I finished the book I was reading last night, “How To Walk Away.” It was a great read and well written. There was sadness and there was joy.

The subject matter was a lesson for us all. That happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. The happiness we yearn for may not be the happiness we find.

Purple morning glories

And something you’ve all been telling me since Abi died was on full display in this book.

It takes great pain to feel great joy. It’s like a pendulum swinging back and forth between extremes.


I miss Abi. I cry for her. I feel like someone has yanked an appendage from my body. She was so tied to me she was part of me.

I can’t even imagine the possibility of feeling that same degree of joy, balanced against the degree of sorrow I now feel. But I accept that it could be so.

Grief takes you by the hand and leads you. You cannot pull away. It owns you for a time.

You stand at the shore and see something curious far out at sea. It beckons to you like a shiny coin. You wade into the water to see it better. And then you’re in too deep.

Maybe that’s how grief is. You have to give up trying to control it because it cannot be controlled. You have no choice but to give in to it.

The vast ocean lifts you up with its strong watery hands. Until it finally delivers you back to land. When it knows you are strong enough to stand on your own two feet again.

Sorrow and loss is crushing. But after walking barefoot on broken seashells, finally there is just sand. And you think maybe you’ve come through the worst of it.

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  1. I so enjoyed this beautiful and heartfelt read .I am also dealing with loss.
    This read today touched my soul .I could feel your pain.
    Thank you for sharing .
    I think someday we will feel different and hopefully better.
    Hugs to you in your journey .

  2. Brenda, a while back I told you the story of my little dog Bear who is my faithful little friend, always at my side. He has had recurring bouts of pancreatitis where I’ve feared I would lose him along with spine problems that left him yelping in pain simply because he also has liver issues and it would be too hard on his liver to handle any pain killers. Then along came Stage 2 kidney failure. Bear is 12 and a half and I wondered how his younger ‘brother’ Jasper would handle it when Bear eventually passed away. You see, Jasper is what I suspected to be a Special Education dog. Highly anxious at all times, hiding in corners to sleep, and fearful of all other people other than our immediate family. Jasper was a healthy dog and never sick a day in his 12 years. Vet visits were strictly for regular check ups and vaccinations. Well, our world came crashing down when Jasper suddenly became ill 4 days after my husband returned home from his mother’s memorial in another city. I stayed on for a few days longer to visit my side of the family. It became clear very quickly that Bear was very ill neurologicaly and he was transferred to an emergency hospital here in Toronto. The clinic has specialists available in all the medical fields for all types of God’s creatures. Unfortunately, Jasper had to be put to sleep because the neurologist diagnosed him with a brain tumor. Three weeks ago today (Sunday), he became sick mid afternoon and by mid-day on Monday it was clear the kindest thing for Jasper was to put him to sleep. I was already booked to fly home that afternoon but my flight home was canceled due to major storms in the Toronto area closing the airport. When I finally arrived home on Tuesday, my husband picked me up at the airport and we went straight to the hospital so I could see Jasper and we both could say our good-byes together. Jasper was my husband’s little friend. Jasper always felt safe and calm with my husband but unfortunately, it was obvious to us by the time we artived at the hospital that Jasper was no longer able to even see us or recognize our voices whereas he had been able to recognize my husband the night before. I’m sure you know how we are both feeling, my husband even more so than I. At least, I still have my little Bear although he continues to go searching for Jasper in all his old hiding spots, whimpering and crying especially at night when it is time to settle down for the night. My husband is a wonderful man but is so broken he can speak Jasper’s name without still breaking down in tears. Life will get better but it will take some time. We never could have for seen ‘healthy’ and younger Jasper being the first of our pets to pass away. I’ve thought of you many times since your Abi passed away but couldn’t bear to write you since Bear had been so seriously sick at the same time as Abi but suddenly rallied and now seems healthier than ever. As we’ve been out and about with him in recent days so many people have commented on our playful puppy, asking us how many months old he was. They’re so surprised when we say 14 and a half years. I’m hoping he stays healthy until it is time for him to go. Maybe, we’ll be lucky to have him pass in his sleep.

