Tag Archives: Loss

Everything Changes

Another Wednesday without a wishcast prompt. And yet, I’m feeling a powerful need to make wishes — big wishes, important wishes, wishes for healing and peace.

I wish good health and healing for Jamie’s mom. I wish for strength, peace, and comfort for Jamie and anyone else loving and supporting her mom right now.

I wish for Dexter not to suffer, (he was at the emergency vet three weeks ago, his nose has been bleeding more that usual — whatever “usual” even means when cancer is involved — and on Saturday, he sprained his leg — a different one, not the one he’s already in physical therapy for). I also continue to wish that he have an easy death, whenever that might come.

I wish good luck, a safe trip and a workable outcome for my friend Ann. Today she’s making another visit to a doctor in Boston who might have a new treatment option for her cancer. No matter what happens, I wish her and her partner ease, comfort, and clarity.

I wish comfort for my friend Susan, my dear friend Kelly‘s mom. This past week had to have been so rough for her, with Mother’s Day and the three year anniversary of Kelly’s passing just days apart — but I also know that the arrival of a new granddaughter is offering so much joy. I wish for comfort for all of us who love Kelly and still feel so sad, miss her so much, who will forever carry that ache.

So many are suffering. It can feel overwhelming sometimes. But just when I start to feel like it’s all too much, someone does or says or makes or shares something so beautiful, that I remember: life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open.

Today, it was a post on Hopeful World. It included beautiful words from Jen Lemen, who has been the healing balm for my own suffering so many times I’ve stopped counting. The video in the post is one she’d shared with me back in September, at a moment when it was just what I needed, and my response to it was just what she needed, but I was sworn to secrecy. I’ve been waiting patiently for her to share it with the world, so I could share it with you, and today is the day.

Everything changes. And when we can remember that during the low times, our hearts can fill with hope. And when we can tell each other this in the good times, our hearts can fill with gratitude. No matter what, we can be gentle, we can be kind. And we can remember, that even in this, we are never, ever alone. ~Jen Lemen

Day of Rest

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Today has not been a restful one for me. Dexter has had a wonky belly for a few days and his nose has been bleeding more than usual. This morning, he refused to eat, wouldn’t even take his favorite treats, so I took him to the emergency vet. They have him now, giving him iv fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medication. I just got back from a short visit with him, checking on the blood work results (high white cell blood count which indicates a bacterial infection), giving him some love, and dropping off his Little D to hang out with him. The vet said if he stays stable, can eat some dinner later and keep it down, we’ll be able to bring him home tonight. This is such good news, and for now we’ll concentrate on that.

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Everyone here is feeling tender.  Even Sam seems a little sad. We know Dexter will be back with us, but the fact that our time together overall is so limited lingers, and makes this time apart difficult. We are all bumping up against what it’s going to be like to be a family of three, and it hurts. And yet, our guiding intention remains that Dexter doesn’t suffer, that his death be easy–even if that means we get his belly feeling better only to need to make a bigger decision because of his nose. The good bad news is that how much we love them is equal to how much we hurt for them, how much we’ll miss them, how sad we are to be separated. It’s like Susan Piver said at our retreat last week, “no matter what, every relationship ends badly.”

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To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~Mary Oliver

Something Good

1. A post about how to find your unique blogging voice.

2. Three lovely posts from the even lovelier Christina Rosalie, Creative habits: glimpses from around here lately, Let the choices you make today be the ones that make you glad, and Resistance to change, creative habits, and Sprout is growing up.

3. Creative Living with Jamie: Sas Petherick. Two of my favorite women having a conversation.

4. Stop Hiding & Start Teaching – NOW! Jen Louden on Owning Pink.

5. Brussel Sprout Salad with Sour Cherries & Pine Nuts, I’m going to try it, but with dried unsweetened cranberries.

6. Can You Accept Your Body & Want to Lose Weight? from Anna at Curvy Yoga. In the video, she suggests a really powerful practice, a good way to answer your own questions.

beachgrass

7. Beach House Radio, specifically the Chill station. It’s what we listened to all month this past summer when we were in Waldport, Oregon. I’ve been listening to it at work lately, and missing the beach so much.

8. What it really means to “acknowledge” someone — and how to do it, with style & class. from Alexandra Franzen.

9. Two good posts from Elephant Journal, 21 “Non-Spiritual” Things that make us Happy and 3 Ways to Kick Your Sugar Addiction.

10. The crime of outshining on Superhero Life, in which Andrea Scher says “The more I shine, the more others shine in my presence.”

11. 10 Journal Inquiries for Well-Fed Living from Rachel Cole.

12. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

One of the most difficult parts of changing how you live and how you eat is believing that change is possible. We all say we believe that, but many of us, deep down in our hearts believe that it’s possible for other people, but not for us. That other people can do it, that the glowy warm life we imagine is for other people not for us. We have an unconscious belief that we can’t do it, it’s hopeless, and so, on some level, we stop making an effort. We lapse into the way it always was or is. But change really is possible. And it really does take a fierce kind of longing, and a fierce kind of love for yourself. For the life you know is possible. Ask yourself what you love most of all. Do you love your life? And are you willing to take action on your own behalf?

This is exactly what I’m working on, “a fierce kind of longing, and a fierce kind of love for yourself,” for the life I know is possible.

13. Edit Your Wardrobe on Rowdy Kittens. I really want to do this.

14. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves

I want you to take back your time. You have meaningful things to do here. You do not have time to spend with those who drain or disrespect you. You do not have time to avoid yourself. This is your life. Love yourself enough to claim your own time.

15. Upcycled Magazine Pages board on Pinterest, (which I accidentally signed up for today).

16. Draw My Life from Jenna Marble. She has made me cry before, but from laughter. This video got me in the heart.

17. This, always this,

We are all a little weird
and life’s a little weird,
and when we find someone
whose weirdness is compatible with ours,
we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness
and call it

love.
~ Dr. Seuss

18. Losing my religion for equality by Jimmy Carter.

19. Yes: near the end, by Jeff Oaks. This is heartbreaking, and beautiful. “In the face of loss you must still say yes.”

20. Allison Mae Photography has done it again. This time she almost killed me with pictures of the muy guapo Kelso. I want to have her take pictures of my dogs, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it. She might be too good.

21. Blowing Up Midtown from Guinevere Gets Sober.

22. 10 Things You Think About Too Often from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

23. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: toasted oak ice cream with smoked sea salt & lapsang souchong caramel swirl, (*drool*), 52 Lists A New Prompt Every Week for 2013, (looks fun), Victoria Smith of SFGirlbyBay on The Every Girl, (love SF Girl by Bay), and The Joy That Awaits Her, (a beautiful post that makes me want to drop everything and curl up with a good book).

24. Shared by Positively Present: Hendrick Boards, (every single purchase helps save dogs, and they have some super cute tshirts, I want the “I am a rescue” one), and 42 Small Acts of Kindness that Will Make You an Everyday Hero (because it never hurts to have even more ideas about how to be kind).

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: A walk is magic, medicine. If you can go longer and take a few dogs along, even better. It clears my head, gets me unstuck, lifts my mood, gets me moving, reminds me to breathe. It brings my mind back to my body, gets my feet on the ground, holds both my mind and body in the present moment, in the same place at the same time. A walk softens the hard edges, relaxes tension, releases strong emotions, dissolves discursive thoughts.

2. Truth: Surrender, letting go of control is really, really hard. This morning in my meditation, I set an intention to invite surrender and let go of control. It arose naturally, those two things, the choosing of them specifically felt genuine and right–for about three minutes. Then I thought to myself “what have I done?!” I felt myself wanting to struggle with surrender, to cling to my sense of control. And yet, I know this is the edge I need to lean into, move past. Courtney Carver just put up a new post on Be More With Less, Let the Monkey off the Chain, that is helpful. And from my Inner Pilot Light today came this:

You may feel like if you let go of the reins, all hell will break loose, you won’t get what you want, and everything will fall apart. But what you may not realize is that grabbing the reins and trying to exert control is actually sabotaging all the blessings the Universe is trying to bestow upon you. So darling, please, let go. Surrender. Trust.

I’m trying, kind and gentle reader, I really am.

snowobi

3. Truth: I miss Obi. I was watching videos of him this weekend, and it made me so happy to see him again, but so sad too, the hard fact that he is gone, that while I’m alive I will never see him again. That grief only gets heavier knowing the same is coming with Dexter, that soon I will be missing them both.

When they are, I can watch videos like this one and remember when we were all here together. They had just gotten a bath, which always makes them go a little crazy. When they would play like this, we called it Dog Fu. It’s hard to believe that this was Obi three months into chemo (if you look close, you can see the bare spot on his leg where they shaved it to put the IV in), which clearly wasn’t slowing him down.

One Wish: That we find ease, that we find the courage to surrender and let go, that we are lucky enough to love deeply and be loved.

Just One More Minute

bed

I slept in this morning. I typically get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, weekdays and weekends, but there are some mornings when I just don’t want to get up, and I don’t have to, so I sleep in. All I have to do is say to Eric, “I’m staying in,” and he turns off the light, hustles the dogs out, takes care of their breakfast and Dexter’s medicine for me. When they are done eating, Sam (the baby of the family, but maybe the laziest of us all) comes back and gets in with me. This, the comfort of a dog sleeping next to me, makes it even easier to drift back to sleep, to stay in.

From time to time I wake up, always thinking to myself “just a few more minutes.” It’s so cozy and nice, and I don’t really have anywhere else I have to be right now. This “just a few more minutes” typically becomes at least two extra hours of sleep. On days like this, I’ll tease Eric if he takes a nap, saying I already took mine.

