You are perfectly fine until something catches your eye. And then everything changes in the space of a few seconds.

This morning I got up, ate yogurt, and headed to the Walmart Market. I hadn’t bought groceries in several weeks and I needed to fill the pantry.

Driving home I decided to drive through McDonalds.

Several blocks away I sat at a traffic light. I glanced over and in the car next to me was an older man and a big floppy eared dog.

The dog sat in the passenger seat, still and perfectly behaved, just like a person. At one point the dog looked over at me.

I could not take my eyes off this old beat up car with the man and the dog. It made me think about Abi.

The man reached over and patted the dog on the head and I burst into tears. That was all it took.

So I drove through McDonalds with my sun glasses on pretending I was fine. I cried all the way home. I got myself together enough to come inside because I knew it would upset Charlie to see me that way.

Pathway To Grief:

It is things like this that make up the pathway of our grief. The path doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. It meanders over hills and down into valleys. We have no control over it whatsoever.

I’m crying now just thinking about that man and his dog.

The old man obviously was poor, that much was evident. But with his dog by his side, he was rich in companionship, for a dog is loyal forever.

They might have been sitting in a car that wasn’t far from the car cemetery, but they had one another. And that is enough.


Grief is hard during the holidays. This is my first Christmas without Abi.

What I would give to be in that man’s shoes today. Driving down the street with Abi in the passenger seat, patting her on the head at the traffic light.

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  1. It is so hard this time of the year. Everything seems to bring tears. I lost my little Maggie on Dec 21st 2016. She was a sweetheart like your little Abi. We will always miss them. Give Charlie a big hug. I don’t think Ivy would let you hold her very long?

    Thank you for your story about the man and his dog. True Love..

    Merry Christmas to you, Charlie and Ivy

    Marilynn and Hayley

  2. Such a touching post. I could just envision the man and his dog. It is truly amazing how quickly a memory can trigger us. I know how much you miss her. I’ll so thankful you have Charlie and sweet little Ivy. I love all the stories and pics you share of them. Merry Christmas dear friend.

  3. Thank you for sharing this story of your glimpse of the man with his dog in the old truck and your burst of grief over Abi. As tough as the experience was for you, it shows your ability to see something meaningful in that brief glimpse of a passing stranger. So many people fail to even notice what is happening around them and therefore miss out on opportunities for learning and healing. Now you’ve passed that moment on and we all can get meaning from it. Thanks again.

  4. So sorry for your grief, but so happy that you have the spirit to have seen in that man what is important in life…it is the love we feel from others, be it our pets or family and friends. I have 7 doggies and what I find with them all, and with the ones I have lost in the past…they all have special personalities just like we, as humans do.. and no matter whether we adopt new ones into our lives in whatever way, they bring us much happiness but can never replace the lost ones… Thank you for such beautiful posts, and Merry Christmas to you and all of your loved ones….
    and wishes for health and prosperity in your world and blog post. :0) …

  5. Tears run down my cheeks as I read this .I feel your pain because it is exactly as mine is
    This holiday season .I am so grief stricken some days I can hardly go .I feel my chest tighten up and feel I cannot breathe when things happen like you experienced today with the man and his dog .
    Also when we have health problems that just makes the grief worse .
    I am in a grief group online that has helped me or I feel I might not have survived this year .
    I would have done one on one counseling but have been too sick to go for those type appointments .
    My heart breaks for you .
    I can only say we are gonna make it but we just have to go thru the pain and accept the loss ,it helps to know we are not alone .
    Please do what you need to do if that means staying in jammies all day then do it .We have to be kind to ourselves .
    I am so happy you got Ivy she is helping your process and Charlie needed her too .
    Ivy brings smiles both to you and Charlie and helps the Long Winter days to be less lonely for you both.
    I wish you a peaceful and quiet Christmas and send hugs to you .
    And I sincerely hope your pain gets better .

