and thank them for raising our big brother. They did a great job.

We carry you in our hearts. Always. I’m working hard to make sure you’ll be proud of me when we meet again.

I love you, Daddy,