Friday, December 14, 2018

A Year in My Life
Leaving Home, Coming Home...

It's been a long time since I've blogged.  I'm still trying to process all the changes that began in January 2018, with the loss of our 15-year-old dog, Bart...until our cross-country move from Denver to Chicago in October.

If you've ever had a roller-coaster year with major adjustments, then you'll know what I mean when I say I'm in a daze.  Sometimes, I look back on everything my husband and I accomplished over the summer and fall and wonder how we did it.  I left my beloved Colorado home of 29 years kicking and screaming but knowing it was time to go.  Still, I'm having a difficult time letting go of all the wonderful memories we made there.

Berthoud Pass, Colorado

Getting older and health issues forced our decision, one we'd grappled with for a while.  We had no family in Colorado, and most of our friends left Denver to retire elsewhere.  Besides that, I could no longer enjoy the mountains I'd always cherished.  Meniere's disease, a vestibular disorder, stole that from me.  The altitude hurt my affected ear and brought on attacks of dizziness and nausea.

After sorting through the refuse of our lives, we made countless trips to the library, parting with 100s of books, and became well acquainted with Goodwill Phil and 1-800-GOT JUNK.  Next came the daunting tasks of selling the house and then packing, packing, packing.  Some days, I was too dizzy and sick to help.  To be truthful, my husband, Tim, did most of the work.  He was determined to get us "home to family."

With the assistance of my sisters, Nancy and Patti, we bought a manufactured home on a pond in a 55+ community.

We shipped our vehicles and flew into O'Hare.  It was getting carsick on a 1000-mile drive or risking ear pressure with possible vertigo on a two-hour flight.  I opted for the latter.  We've spent the past two months trying to get settled--buying furniture, decorating, and acclimating to Illinois.  I miss the Colorado blue skies and more temperate climate, but we have the love of our families to keep us warm.

Quite a different landscape!

Everything is foreign--from the grocery stores to medical coverage.  I feel like an alien in my hometown, the city where I was born and raised.  Sometimes, I smile, and sometimes I wipe tears from my eyes.  I know it will take time before Tim and I feel like we fit in here again.

Needless to say, my writing has suffered.  I'm hoping that 2019 will be a healthier year for my husband and me and a more creative one.  In case you don't know, he's the artist who designed all my book covers.

First Christmas

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing part of last year's journey with me.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bart of My Heart
A Love Letter to My Dog
Bart Williams
10/06/2002 - 01/05/2018

Dear Bart,

In the six weeks since you left us, Dad and I have struggled to adjust to life without you—a challenge after sharing fifteen years together.  We see you everywhere in the house and the yard, listen for you…miss your warm body in our bed every night.  We can’t drive down the street without remembering the countless times we walked you; we may never go to the park again.  We’re lonely and empty, but at the same time, full of gratitude.  You brought us so much happiness and enriched our lives.  How could any pet parents ask for more?

We have a memorial for you on the hearth, where you used to lie on your bed in front of the fireplace.  Your photo pillow is surrounded by your favorite toys.  We have three candles, one for each of us, which we light every morning and evening.  Your pictures greet us as we move from room to room, carrying your memory with us.  You’re never more than a thought away.

You were a beautiful dog, Bart, in heart, mind, and spirit.  You showed kindness to other animals and to children—not a mean bark in your body.  When we adopted you at eleven weeks old, your death seemed so far off.  You lived longer than we expected—dared to hope—and we cared for you the best we could during your senior years.  It was no sacrifice on our part.  You were our fur baby, a member of the family, and we loved you.  You loved us, too, the way no one else could: unconditionally.

When Dad and I talk about you, we smile through our tears.  The road of grief stretches endlessly before us, but we know we will recover from our pain; your love will heal us.  You will remain in our hearts forever, because love never dies.  That’s our one true comfort in your absence.  You will always be with us, Bart.  Always.

All our love,
Mama Linda & Daddy Tim

*     *     *
Thanks for sharing our memories of Bart.  If you've lost a beloved fur baby, please feel free to leave a comment.  Have you written a letter to your pet?  What ways have you found to cope with your loss?


Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year
Remembrances & Gratitude

Imagine playing Santa Claus for your children a week ago.
Having dinner with your family on Christmas Day.
Kissing your wife goodbye on New Year’s Eve.
Never coming home again…

The unthinkable happened in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, yesterday morning.  A madman unleashed more than a hundred rounds of ammunition at five police officers, striking all of them and killing Deputy Zackari Parrish.

He was 29.
A husband.
A father of two young daughters.

Now, his wife is a widow, his children are fatherless, and all their dreams and plans died with him.

Gun debate aside, much can be gleaned from this tragic moment.

Never take a single day of your life for granted.
Never forget to count your blessings.
Put anger and petty differences aside.
Show kindness to every person you meet.

As our community deals with this tragedy, we will all come together, regardless of political or philosophical beliefs.  We will embrace one another, attend memorial services, cry for the loss of one of our own, and support Deputy Parrish’s family in whatever ways we can.

First and foremost, we are human beings.  As Jewel’s song “Hands” reminds us:  “In the end, only kindness matters.”

This year, let’s strive to make 2018 one of empathy, compassion, and peace.

No matter what our religious affiliation, whether we have one or not, all people can hold Jesus’ words in their hearts:

"Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
~John 13:34

Happy New Year with love,