After I got up, I was thinking about this “just a few more minutes.” I was thinking about all the other places this manifests. I remember every kid I’ve ever known begging for a few more minutes of play, just one more half hour of TV, just one more book, just one more cookie. I was thinking of the other ways it comes up for me, just one more bite, just one more page, just one more mile, just one more episode of whatever show is on HGTV as I ride the elliptical at the gym, just one more day. Grief arises as I think of those I’ve lost, how we both wished for more time, another day, another moment, just a few more minutes here together, how those lives were over too soon, how there was so much more living and loving to do, how hard I prayed that they be given more time, how angry and hurt I still am that it was denied.

fieldofgrass

This is where we live our lives, in these few minutes. If we are lucky, we have a succession of them, minute after minute, moment after moment, but our experience is only in this single, small measure of time. One breath, one beat of the heart, one flash of experience, one chance, one kind act, one moment of connection and compassion. We long for there to be another that follows it, but the wisdom that lives deep in our soft animal belly knows that we must savor this one, the one just now, to squeeze everything out of it we can, to really see it, to notice, to open our heart to it, because this is all we can be sure of. In this moment, we can know that we are here, we can be here, brave and open and vulnerable and tenderhearted.

What do you plan to do with your one minute, kind and gentle reader?

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~From Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day

Three Truths and One Wish

stop1. Truth: I was going to skip this post today. This week has been insanely busy, overwhelming, and it’s only Tuesday. I got my hair cut yesterday and fell asleep in the chair. There is so much to do–Reverb12 posts to write, grading to do, appointments that need made, meetings to attend, doggy health issues that need addressed–I woke up with a headache and there is work work work to get done, so much to stress and fuss about, the familiar mantra repeating with each step, “I’m so tired, I’m so tired,” and yet when I walked the dogs this morning, three ideas arose, spoke their truth, insisted on being shared.

dexteratcsu2. Because I already have so much to worry about, I haven’t been worrying about Dexter. He’s been having good day after good day with hardly any symptoms of his cancer, so with so much other muck and mayhem, it’s easy to forget he’s still dying, that this is a season of good-bye.

csucairn3. This means when Dexter finally does start to get worse, I will have to restart the letting go. It won’t be entirely new, but it will have to start again, to begin again, I will have to revisit the grief, the tangibility of his loss, have to face it again, anew, like waking up from sleep, having forgotten the bad thing has happened, only to have that awareness touch you, remind you, surprise you with it’s immediacy and weight, even after all this time, fresh and raw.

mygiftOne wish: that no matter how busy or overwhelmed or stressed out or tired or sad we might be, that we can feel some relief, some measure of ease, even if only for a few breaths, even if for only a single moment, that we can stop and recognize the gift of life, that we can love and appreciate it, all of it, beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Letting go of something you love is difficult, one of the hardest things. But, I will survive it. I have done this before, watched someone I love die, been separated even though the thing we both wanted the most was to stay together always, and I am still alive, even without them, even with no guarantee I will ever see them again, heart broken but still bound, tethered to an invisible but tangible love.

2. Truth: I can’t change the facts, but I determine how I respond. It’s staying dark later in the mornings now, that’s a fact of nature. This morning, so dark that I’d need to wear a headlamp for our walk, I was feeling grumpy, resistant, wishing away the dark. And yet, a few blocks from our house I looked up at the still dark night morning sky and saw stars. I thought about how on the way back, I’d see the sunrise, how I was taking this walk with two of my dogs. Instead of being cranky that it was dark and cold and early, things I can’t change, I noticed. I felt gratitude, thankful for the grace of one more morning to be awake and alive and together. I can’t alter nature, can’t keep Dexter from dying no matter what I do or how I feel about it, so instead of resisting or wishing things were different, I choose to open my heart to all of it, to be fully present and alive, wakeful and wise and compassionate.

3. Truth: It is okay. As I am surviving this loss, as it washes over me, passes through me, there will be messy moments. I will feel panic and cry in public. I will get angry and fall into despair. I will blame and accuse and rant and regret. I will wish and hope for things to be different. I will vow to never love again. I will hold my grief like it were a physical thing, with warm breath and sharp teeth. I will numb out, sleep and eat too much, say I’m okay, insist on it when I am anything but alright. This is the way love goes, the way the physical form where we focus our love leaves us. There is nothing to be done but to surrender, to be wounded. Eventually there will be another dog, and I’ll do the same thing again–open my heart knowing full well it will be broken. This is the way love goes. It is what it is, and this is workable.

One wish: My single wish underneath all my other wishes right now is that Dexter has an easy death. But, I also wish that those of us in this process of letting go feel some peace, some relief, and have faith in our innate wisdom and kindness and strength, being certain that we’ll know what to do and that whatever arises, it’s all workable.