An Insatiable Longing

It’s been several days and I feel the loss as though it is continuing to happen again and again. Sometimes, the thought of you is still there, but will fall deeper into my mind, but other times, it will arise with a vengeance and often without warning, summoning tears to flood from my eyes. My entire 29-years of life I don’t believe I’ve ever felt a loss as profound as this, the void seeming to grow larger each day. Where I often sit at home, in the living room with my laptop, I’ll look to the right, expecting to see your dog bed sitting there, with you inside, sleeping or relaxing. Other times, I’ll look up across the room at the other sofa, half-expecting to see you sleeping on the arm on the sofa, as you did years prior. Every time I look at your usual spots, however, it’s not you, but the memory of you I see, a memory I carry so deeply in my heart and mind. The longing sometimes increases with such intensity and I can think of little to quell it.

Grieving Quote

These days, some of the only things providing me solace are the several quotes I’ve found in relation to grieving, such as these:

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”

More so than anything, I hope for my loved ones to heal; watching them hurt and me not being able to take away their pain is one of the hardest parts. Grieving is a process, an individual one for all of us, but I hope they know I’m recognizing their pain and hoping for a healing for all of us and that our Oliver knows how truly loved he was and will always be.

Dog Grief

 

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Today is Thanksgiving and this year, as I do every year, but even more poignantly this year, I have so very much to be thankful for. For the past 15.5 years, I’ve held the honor of being an owner of dog, my sweet Oliver, who I’ve written about countless times before. He was not a dog to me, but my family, my support, my strength and my constant companion. This morning, because I was unable to last night, I shared on my personal Facebook about his pathway to the Rainbow Bridge, where he plays today, free of pain and discomfort, delighting in all of his favorite foods and toys. The following is my post:

Yesterday, as the sky cleared and the sun began to emerge from the clouds of darkness, you were carried over the Rainbow Bridge, the bridge where you are greeted by the others waiting for you, where you can run, where you are free of pain.
 
As you departed, I held you in my arms as you nestled your body close to mine and I could feel your soft, curly fur and your shallow breaths. For a moment, your eyes fluttered open and gazed into mine and it was then I let you know you were safe and it was okay. For a moment, I could feel your dry nose against my skin and I could still hear the familiar sounds of your breathing I heard for 15 and a half years.
 
Then as you lay before us, we held your paws and each other, as you departed just as we first met. We didn’t say goodbye, but rather see you later, as we know we will.
IMG_4493
 
Oliver (March 10, 2002-November 22, 2017)
“Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found.”
Happy Thanksgiving to whomever may be reading this today.

Every Healing Has a Paw

That day stands out to me like no other. It was May 20, 1997, a warm, humid day, in late Spring. As a newly-minted 9-year-old, it was customary for me to ask the same question each day after school as I approached my mom, who would be waiting for me at the end of the hallway in the school building at just about 3:30pm; how is Grandmom? Since the preceding October, my maternal Grandmother diagnosed with Leukemia, was in and out of the hospital, receiving chemotherapy, shortly going into remission in the Winter, only to experience a relapse in early Spring. Her prognosis was grave, but we were still hopeful as she underwent another round of treatment. The early activities of the day are blurry to me, but I remember arriving home and sitting at the kitchen table with my sister, as we so often did, but this day, the room was filled with silence instead of music radiating from MTV’s Total Request Live. It was a sunny day, the sky a pristine blue, with a gentle warmth in the air, but sadness and fear engulfed my family and I. I remember thinking it was strange, seeing my dad home during the afternoon, watching him sitting at the table, expressionless. We all sat there at the table for awhile, until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flash of golden fur from outside, catching it reflecting off the sliding door.

Dog Healing

Merely minutes later, I came to know his name was Darby, a young Yellow Labrador Retriever, owned by a young couple who were fairly new to the neighborhood and unbeknownst to us, living directly behind us.  Before meeting and becoming accustomed to Darby, I hadn’t known much about dogs, except the fact that I believed them to be cute and friendly. My extent of experience with dogs had been reading Clifford books or watching them on TV. In person, I’d never so much as played or pet any dogs – until this moment, that is. That particular day, I was filled with a sadness I’d never truly known, and was unsure how to silence it, or at least alleviate it. Seeing Darby, I asked both my parents, if it would be okay if Hope (my sister) and I went outside to play with him. With their approval, we made our way outside and asked his owners if it would be okay for us to play with him. Within minutes, Darby, Hope and I were running together through our respective backyards with frisbees, laughing and delighting in the cool breeze, our worries quickly slipping away. Sometimes, I’d stop to run my small fingers through his soft, golden mane, or to let him happily lick my arms and face. Seeing his happy, carefree smile filled me with a joy I’d never truly experienced before until that moment; the moment my love of dogs was cultivated. From that moment on, I knew I was meant to be a dog owner. Though I didn’t become one until my 14th birthday, Darby created for me, the ability to love another, canine and human, igniting a healing from a pain no 9-year-old child should ever have to experience.

