Saturday, December 31, 2005


As I happily say good-bye to 2005 (knowing that I will still be the same person when I wake up in 2006), I decided to take a moment to think about lessons learned this year.

Writing almost everyday over the last three months has given me a glimpse of someone I had forgotten existed inside me.

Accepting the love of another, someone who loves all of you (the good, the bad, the not so pretty, the beautiful), is a wonderful gift to give yourself.

Joining the library is a very cool thing to do.

The heart can hurt more than I ever thought it could. And I realize this means that at some point in the future, mine will hurt even deeper, wider than it did this year. I hope that there is a little time to heal before then, but I know that isn't how life always works.

I have knowledge inside of me, my own tools, to help with my journey in this life. I already know. Now, I just need to take my own advice (see this, this, and this post), so that I can see, feel, hear this knowledge that already exists.

The more I let go, the more my heart opens to new ideas, dreams, possibilities.

There is a dancer inside me, and she is manifesting in the disguise of a yoga teacher.

I really enjoy editing and I hope to create/have more and more job opportunities in my future. This is something I know I do well. And it feels good to know that about me, to own that this is true.

My spiritual journey is exactly that. My spiritual journey. It is okay to let go of the expectations of others in order to find the higher power within and outside of me.

I believe that I am, at heart, someone who often feels lonely. I am recognizing this and trying to find ways to feel this a little less. I am also trying to embrace that when I am alone, I am really not alone, because there are so many things that I can, want, need to do. And that when I am sad, the sadness does not mean that no one understands me.

The neverending lesson that I am in charge of my life. How I feel. What I do. Who I become. Lessons are repeated until learned and even then, sometimes they are repeated once again.

And there are days, when it all boils down to this for me:
Personal Plateau
(a storyperson by Brian Andreas)
I don't want another opportunity to learn & grow, she said.
I just want to eat crackers & watch Oprah & pet my cat.

Of course, I would be eating ice cream and petting Millie and still be in my pajamas.

I hope you take some time to think about what you learned in 2005. I would love to hear about your lessons.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

slow down

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Lao Tzu

A reminder.
Take a breath.
You have enough time.
Rest your mind for a moment.
Let go of the chatter that fluctuates your thoughts.
Sit still.
Do the best you can.
And be gentle in the moments when you think you did not.
Your inner critic is loud enough without help.
Let go.
Every day.
It is what it is.
It is what you make it.
Your choice.
Live it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

SPT 12/27

A reunion.

On Christmas, I opened a box that held this framed photograph.
A gift from my father.
A window to the past.
Two people I never knew who helped to create me.
A woman my father loved dearly. His grandmother.
Before she died, she knew my mother was pregnant with me.
She said not being able to meet me was going to be one of her regrets.
The cup is from her Fostoria collection that was given to me by my grandmother, her daughter.
I know her through these dishes and glasses that fill my china cupboard.
Now, I put a face with the feeling.
And even though we did not meet face to face, we can meet in the melding of energy from past and present.
We can meet in the love that is passed from her to my father to me.

See other SPT reflections here.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

senses. christmas.

The tree sparkles with lights as the sun begins to come up. Everyone wears their Christmas Eve pajamas (a tradition I started last year - if you are at our house Christmas Eve, you get new pjs). Presents wrapped in green, red, blue. Bows and gift tags inviting us all to take a peek. The annoyed look on my brother's face as he walks into the living room "what time is it?" and the laughter on his face as he opens his Mr. T in your pocket. Seeing my mother act out lightning while we play cranium (it doesn't get any better than that). Tired content faces ready for bed.

Christmas music, Millie's sighs, my brother's sarcasm, my mother's laughter, the table being set, the timer dings, packages are opened!, thank you's, exclaims of surprise, the voices of my in-laws on the phone as they share their happiness about their gifts and their day, my brother's voice "I'm going to go take a nap," Jon saying "I think I am going to open up this chocolate," my mother saying "what else can I do here," my new polaroid camera talks as it hands me my first picture, laughter as we act out tofu and hum these boots are made for walking, the good nights before bed.

Shortbread cookies, chocolate, earl grey tea, cinnamon rolls, sausage and cheddar strata, artichoke dip, bread, gouda and Beecher's flagship cheese, smoked salmon rich with flavor, cream cheese, salted almonds.