    On another note, the weather has been dreadfully hot here and I’ve noticed the lack of bird song too. I think they are just conserving energy and moisture in this hot weather. I know how parched I get when it’s hot and when I have to talk a lot (like when I’m teaching). So maybe that is why the birds are so quiet. When all the plants are parched and the ground is so dry because of no rain, the birds curtain singing to conserve the moisture in their bodis. Just a thought anyway.

    1. I could barely read your words through the blurriness of my tears. I’m so very sorry. It will be 3 months on the 10th since I lost my sweet Abi. I still cannot say her name without my voice breaking. I understand your pain.

  3. My son and daughter in love had to put down their cat Max today, an emergency. Tomorrow they’re having to put down their dog..cancer. They have 3 children so it’s pretty sad at their house today and will be tomorrow. The youngest is 8 and she’s cried her little heart out. So sad but it couldn’t be helped. And life must go on.

    1. Doubly hard. I’m so sorry. And so hard on the little ones that don’t quite understand it all yet. My heart goes out to your family.

  4. I reread Anne Morrow’s book, Gifts from the Sea every year on August as a birthday present to myself. She may have been Charles Lindbergh’s wife and those not close to her might have been jealous of this fact. But truth be told, he had another “wife and children” while he was married to her. Her baby boy’s kidnapping and the great loss that she suffered can hardly be imagined by most of us. But Anne’s words always emote grace and a blessed soul. She was and still is my hero. I have read all of her books. She was Charles’ navigator on many of his flights. To me, she was the finest navigator of life.

  5. These are some extremely lovely images from nature to describe where grief can take us, and how we can move toward healing. Reminds me of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gifts From the Sea. Thank you.

  6. Brenda, I still miss Charlie Kitty after over 2 years of him being gone. I love Annie, but Charlie was a one of kind kitty. I’m so grateful he was in my life for 17 years. You are starting to feel the joy of Abi and less of the loss (which will always be there).

    1. Yes, the pain is there. But I find that now I can find a bit of happiness. I look at her framed photo and I think: How can I go my life without that little fluffy mutt being in it?

  7. I cried reading this one today. I’m not sure if I can relate to ever being on that sandy shore again Brenda. I except that I will have a piece of broken heart within me now for the rest of my days. I can’t even imagine a day coming that I will not pine for my boy or hurt at the cruelty of our separation.

    I don’t consider my grief complicated or even unusual. It just is. And whether explainable or even acceptable doesn’t matter a whit to me either … because it just is.

    All this said though I must also add this. I absolutely DO relate to your lovely expression, “it takes great pain to feel great joy” and absolutely know it to be true because I already had it. In reverse. Yes, for thirteen years I had a most wonderful gift. You could not have traded me a million dollars for what I had. I was an incredibly rich woman. Blessed beyond measure. Can there be more in life? I don’t think there is.

    Some journeys will not have a smile at the end. I know, all of life wants to promote optimism and it can have its purpose. I however am not at the time in life nor do I want to be. As sad as it may sound, it doesn’t matter either and mostly because I know …I already had it all.

    Now I wait until that day it returns to me and that’s where the smile is.

    Rainbow Bridge …I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    Bless you in your sorrow …

    1. Wherever we are in our journey of pain and suffering, I guess it just is what it is. And I don’t know that we can change it. I am so sorry for your loss. Though words cannot lessen the pain.

      1. No less sorry than I’ve felt for you Brenda. I don’t know why, talking on blogs, I don’t do this.

        I visited your blog at times but when you lost Abi my whole heart sunk horribly. I remember thinking to myself , “oh no, not this woman (and this woman in particular) is going to hurt soooooooo much”! “What can I do, what can I do”, I remember saying. Figured I was just suppose to scroll down and start blabbing so I did.

        It was a strange thing though and because I sensed your pain over and above and I just knew …this one is real bad. Strange as it is I wasn’t wrong and I absolutely know how much you’re hurting. I wish I could fix it for you too. Fix you and fix myself cause I’ve been a real stinkin mess.

        But it’s ok ..we’re sisters in loss and so I pray for Abi too. I asked my boy to meet her even, she will love Qway. The ladies always loved him. Abi couldn’t be in better paws 🙂

        Bless you …

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