Dog Quotes             Dog Quotes 2

Looking back, I owe Darby a lot for that day. While he might have only shown up, by doing so, he helped me heal and taught me the meaning of selflessness, of taking life one moment, one laugh and one smile at a time. I’m grateful for that day, because no matter how painful it was, it taught me that “We don’t always need advice. Sometimes all we need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart that understands. Sometimes all we need is a dog.”

Paw Prints Heart

 

Enough As You Are

Good Thursday morning, to you! As I’ve mentioned in the past, I follow several journalists and TV anchors who often post motivational or inspirational quotes, many of which deeply resonate with me, more often than not. Today, no exception:

This morning, I awakened to a quote posted by one of my favorite journalists/TV anchor’s, Hoda Kotb, which reads:

“You are enough, not because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were.”

This quote resonated with me, because so often I find myself questioning my worth: Did do enough? Did I contribute enough? Did I help in the way I should have? Could I have done more? What am I doing to help others? These thoughts often ruminate inside my mind, but this quote places these worries into perspective: just by being here, we are enough. We’ll never know the magnitude we might have on someone or on their life. It can be solely by our presence, a hug, a squeeze of the hand, a loving smile, a laugh, an acknowledgement in some way, no matter how small. Sometimes, we can comfort others simply by our ability to sit quietly beside someone who might be hurting, or other times, a simple hello or how are you, can brighten someone’s day.

So, if you ever find yourself questioning: am I enough? Always remember, the answer is yes, because even if you might not always see your worth, you are needed and MORE than enough.

You Are Enough

A Sunday Synopsis

It’s been awhile since I last checked in, so I figured what better day than a rainy Sunday morning to do a brief check-in and snapshot of some of my latest happenings.

Sunday quoute

A couple weeks ago, I decided to finally take the leap and craft a Facebook page for Melissa’s Morning Musings! I’d held off for awhile for my own silly reasons, but ultimately felt it was a good choice to go ahead and create one. Since creating one, I’ve posted numerous photos, quotes and thoughts, so if you’d be so kind, please head on over to the Melissa’s Morning Musings Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MelissasMorningMusings/), take a look and if you’d be interested in doing so, consider “liking” it, so you can instantly see my latest updates!

Quote 2

In other news, over the past week or so, I finally noticed the beginnings of the Fall foliage transpiring. In my local area (suburbs of Philadelphia, PA), some trees are starting to show pleasant golden hues of yellow, red and orange, while others are still fairly green. In an area not far from me (about 25 minutes depending upon traffic) in Princeton, NJ, the Fall foliage is a bit more abundant. In fact, the other evening as my sister, mom, niece and I drove through the town, we were greeted by a vibrant glow of yellow hues radiating from the changing trees. At one point, I was so overcome with the beauty we saw, I could barely place it into words.

Autumn quote

With that being said, for me, Autumn has always signaled new beginnings or turning over a new leaf (how appropriate!). Still, I can’t help but sometimes feel a bit defeated when I think about all the dreams and goals I still have yet to reach. Thankfully, I’ve stumbled across numerous quotes motivating and propelling me towards perseverance and strength. Therefore, the following are some of them, which I hope may resonate with some of you who may be reading, as well:

Autumn Quote 2

Quotes:

“There is nothing wrong with who you are in-between smiles.”

“Carve a tunnel of hope through a mountain of disappointment.”

“Love is not about how much you say I love you, but how much you prove that it’s true.”

“When someone really loves you, they believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.”

“Always leave people better than you found them. Hug the hurt. Kiss the broken. Befriend the lost. Love the lonely.”

Lighting the way for others illuminates your own in return.”

“It’s okay to wait for the love you deserve, do not compromise or settle because of loneliness.”

“Behind every picture is a story. Don’t be afraid to share yours.”