The smooth surface of wrapping paper. Slipping my fingers through the little holes in my new warm mittens that I can wear when I am out in the cold and want to take pictures. Wrapping the soft cashmere scarf around my neck. Trying on a new vest and feeling the warm quilted fabric. Millie's soft fur as she wiggles with excitement as I put her new collar on her.

A cinnamon candle, evergreen and eucalyptus, new candles, mango tea, the wool of my new scarf (grateful for the gift of a neti pot from my husband's awesome grandmother, Gram, so I can hopefully add more smells over the next few days).

And know.
Be thankful for the laughter. Hold it in your heart. Remind yourself that you heard it, felt it, lived it. When you feel the stress whisper in your ear and mind, inviting you back to the past, say no. And spend some time back in the moment when you laughed and laughed with those you love. And remember that they laughed too.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

a little gratitude

grateful for...
moments with my mom and my brother who are here.
my mother's laughter (watching Cisco the garden guy on tv)...I never hear it enough.
my brother's honesty. outlook. kindness.
my husband's patience. sense of humor. gentle soul.
little moments where i let go of the need for the perfect holiday.
the way millie curled up with my brother on the air mattress he is sleeping on. she didn't move all night. first time she has ever done that.
my father's health. (a little scare this week but it seems like all may be ok. still in limbo but hopeful limbo)
the tradition of everyone in the house gets new pajamas on christmas eve. jonny and i just started it last year...but i can't wait until everyone opens them tonight.
the words of a wonderful book that focus on life and death and letting go (summer of the great-grandmother by Madeleine L'Engle)
you. my friends in the blog world. i feel like there are people out there in the world who get me. really get me. i am amazed that is this year of learning about grief i have been given the gift of friends in the blogging community. thank you. for your kind words. friendship. amazing, human posts on your blogs. thank you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

shine brightly

This post and this post have invited me to think about the winter solstice this evening.

I have always been drawn to the solstices. They are like bookends in midst of my year. I love the images of the world turning as my corner becomes full of light or full of night. I am drawn to the idea of the ancients and the way they celebrated the solstice (something my husband brought up to me today). And in the winter, I reflect on the hope that sits in the fact that the days begin to lengthen.

The idea that winter can be a journey inward. In a time of year when everything is about the opposite. The shopping, travel, buying, expectation, disappoint, singing, joy, togetherness. Instead, it could be about spending a few moments alone, quiet, in reflection, just for you.

A year ago, I met with my yoga teacher for a private session. I wanted to integrate chanting and meditation into my daily practice. She gave me a beautiful chant that evokes the idea of spinning all the petals of your heart; it has become my favorite and I sing it often. My heart, mind, spirit soar as I sing. The meditation was to breathe in suffering and exhale compassion. At the time, two loved one were sick with cancer and I wanted to bring my love for them into my practice. She said on days when I felt strong enough, I could breathe in their suffering and then exhale compassion for them. But the most important part was that I first had to do this for myself. Inhale my suffering, exhale compassion for myself. Even though I could not heal the cancer, I could reach out to them in this way. One of them died in February; the other is almost cancer-free.

Now, I work with breathing in compassion and breathing out compassion. I have not felt strong enough to "take on" the suffering of another. In my moments of quiet, I am trying to feel the creation of this compassion inside me. My heart is trying to heal. My grandmother was not one of the loved ones I thought about during my meditation practice. She did not seem to be ill; my grandfather was the one with cancer. Even though I rationally understand that it is not my fault that she died and that with my very life I was sending her love and energy daily because of our relationship, I still think "if only I had realized..." With this winter solstice, my hope for myself is that I will begin to let go of this. As a new cycle begins with the light of the day, a new cycle might begin inside of me, with my light. My hope is that my light will begin to grow stronger, brighter, fuller through this gift of self-compassion.

My hope for you is that you will feel your light. That you will sit in the quiet long enough to find it, feel it, see it inside of you. As the days lengthen, let go of some of your darkness, and let your light shine brightly.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

SPT 12/20

I see
what you would see
if you were to look in
on me during the day.
My little room
where I work, create, meditate.
I surround myself with art
from past and present,
books for work and play,
glimmers of inspiration
for all parts of me.
The reflection sees
what I usually see
as I sit here
working, writing, creating.
The backyard, birdfeeders, trees, the garage.
A view into my world.