  6. Brenda, if I had been with you, sitting there, along side of you, at that moment, I too would have had tears in my eyes, and hugging your hand in mine. We are who we are, and are hearts will always be open to the hurt, that we have our lives. Christmas always seems to bring up our bittersweet memories, but also, so many awesome memories that we have not made yet. I wish you and your two cutie pies a VERY Merry Christmas. .Hugs and lots of love to you, I really do think of you often, and I wish we lived closer to each other, I think we would be pretty fine friends…..Bonnie in WI

  7. Bless your sweet heart Brenda…I hope that you and Charlie and pretty little Ivy have a quite, peaceful, loving Christmas…Precious Abi will be with you in spirit…

  8. There was a song on the radio recently with the words, “Santa can’t bring me what I want for Christmas because all I want for Christmas is you” and just like yourself Brenda, I couldn’t stop the tears.

    It happens this way and after all, how do we ever forget a living breathing entity that came into our lives and brought us so much companionship, love and joy? We never really do and even though we live through grief and eventually find way, we do it because we must and not because it was ever choice.

    For all those who have loved and lost Christmas can be a very hard time of the year and something that needs to be recognized always.

  9. Awww Brenda, I understand what you’re going through. I lost my Dad this year (and my Mother in 2017) so it’s hit me hard this holiday season, knowing that it’s the first Christmas of my life without a living parent. I’m grateful for my kids and grandkids of course, but I miss being married (ex-husband cheated on me and just got married again), I miss my doggie who passed a few years ago & now I miss my parents. Hang in there Brenda (((hugs)))

  10. In November of 2017 my Max got away from me at the vets. He crossed 4 major busy streets in early morning traffic. We looked everywhere and the vet paid for a reward and a dog detective. We found him two weeks later. He and Carson, a mix of hound and shepherd, were buddies. The best company. Carson started in the following spring with tummy problems and I tried different foods, probiotics. Max had a clogged salivary gland his whole life but got suddenly larger and had surgery in May. Metastatic cancer, less than a year. Less than a month later Carson had to helped over the rainbow bridge and three days later Max. The quiet was so awful. I still cry when I read on Facebook or Instagram on people’s loss of their pets. We now have Charlie and Buddy, one was a pup and the other a rescue. I love them but I miss my first boys so very much.

  11. My grandson Zachary was killed by a drunk driver on December 11, 2016. He was 23, had graduated from college, just accepted a position as the tennis coach for his home school. He had a lovely girlfriend, his beautiful labrador, Chloe, and life was perfect. His life was ended instantly. After two years, December, Christmas, Golden Labradors, tennis rackets, tall blonde young men, and his loss still causes me to break down. I understand your grief as I have it too. Grief is everlasting, I guess.

  12. Life is full of bittersweet moments such as this that remind us of our truly dearest gifts, present and past, and helps open our eyes to those around us and the simple pleasures we have in our lives. Happy Christmas, Brenda. ? May peace and contentment follow you into the new year ahead. ?

  13. Sorry you’re having a sad day, Brenda. You’re so right about the man and his dog and you and Abi – worth so much more than a fancy car or anything that money can buy. I hope you’re feeling a little better. ??+???=❤️

  14. Zippo is buried in our back yard. I went out there yesterday and looked at his fresh grave and my heart broke all over again. There was something Brian saw yesterday too, that reminded him of Zippo and made him feel very sad.

    Yesterday I was doing yoga in “my” room…it used to be Phil’s bedroom. There’s a big family photo of the four of us on the wall and I couldn’t help but focus on Phil. It’s been 9+ years now and I try so hard to imagine what he’d be like now and what he’d look like…and then I think “another Christmas without him.” No matter how many years it’s been, it’s still incredibly sad. A mama’s heart will always be broken.

  15. Grief takes time Brenda and for all of us its different and especially hard at the holidays. Just shed the tears and than keep going that’s all we can do.
    Thank you for writing his blog every day, telling you stories about your two fur babies and sharing your pictures with us. Its means a lot to the rest of us. Sending you (((((hugs)))).

    Merry Christmas to you, Charlie and Ivy

    1. Sorry I didn’t read carefully – Have the world “you” after telling. My eyes and my mind don’t always work at the same time. LOL

  16. Grief for our little ones just sneaks up like a thief in the night, doesn’t it? My Daisy has been gone for a few years now, but I shed tears for her every once in a while… now. So sorry for what you are going through, again and again. Grief lessens, but never ends.

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