Fall in love with someone who doesn’t make you think love is hard.

Leaves quote

 

 

Courageous in Words

Recently, I had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of some mistreatment when it comes to being heard and recognized. Respect is not something I take lightly, nor do I think it should be withheld from those who are deserving. Though, for me, it is often a challenge to not take the mistreatment and turn it inward, judging and chastising myself for whatever I “did or didn’t do” in my mind. Soon enough, I’ve created a situation that may or may not be the truth or the reality of what occurred. During this times, as I did on this recent, particular occasion, I remind myself that the ways other people treat us is not a reflection upon us, but often a reflection upon them. When we speak up during these times, we advocate not only for ourselves, but for others; others who may be too afraid to speak, too afraid to acknowledge their hurt, or pain. During these trying times, I remind myself of this – speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

With that being said, in light of all the controversies and challenging topics being discussed and argued about in the public forum, I thought it might be the opportune time to share some of the recent quotes I’ve stumbled upon via social media. As I previously mentioned in some of my earlier posts, these quotes are often from SimpleReminders.com, and now, the inspirational jewelry company I’ve come to love and admire – Alex and Ani. Of course, not all the quotes are from these two sources, but many are:

Stand up quote 2

“Whatever your beliefs, wherever you stand, you don’t have to be alone.”

“If you don’t make peace with your past, it will keep showing up in your present.”

“While your past may influence your future, it does not dictate it. Every day is a new beginning.”

“You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.”

“I never lose, either I win or I learn.”

“The sooner you stop looking for something, the sooner it will find you.”

“Be with someone who makes you laugh even when you don’t want to smile.”

“If you don’t say what you’re thinking, no one will ever hear you.”

“Sleep doesn’t help if it’s your soul that’s tired.”

“Appreciate hard times. Someday they’ll just be another chapter in your success story.”

“Your story can help save someone’s life. Your silence contributes to someone’s struggle. Speak so we can all be free. Love so we can all be liberated. The moment is now. We need you.”

“It’s better to walk alone then with a crowd going in the wrong direction.”

Stand up quote

 

Paw Prints on My Heart

I’ve never known romantic love. I’ve never felt that deep connection or pull propelling me towards a man.. yet. I’m not a mom and have never experienced what it might be like to mother a child.. yet. One feeling I do know, quite fondly for that matter, is the love between a dog and it’s owner. Since days before turning 14-years-old, I’ve been able to proudly identify myself as a dog owner, or “dog Mom,” more appropriately. I’ve known what it is like to care for another being so profoundly. To be sitting at school or work, wondering what he’s doing, thinking or feeling and if it’s he’s okay. I’ve known what it is like to worry for countless hours as he was rushed into emergency exploratory surgery after a grave, life-threatening surgical error on part of a veterinarian. I’ve known what it is like for my entire family to gather together during this moments as we anxious and nervously awaited word from the veterinarians regarding his status.

Oliver in his shirt.png                       Oliver smiling 2

Throughout my entire adolescence and adult life, Oliver, my 15-year-old Bichon Frise has taught me more than most people probably could. He’s taught and shown me the meaning of resilience and strength, even when he’s in pain. He’s stayed by me because he knew I needed him and still do. He’s been my one constant in my life – my only consistent co-worker, sitting beside me through the pain, the happiness, the turmoil, the challenging moments, only separated for brief periods of time throughout the course of his life.

Paw Prints

He fills the house with energy and light, even when he’s fast asleep in his bed, I can still feel his presence, clearly coloring my life and being my constant companion. When I reflect on his life and all the moments we’ve shared together, I only smile, as I remember him as a puppy, laying on the grass with me as a young teen, as we helped put together a swinging outdoor chair in our former house. He’s been through more than many dogs probably have their lifetime and yet, he epitomizes strength and courage. He looks to me with his eyes filled with emotion, almost telling me he is holding on, still filled with much life inside of him. How I hope he knows each and everyday, I’ll always fight for him, always stand up for him, because he’s always done so for me, looking to me for guidance and direction. Him and I have never given up on each other, holding on through love and courage.

Animal Eyes

I’ve come to know through Oliver that often times, the best cure and treatment for most anything is love and companionship – two remedies that are never too costly for anyone, because they are priceless. The greatest gift I’ve ever been given is Oliver, it is because of him, I know I’m capable of loving another.

Dogs Feel