The last year has been quite a time of change and loss for me. Last June my mother died. Two of my very close, dear friends died of cancer related illnesses, one in March and one in May of this year. In June we lost our beloved greyhound, Phoebe, to a traumatic injury as a result of cancer. And yesterday my one-time mother-in-law, and always mother, left this earth.
For a while I was feeling very mortal, not to mention old. I dare say I was somewhat depressed. This seems understandable considering the losses I have had to bear. Now I am reaching the point of being retrospective. I would not want any of my loved ones to continue to suffer their worldly pains and infirmities. Ok, maybe a selfish part of me wants that so I could still have them with me. But the other part of me knows that it is selfish and too much to ask. Sometimes love is letting go. At least for me.
And so it is time to reframe my outlook on life. It is time for the last pictures of me and them, taken during their end days, to come down and be replaced with pictures of us in the good times. Pictures of us living our lives and embodying the joy we shared. Pictures that embrace life! My friends and family were not their illnesses. I will honor them by remembering the love.
The memories and love are but one part of the experience though. The rest is what I choose to do now. My loved ones are gone. I am not. It is still my time on this earth. Time to live by one of my favorite quotes, the author is unknown to me.
“I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do… or any kindness that I can show-let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.”
It is my time to show perseverance, caring, helpfulness, occasional goofiness, and undying love. I shall take the parts that they have left me and use them to help pave the way for the rest of my life. The life that is still to come. They will go with me and continue to make a difference in the world. We are but a sum of our experiences and what we choose to do with them. And my friends, I choose to go on joyfully living, taking the bits of each I have known who have gone before me, with me. Onward!
I have been accused of being anal because I have a laminated list of things to take with us when we go to the beach.
I plead guilty! I don’t hear anyone complaining when I dig deep down into my large bag and pull out plastic ware for spreading the condiments, that I also remembered, on their sandwiches. And when they need something to put trash in so it doesn’t go blowing across the beach, I have that too.
Carefree trips to the beach don’t happen by accident. Anal retentives rule!
The Star Gazers are my favorite of all the lilies we have. They are always bright and cheerful. Just looking at them makes me happy. Also they were a gift from my daughter which makes them even more appreciated.
I love my very large garden urn. My husband came home with it one day because he knew that I liked it. Each year I plant something slightly different in it. This year I used gladiolas in the center for height and it has worked quite well.
This tuberous begonia was a late comer to our garden this year. I found a sale and couldn’t pass it up. It was the largest begonia I have seen. I had to lay it on it’s side for the drive home so the weight of the flowers wouldn’t snap the branches.
Phlox comes up in our gardens every year by itself. I have never planted any. I am glad for it though because it always smells so good. It draws butterflies too.
The cleome re-seed themselves every where. I am not sure if I am glad we planted them that first year or not. When they are flowering like this, I am glad. When I am weeding them out of inconvenient places, I am not glad at all.
And then there is the back bone of many gardens-the hosta. They are quite amazing. I dig them up and split them. The part I left of the original plant grows back as big as ever. And the new splits grow into an entire new plant very quickly. If only they were edible we could make quite a dent in world hunger. Never the less, a walk around the garden always brings a sense of peace. Except for those times when it brings an uncontrollable desire to weed!
News from a previous foster dog of ours! Sweetie was our foster last year. She came before the foster dog we have right now, Kammie. Sweetie was a joy, even if she was a bit challenging. After all challenging describes our kind of dog.
Her new family adores her. They say they can’t imagine life without her and she goes many places with them. One thing she does with the family is camping.
Here she is sticking out of the tent. She is definitely a much loved part of her new family. This is what we hope for when we let someone adopt a dog that we have taken into our homes and loved. It is hard to let them go. But when we get reports like this, we know that we have done the right thing. And we know that this is what it takes to be able to help the next dog that comes along. And there is always a next dog. We have fostered over 40 dogs so far.
The greatest hope of all people who work in animal rescue is that we will one day be put out of business. That there will be no more need for our services. We want to become a thing of the past. But until that day, stories like Sweetie’s keep us going.
I’m not sure why all good things must come to an end but my five days off work end tomorrow.
My employer has this silly policy whereby they expect me to report to work every so often in order to continue receiving my paycheck. I am not sure who came up with this plan but alas I will be back at my desk and working in the lab tomorrow.
(In reality, I like my job just fine, but there are no dogs there. All things are better with dogs! )