paralyzed dogs

The Perfect Ending to a Deeply Personal Day

The Perfect Ending to a Deeply Personal Day
Visiting Frankie’s statue at Bookworm Gardens

It was the perfect ending to  such a sacred, deeply moving, magical day as I laid Frankie’s ashes to rest on the 5th anniversary of her passing yesterday morning. On Tuesday I wrote about how I came to this decision for this special day, and yesterday I shared how I followed my heart and how the timing of how this private ceremony would unfold. 

It became obvious to me as the last two days have unfolded that I have touched what my friend Diane said, as the collective heart. There was a small part of me that hesitated in sharing such a deeply personal experience because a part of me felt vulnerable. But now I have nothing but gratitude for doing so.

So many of you here, and on my Facebook page, shared so many beautiful thoughts and love that it truly only enriched this special moment in time for me. Also hearing from many of you sharing that I’ve helped you by being open with my heart about this experience, well, that means so much…and I know Frankie is so proud of that.

There are moments in life when you look back and you are able to really see the synchronicity and perfect timing of things – how life just flowed – and you were being guided by something bigger than you.

Such is the case the last two days – and really even before this. Last week I had gone to a second hand store wanting a new (or rather, I should say, pre-loved) casual dress or two. And it wouldn’t hit me as how perfect it was the one I found when my friend, Jessica sent me the pictures she took of me yesterday afternoon with Frankie’s statue at Bookworm Gardens.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to go to Bookworm Gardens on the anniversary of Frankie’s passing, but after scattering her ashes I knew I wanted to. And it just so happened I was having lunch with a lovely young lady, Jessica, who is my neighbor, and just graduated from college and will be getting married later this summer.  

The serendipity of us having lunch together near Bookworm Gardens, never really knowing each other too well all these years we’ve been neighbors… well, that is a whole other story I’ll write about some other time. But I have no doubt that God meant for her and I to be together yesterday, and for her to be the one taking pictures of me with Frankie’s statue.

While my love for Frankie and what we shared so deeply between us is something that will be with me always, being at the children’s garden yesterday, seeing her statue there, knowing her message lives on – touching new lives each and everyday – well, now I’m at a loss for words. 

The only word I can find is GRATEFUL and grateful I’ll always be.

It was the perfect ending to a day filled with such love and peace that I will carry in my heart forever. And thank you again to each of you for being a part of our journey.

When we share something from the true depth of our souls….and touch that collective heart…I truly believe we all heal.

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I Couldn’t Have Been More Touched

I Couldn't Have Been More Touched
Elaina with Frankie’s likeness at Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, WI

As many of you know my dear Frankie’s memory lives on in a wonderful children’s garden called Bookworm Gardens.

Today I received this photo from my sister, Paula. She is living her dream being a nanny to two sweet little girls. This is Elaina. While recently visiting Frankie at the gardens Elaina bent down and lovingly said to Frankie, “Feel better.”

Well goodness… I have tears in my eyes just writing this! I couldn’t have been more touched.

One thing I enjoyed doing when I visited schools and libraries with Frankie and sharing her message and books I wrote about her was helping kids to understand empathy.

If children can grasp empathy oh, what a beautiful future we have! And dear Elaina is leading the way with her compassion and kindness extended to Frankie’s likeness that continues to spread that message even though she will be gone for five years as of June 21st.

What a gift this photo is as I’ve been giving so much thought lately to the anniversary of Frankie’s passing. And that our loved ones, human or pet, continue to be with us in the most special and magical ways.

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A Deep Stirring of the Heart

A Deep Stirring of the Heart
Just days before Frankie moved on…

I was deeply moved by a post  on author Jon Katz’ blog this morning. So much so, I’m still having tearful moments as I write this.

They aren’t tears of sadness, though some bittersweet. But tears of recognition – of understanding – of having been in this space – and have come away from it profoundly changed.

Jon’s border collie, Red, who so many have come to love, is dealing with an unknown illness right now. A therapy dog who has touched so many lives he is also the spirit dog here at this time marking a passage in Jon’s life.

Having talked with a healer and animal communicator this morning, Jon wrote this:

Kimberly was direct, she told me that my challenge now was to recognize Red’s exhaustion and discomfort, and to give  him the time he needs to rest and to heal.

There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to hear this, I was too broken myself,  but I know Kimberly and trust her, and she simply went to the heart of it with me and with Red.

This stirred my heart with much emotion remembering my work with my paralyzed dachshund, Frankie, who was in a wheelchair, and touched so many lives herself. And without a doubt in every fiber of my being, she came here to help me heal – though I didn’t recognize it at first – and that gift would continue to unfold as we had a shared purpose and mission.

The recognition in realizing I was sensing she was slowing down in 2011 – she was ready to retire. Her time was coming to an end and my life, and our life as I’d come to love it, was about to change. And I didn’t know how I’d go on without her.

But in those last six months, and for months afterwards, the whisper in my heart that didn’t want to surface or admit to was that I too, was ready to slow down and move on. And it was also in learning to let go of what was, and to accept that Frankie wouldn’t live forever, and that I’d be okay.

It opened my heart to understanding more than before that with the gut-wrenching pain of loss, finding our way back to gratefulness of what was, was the whole point of our journey. How blessed I was to have had the opportunities I did with her.

How blessed I was to have this spirit dog, who forever changed my life for the better. It was imperative that I recognize and honor her wish to now retire and live out her days next to my side as I wrote the memoir of our journey.

This too, an enriching gift, of days with her all to myself. To give thanks for all the compassion she not only showed me, but others.

And getting to this place of not wallowing in her passing, but in the bliss that she brought to my life, that her gift lives on… and her spirit fills me each and every time I think of her.

And I’m grateful when my heart gets stirred from a post like Jon’s – a reminder of a time that was excruciatingly difficult, but with time I can now look back and my heart smiles with such joy from the love of Frankie.

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