See other SPT photos here.

(An afterthought.
But if you do want to look
in on me during the day,
please just knock on the door.
I will let you in
and you can join me
to play, work, create, and meditate.
If you were to really stand at the window
and look in at me
and I didn't know you were stopping by
or I didn't recognize you...
well, that is a fear of mine.
So please,
drop me a line
to let me know you might stop by
and you are welcome to spend
some time in my world.)

Monday, December 19, 2005


our prayer is that
people everywhere will
finally learn to live
as brothers (and sisters),
to respect each other's
differences, to heal
each other's wounds,
to promote each other's
progress and to
benefit from each
other's knowledge.

adlai stevenson

Sunday, December 18, 2005

rest in peace john spencer

i am saddened at the loss of someone i looked forward to seeing every week. for 6 years i would spend time with him every wednesday night from 9-10; this year, i would see him on sundays from 8-9.
he played leo mcgarry on my favorite show. the west wing. his integrity, sense of humor, honesty, courage made my heart soar every week.
tonight i will spend some time thinking about john spencer and his family.
we invite people into our homes through television, movies, books, art, music. we invite them into our hearts. we learn from them, sing with them, laugh at and with them. often, we become better people from having "known" them.
i am happy to have invited john spencer into my home every week for years now. his character reminded me that i am proud to live in the country.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

senses. tonight.

The lights are low, candles burn in every corner, on every table. Paintings on the walls. Garland, baubles, lights adorn the hearth. Faces captivated by sound. People holding mugs of coffee, tea, wine glasses, forks poised over coconut cake and brownies. Musicians enraptured by the music they create. Little girls become friends as they dance together. Clapping hands, tapping toes. A woman with long white hair and a ladybug hairpin bobs her head up and down like a jack in the box keeping time with the music. Sometimes it is as though she thinks she is the bow the fiddle player uses; she seems as though she creates the music. Her foot kicks in the air under the table. Families, couples,

Coffee, milk, chocolate, mint. Peppermint mocha.

Piano, fiddle, flute, banjo, drum. Laughter. Snippets of conversation. Coffee grinding. Espresso machine. Singing, clapping, children giggling. An Irish lilt in song.

Coffee beans, candlewax, chocolate, warmth.

The velvet of my skirt; the soft cashmere of my sweater. The warmth of my husband's hand. The hot, smooth, steaming mug. The floor beneath my feet as I tap my heel and dance in small movements in my chair.

And know...
You may have moments when your heart feels small. Invite music, laughter, dance inside and you will remember how big your heart has always been.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

lighter with a side of shallow

Tonight, my husband and I enjoyed an early Christmas gift.
An electronic upgrade from an elf in Indiana (my father).
Our 19 inch tv has morphed into a new sony wega 32 inch.
I knew about it a few days ago, but J. had no idea until he came home this afternoon.
His face was priceless.
Do we need a tv this big? No.
But the joy of being down the hall and hearing him exclaim "I am one with the bacteria" as he watched the science channel was pretty great...
(and now I don't have to get my glasses to read the ticker on CNN)

she was not perfect

She was not perfect.
In fact, I often described her as crotchety (well, not to her face).
She was private to a fault, and she criticized her children too much.
She was married to my grandfather for 59 years and 7 months.
She did not have many friends; she seemed to enjoy solitude.
A gentleness began to blossom inside her when her grandchildren were born.
She could seem difficult to know, private, and distant. But not with me.
She taught me how to laugh, to be silly, to jump on the bed.
She taught me to love hummingbirds, spring, walks on the beach.
She sent me the most wonderful cards. I keep running across them in the oddest places. Stuck between books, in a random box in the garage, in a pile of old bills. I miss those little surprises in the mail. And now I realize the time and care she spent picking them out to reflect that moment in time in my life.
She gave me soft, warm socks every Christmas for the last 15 years. Every year. After she died, in her room, next to her bed, was a pair just like the ones she gave me last year. I took them and wear them all the time. Soft, fuzzy, blue ones.

