pet loss

Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

I only knew Joie (pronounced Joey) for ten months. But my breath still caught in my chest this morning when I opened the box that contained her ashes. Joie passed away four years ago today.

After scattering Frankie’s ashes on the fifth year of her passing on June 21st this year, I knew I’d want to do the same for Joie.

So much has transpired in my growth and understanding since those two wheelie dogs blessed my life. I’ve come to understand from Frankie that if we can see our challenges in a positive way, we can evolve and learn so much from them. From Joie, I came to understand that in transition there are blessings if we can find the courage and strength to open to them.

Their ashes from the physical beings while they graced this earth, while I loved more than anything to hug them, hold them, and kiss them, I understand now more than before that their spirit lives on forever. What I once shared with them of so much love and joy is still here.  All I have to do is sit in stillness and connect with them to feel that joy and love again that they brought to my life while they were here in physical form.

And the teachings…oh, the teachings they provided me. I feel so blessed for all I’ve learned from them. While we all learn the lessons of life in different ways, God knew for me that it would be the animals that would (and continue to!) help guide me. I still marvel at God’s work of creating all the animals!

So my dear Joie, I give you back to the earth, alongside Frankie, as you both now grace me with your presence in the wind, the sun, the rain, the blooming of flowers, and the ever transitioning of my gardens.

Thank you for being my friend. 

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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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Scattering Frankie’s Ashes – on the 5th Anniversary of her Passing

Scattering Frankie's Ashes - on the 5th Anniversary of her Passing
Altar with Frankie’s ashes

The sun streaming through the blinds woke me at five this morning. I tried to go back to sleep, but Frankie and the releasing of her ashes began to swirl through my mind, which I wrote about yesterday.

I lay in bed a bit longer thinking about her. It then occurred to me that in August she would have been seventeen years old. This is significant for me.

The day before I made the decision to help her cross to the other side I had a reading done by my friend and animal communicator, Dawn. I shared with her that I had wished Frankie could live to be seventeen. I don’t really know why I wanted that. But communicating this to Frankie, Dawn shared that Frankie felt seventeen – meaning she lived a full life and was ready to move on. That was very comforting to me.

I can’t help but link the significance of that to today being the five-year anniversary of her passing and my being ready to scatter her ashes.

I didn’t make any sort of plans for today. All I knew was that I would scatter her ashes around my writing cottage. I followed the flow of how my heart was guiding me.

At five-thirty I climbed out of bed and did my normal routine of feeding the dogs, etc. Eventually I made my way out to my writing cottage, twelve steps from my bedroom patio doors across the deck I walked. My heart in some ways felt heavy with knowing what lay before me.

I lit a candle and decided to pull out of my SoulCollage card deck the card I made of Frankie during the winter solstice two years ago. A card of her and the reminder of her gift to me – to always look for the light in dark times and to be the light as an example for others.  While I didn’t know if I’d write about my experience today of releasing Frankie’s ashes, I knew in that moment I would. 

Frankie taught me so much about the joy of living, but also that death should not be feared and to trust that our spirits live on and we can connect with our loved ones whenever we want.

Following my intuition I decided to also randomly choose two oracle cards. Joy and Dragonfly presented themselves. The universe definitly with me this morning. Joy is my favorite word and what joy Frankie brought not only to my life, but thousands of others in our work together.

Dragonfly had a message too and what Frankie taught me – to be authentically who I am – and Dragonfly card says, “You know who you are.” I do now… thanks to Frankie.

I smiled through my tears.

Continuing to follow what felt right, I did my Yoga practice. It was moving through my poses that I knew I’d sit with the box of Frankie’s ashes afterwards and listen to our song, Landslide, before I took the final step of scattering them.

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
 
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too
 
My time with Frankie doing the work we did together was so incredibly rewarding that the words in this song, ‘I’ve been afraid of changin’ çause I built my life around you’ would often move me to tears…it was hard five years ago to imagine my life without her.
 
But time has made me bolder and I’m so much stronger because of Frankie – and getting older and time passing has certainly brought me to a new place of understanding.
 
While we never ‘get over’ a loss and what I’d often say is that we have to be gentle with ourselves and allow ourselves to ‘move through’ grief, I’ve now come to understand it now as that we ‘live with’ it – meaning that it just becomes a part of who we are. It changes us because we can never be what we were before – but hopefully we can rest in a deeper place of peace and a knowing that to love so deeply means we will experience great joy – and to bear the pain of loss is worth it to have this experience.
 
When I took Frankie’s box of ashes off the shelf yesterday I heard a rattling inside. Not sure what it was, I decided to wait to open the box until I was ready this morning.
 
The sun streaming through the east window of my writing cottage warming my face, I took a deep breath and opened the box. The mystery to the rattle brought a smile to my face – it was a stone I had placed inside with Frankie’s name and the date of her birth and death I’d written on it. I’d forgotten all about that.
 
Holding Frankie’s ashes in my hands I realized I was holding my breath. I knew it was because I was preparing, in a way, of letting go – of taking this final step. And though I felt some resistance, I reminded myself that this wasn’t really Frankie I was holding, but that her spirit was alive and well today and always – and here for me whenever I choose to connect with her.
 
As I walked across the deck and down the stairs the stillness and quiet of the morning took my breath away – it just felt so incredibly sacred that the earth seemed to be holding me with such a beautiful gentleness.
 
As I dipped my hand inside the bag holding Frankie’s ashes my hand shook slightly and my knees felt a bit wobbly. But something guided me as I released her ashes to the ground below…and step-by-step I moved around my writing cottage releasing her back to the earth to be among the stars, the universe, and the creator…
 
As I made my way to the east side of my writing cottage the honeysuckle plant I planted after Frankie’s passing came into view. You may recall my sharing here and in my book Through Frankie’s Eyes, that Frankie visited me as a hummingbird two weeks after her passing.
 
Well, I knew in that moment, the remainder of her ashes would become one with that honeysuckle and my heart smiled.
 
We are expecting rain later tonight which feels comforting to me to know that it will help in moving Frankie’s ashes deeper into the earth.
 
The morning flowed just as it was meant to be. While I shed a few tears, I feel at peace. Very much at peace.
 
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