Love and Grief are a Package Deal


Love and grief are a package deal. ~Elaine Mansfield

Yesterday John and I spent a few hours at his sister Donna’s house who lost her husband of twenty years a little over five months ago. Donna and I are the same age having graduated together. Words can’t express how my heart hurts for her as she now must move forward in a new way without the love of her life.

It’s certainly a time when one re-examines their own life when something like this happens. While you can understand to a certain degree what she is going through, one can never fully know until we each are faced with it. And grief…so very personal.

But Donna was in good spirits and is making steps forward which was a relief to both John and my hearts. She is such a beautiful, bright spirit in this world – and I’ve always said is the female version of John. They both know how to make other’s laugh and something I’ve adored about them both since I’ve known them.

John and I were both lost in our own thoughts, driving the hour home, when I saw this quote, love and grief are a package deal on my friend, Monica’s Instagram page. While I know this to be true, it really sank deeper in my being reading it at that particular moment.

The thought still on my mind as Donna is, while I puttsed around the house this morning, feeding the hummingbirds, changing the water in the bird bath, I look up to see a chipmunk sunning himself in the sun on the rock in the garden.

Whooosssh went my emotions…a heaviness in my heart for Donna while a moment of love for the sweetness of this dear little chippie looking so adorable on that rock. Oh, how he made my heart smile! So appropriate his timing, I thought. How chipmunks are so playful, skittering here and there, building new paths wherever they go.

And what I wish for Donna as she learns to navigate her world in a new way…that her heart will smile again someday too. One of the hardest things to endure….grief….but that to have loved with one’s whole heart is so worth it. So very worth it.

Thank you for sharing and subscribing to my blog updates.

How I Stopped Comparing My Dog Joie, to My Deceased Dog, Frankie

How I Stopped Comparing My Dog Joie, to My Deceased Dog, Frankie

Last week in celebration of the release of my new book, Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift I did my first ever live event on Facebook. I was quite nervous, but afterwards I received such wonderful feedback from many – it made it all very well worth it and I’m so glad I  took the plunge. If you didn’t have a chance to watch live, you can view the recording here.

But one question I got, which I think is important to expand on is this one from viewer, Sharon: “How did you resolve your issue of comparing Joie to Frankie?”

I do write about this in Wisdom Found in the Pause, but what I came to understand is that I had so closely tied my identity to Frankie and all my work with her, that when she died, I felt like I had lost my sense of purpose.  And we all know how so many of us search a for what seems a good long time to find our purpose – and many that feel they never find one.

Even though I’d been feeling this nudge to expand, I didn’t quite know what that looked like. So it felt more comfortable to think I’d continue to do what I’d always done, instead of marinating in the feelings I was experiencing that I was being called to end the chapter I defined as “Frankie.” While I truly wanted another special needs dachshund to love and care for, what wasn’t clear was how I was going to move forward now that Frankie was gone.

Many of you know I adopted Joie four months after Frankie’s passing and I was so happy to have a little one to care for again. As the days started to unfold I was having a hard time feeling a bond with her, or feeling deeply connected, like I had with Frankie.

What I did was reach out to my friend, Dawn, who is an animal communicator. She had helped me before with Frankie and I felt confident she could do the same with Joie.

While I don’t want to give it all away (and you can read more in my new book), it was during the reading with Dawn that I had the courage to admit I knew I was comparing Joie to Frankie.  It wasn’t that I was really doing it consciously, but rather subconsciously. And the issue was really all about me. I was having a hard time letting go of Frankie and what was. I needed to let things evolve organically with Joie and let her be her own dog. I truly wanted what was best for her and wanted more than anything for her to feel loved, safe and nurtured.

In many ways I owed this to Joie – but I also owed it to myself to see the truth of what was transpiring. And the beauty of one of the many gifts that Joie brought to my life. She helped me to see that I could let go and move forward – that I could expand on who I was and it would all be okay.

Every dog arrives in our lives to teach us something – arriving at just the right time – and I knew it was up to me to open myself fully to the lessons Joie was here to teach me, not only so she herself could live a happy and quality life while here – but that Frankie could rest in peace – and I could live more from the truth of who I am.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a link to auhtor, Jackie Bouchard’s blog, PoochSmooches. We did a recent Q & A about my book, Wisdom Found in the Pause, and one of the questions I enjoyed answering is this one:

  1. I really related to the quote from Sue Bender (p108) to “practice feeling good where you are.” I have to continually remind myself of the lesson from our angel Abby – to live in the moment. I think this is such a great lesson for everyone, no matter where you are in life. Can you expand on how you practice feeling good about where you are?

I hope you will stay tuned for my answer!

Thank you for sharing and subscribing to my blog updates.

The Old Man and Me

The Old Man and Me

In my weekly newsletter today I shared the following story and received wonderful feedback, so I wanted to share here on my blog, too. 

I saw him shuffling his way across the pavement to the volunteer, box of treasures in hand.

I had just pulled up to the back of the building, there for the same purpose, dropping off some items I no longer needed at our local Saint Vincent De Paul’s.

As I stepped out of the car, he must have noticed the dog decals on my back window and said, “Are you donating some dog’s?”

“No,” I said smiling, knowing he was kidding. “Not a chance!”

I sensed he didn’t recognize me right away as he handed his small box of items to the volunteer.

But I remembered him from meeting him several times at our neighbors when they’d have a party or I’d run into him now and then at the post office. Dave, always a great sense of humor, and he often talked about his bird.

I first got to know his wife, Karin. She was very supportive of my work with Frankie and my writing, often sending me sweet notes of encouragement in the mail.

I said, “How’s your parrot?”

It was as if a light of recognition went on. He smiled and began chatting happily about the bird he has had for over 30 years.

And then without warning he began to cry.

“I miss Karin so much,” he sobbed.

Karin died a little over a year ago. I read about it in the paper and was in shock as it seemed so sudden.

And it was. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 79 and died within three months.

Dave, now 85-years old, struggling to move through his days without the woman he fell in love with when he was just a young man.

He turned to walk away, still overcome with tears. “I can’t believe I’m crying. I feel so silly.”

Walking quickly up behind him I said, “Don’t go. Let me give you a hug.” I embraced him with all my might trying to convey my empathy for what he is going through.

And I let him talk through his wave of grief. And pretty soon his sense of humor returned and we eventually parted ways.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about him all the way home. I worried that I had done enough. Was there more I could have done? My heart ached for him.

And then Tuesday in the mail was a card with his return address.

Inside, a thank you card.

In his shaky handwriting he wrote:

And on a sticky label was typed:

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the
grandest intention.”

He signed it, “Thank you, Dave”

Now it was my turn to shed a few tears. That small gesture of a hug and listening was all he needed in that moment.

It was enough.

Thank you for subscribing to my journal posts.