We were just getting to the good part. The part where we talked like friends. She was beginning to open up...
She lost a friend in the war. She wished she would have sewn a few more oats. She wasn't sure how to tell her children that she loved them. She was on her own spiritual journey and talking about it.
The good stuff. The guts of life as I say. How much more I wanted to know. To ask. To learn.

But I am learning this...
When someone dies, the pain is deeper, wider, stronger than you thought it would be.
It does not go away; it only softens every now and then.
The loss does not make sense.
It does not matter that the person "lived a long life." The missing is still there.
Others may not have experienced this kind of loss yet; they will not know what to say to you.
Your sadness may bring up too much for others; they will not know what to say to you.
People may say incredibly hurtful things to you; that is about them and not about you.
The person who has died is still a part of you. That does not go away; you will just forget sometimes because the missing hurts so much.
I am learning that I am not alone in this world of missing. Other people have experienced this deep grief. One of my dear friends has listened to me talk on the phone for hours. Other new friends have left me the kindest comments on this blog. And others have written their own blog entries about loss. There are some authors who have spoken their truth about this subject as well and I am starting to find them and am feeling brave enough to read.
The truth is, until you experience it, you do not understand. At least I did not.
And because this is my current path, I am going to continue to write about it every now and then.

She taught me to laugh at myself as often as possible.
She taught me how to make sugar cookies.
She was critical at times. I forgave her.
She was sometimes melancholy. I understand.
She was not perfect. Thank goodness.
She taught me to love hummingbirds, spring, walks on the beach.

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
Rachel Carson

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

SPT 12/13

Looking in the mirror.
Thinking "I am beautiful."
Realizing you could let go of the self-doubt. the self-criticism.
Knowing your very existence is a miracle. There is only one of you.
Holding your own gaze with confidence, acceptance, and love.
Wiping away the fog from your eyes.
Seeing yourself.

Monday, December 12, 2005

books. books. books.

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."
Helen Exley

(these books arrived today from Chronicle Books. gifts to others and one to me...oh and if you look closely you can see a couple of gifts from here.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

why i love this man

because he takes the dog out when it is cold and dark...always.
because he brings laughter into my life.
because he invites me to look at the world in a new way. every day.
because he recognizes something in me that I didn't think even existed.
because he loves science and wants to share it with others.
because he is crabby pants man in the morning but then he will laugh or smile because of me. I love that moment when I help him remember who he is.
because he is patient with all of my stuff...that stuff of life we deal with.
because he loves it when I sing.
because he embraces the spiritual journey I am on without judgement.
because even though he may have been a republican in a past life, he is learning to embrace the independent inside.
because he appreciates me.
because he would never invite me to be someone I am not.
because he and his family invited me into their lives with such ease.
because even though he really doesn't like christmas music, he doesn't get too annoyed when I play it all the time in december and will even change the CD when it stops.
because he wanted to move to this glorious part of the country.
because he tells me I am beautiful.
because he isn't perfect. and doesn't expect me to be.
because he loves walking around barnes and noble just as much as I do.
because he understands that sometimes I am sad. and that is okay.
because he has the kindest heart I have ever met.
because he is my hero.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

senses. warmth.

Inspired by this post by Frida on Muse to Muse, I have decided to dedicate one post a week to the senses.

The sunlight warms Millie's face as we stand outside together. She is looking for squirrel chasing possibilities, but I like to think that she is happy to feel the sun again. Maybe both. She gives me the gift of learning more patience as she chases those squirrels when I want her to come back inside because I am running late. She reminds me to laugh as she curiously inspects our Christmas tree. She personifies contentment when she curls up on the couch next to me as I work on yoga homework - she puts her head on my arm and watches me write. She is beautiful.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...
and all that good stuff. I will say it here again, I love Christmas music. And I love to be in concert as I sing. In the car, at home, while I work (at home), and sometimes you might catch me singing in a soft whisper at a store this time of year. Some songs are funny, some poignant, some invite a tear, others are full of joy - literally. My heart feels just a little lighter when I hear these songs.

These cookies baking (if you have been afraid to make sugar cookies, make this recipe...they are amazing. and email me for little tips if you need them!). I have made them almost every holiday season for 15 years. The almond extract gives them a wonderful smell. And a new favorite baking tradition - this cake. As it bakes the smell torments you as your nose tells your stomach "it's time for some of that." You can frost it while it is still a little warm. Perfect. (especially if you are like me and you love pumpkin, but not when it comes in pie form.)

Lush, soft, warm throws from Churchill Weavers. I have had one near me since I was born. My "pink blanket" years ago. Now I have one in almost every room. I once drove five hundred miles wearing one as a shawl after my heart was just a little bit broken. I was driving through Berea, stopped at the store, and wrapped myself and my heart up to heal. Wrapping up in self-kindness can often be a cure. And these blankets help remind you to do that.

peppermint mochas...pumpkin spice lattes...peppermint tea...
The flavors dance on your tongue. Remind you of snowy days and being warmed by the fire. Feel the warm liquid slide down your throat as it warms your belly. Take the time to enjoy. Sip by sip. Find your favorite flavor. Let this be a daily meditation this time of year.

And know...
There is a light inside of you that glows in these winter months. Warm yourself up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

a piece of me

This is a collage that I created for a woman who is in my yoga teacher training. The tag is fixed by a little brad so you can move it, and if you peak under it, you will find: be you.

She climbs mountains. People who do this create awe in my soul. I think it is amazing. Over the holidays, she is going to africa to climb mt. kilimanjaro. In awe.

(Have I mentioned that I am in the midst of this two year intensive teacher training in viniyoga? we meet one weekend a month - June 2004-June 2006. This is our december weekend. Two afternoons filled with honest conversation, study of the movement of the body, reflection, laughter, growth, sangha.)

I realize that my first attempts in this world of "art" are simply that: first attempts. I share them with you as I (try to) let go of the inner critic. To listen to the other voice inside that says create, give, let go, laugh. To be brave enough to give someone a little piece of me.

Leaving Pieces by Brain Andreas

She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went.
It's easier to feel the sunlight without them, she said.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

gift ideas, take one

Some "stuff" to give (or receive/request) this holiday season:

For the brain:

This secret book (from the creator of the Post Secret website)
Sabrina Ward Harrison's new journal
A book about a wonderful art project full of suggestions for all
And this fantastic boardgame - a game for everyone!

For decorating you, your loved ones, your home:

These charms for you to wear, hang, enjoy. The creative fairy is my favorite. Oh but I also like the silly girl fairy and the artful fairy. And I can relate a bit too much to the TV fairy.
A t-shirt (or find another one from this great site - their $10 sale ends Thursday at noon CST so check them out soon!)
This wacky tote bag - reminds me of my atari days
Unique collars for your loved ones with four legs

Just for fun:
An uglydoll (but they are really quite cute)
Some out of this world creatures
And one splurge (or at least a splurge in my world...)

{I wanted to list a few more here but our internet connection is my current stay tuned for gift ideas, take two...}

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

SPT 12/6

realize the incredible power you have to choose your attitude at any given moment. this choice, more than anything, guides the course of your life.
jo uhlman
(quote and artwork by jo)

i bow to these words and what they represent. let them seep into my soul. let me remember them as a reflection of my heart's wish for my presence in each moment. i can choose how i react to everything.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

(photo: playing with my camera and the night sky, 12/5/05, canon digital rebel)

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Today we bought our Christmas tree. Always fun picking one out. My husband has endless patience with me as I try to find the one that I know is ours. It takes me a while. And somehow we spent a lot more money than planned because we found the right one - right outside our price range. (His patience is not so much present as we try to get it up in the house...but still, we got it least this year it was smaller than the one we had last year when we had to cut a little of the top so it would fit.)
Then the decorating begins.
I sing to Christmas music as I take out each ornament and soak in the memories.
I love the colors, the shapes, the sparkles, the silly, the serious. The ones from my childhood, my days in college when I put up a tree every year, the ones J. and I purchased together.
And as I sang, this line from the little drummer boy stood out to me:
"I played my drum for him...I played my best for him..."
Now, the little drummer boy is not necessarily my favorite Christmas song. It is a classic, so I like it in an "I have known the words all my life" kind of way. Still, I never really identified with it. But then today, I really heard that line.
The idea that you do the best you can. Even when, in this case, you are playing music for someone who, one day, thousands of people would follow.
To do your best. No matter the audience. All you can do.
To own what you do and do it well. All you can do.
To let go of fear and shame. All you can do.
And just play.

I celebrate Christmas as a tradition. As a time of year when we decorate and sing and share. I try not to get too caught up in the buying part, but that is hard. I want people to feel so good when they open a gift I give them. So many people do not like the holidays, and I want to create a moment of happiness for them. I try to tune out the much as possible. Focus instead on the joy. I do the best I can in the midst of the expectations, dreams, hopes, disappointments.
I celebrate Christmas as a story. A beautiful, fantastic story. Of a woman and a man with hopes, dreams, and expectations; a woman and a man who had a baby. A baby boy who grew up and shared a message of peace.
I celebrate Christmas as a part of my spiritual journey. One part. This one fantastic story reminds me of the need for peace, love, joy in my life and in the world. As I travel on this journey, attempting to piece together the puzzle of my understanding of spirit, I do the best I can.
And this year, I want to remember to let go. Of expectations, disappointments. And just play.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


We had snow on Friday...snow.
The first time my little VW Bug has seen the white stuff in at least 18 months. And here everything stops when there is snow. Many schools closed for the day. So at 6:00 a.m. J. and I sat out in the family room watching for his school (he is a teacher).
It was just like being 10 again hoping for a snow day.
At 6:30 we learned they had a 2 hour delay. A little more time to cuddle and watch the Today Show...

(if you know the movie White Christmas, and you should, please sing the title of this post in your head, or out loud, like they do on the train on the way to Vermont..."It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow")

(photo: snow on our street, 12/2/05, canon digital rebel)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

seeking grace

as soon as the guitar begins, my heart soars. i love this song. love it. the simplicity of the words. the complexity of the message. beautiful.
open your heart to this...

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin’ home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hangin’ by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changin’ fast and it don’t last for long
But the colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high, rocky mountain high
He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say he got crazy once, and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory
Now he walks in quiet solitude the forests and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
And the colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high, rocky mountain high
Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land
And the colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high
It’s a colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high
Rocky mountain high, rocky mountain high
Rocky mountain high, rocky mountain high

Rocky Mountain High, words by John Denver

(photo: colorado, july 3/05, canon digital rebel)


Today I miss Traveler.
My dear golden friend who passed away in February.
He taught me how to love. How to open my heart and let my life be something I never thought it would be.
Me. Someone who was just a little afraid of dogs. Suddenly "I am rescuing a golden." I knew that something had to shift. He was the catalyst.
A woman from the rescue called and said she had read my application and that Traveler had found his forever home.
He helped me to create space in my heart. Space to love and know that I could be loved. Unconditionally. Space to learn to love myself. Space for J. to come into my life.
I miss how he would jump up on the bed with me every morning. J. would take him out while I stayed in bed. Then after eating, Trav would climb up into bed with me and curl up in the crook of my bent knees. He would rest his head on my leg and sigh. I miss that.
This time last year we were doing everything we could to fight cancer. My grandparents were both sick - my grandfather with cancer and my grandmother was becoming ill. A dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. Then another friend. Then another. Then Traveler wasn't feeling well and I sat there in total bewilderment when they said that he had cancer too. It seemed beyond unfair. And the only thing I could control was that we would do all that we could for him. To cure him. To make his life a little better.
But he passed away. And in a way I know he gave me a gift. I started to grieve. I had glimpsed grief so that when my grandmother died I had some frame of reference. Some understanding of the crazy, empty, irrational, heart-slowing feeling that the death of someone creates.

And yes we have another golden child. Millie. Another rescue dog. With a little more baggage (so she fits right in). I am learning from her as well. Sometimes she jumps up on the bed and rests her head on my leg and sighs. And it feels like all might be right in the world for that brief moment.

But I can't help but wish that J. would come home one day and say "hey, look who was outside in the backyard." And there would stand Traveler, squeaker toy at his feet, ready to play.

(a thank you to Maureen for writing such a beautiful post about her dog Sam - encouraged me to spend some time with Trav's memory today)