Archive for Grief Posts

The Gift of Tough Love

“Today, I live where I want to live, do the work I believe in, and travel where I wish to go. I have a freedom I never thought imaginable. But not a day goes by that I don’t remember the tremendous cost at which this freedom came. John gave me everything he could in life and what he couldn’t, he gave me in death. As difficult as it was for our relationship to end with an argument, his tough love words turned out to be a tremendous gift.”

– Maryanne Pope

Need a kick-in-the-pants to get you back on track to achieving YOUR dream? 

You might want to read this article of mine that was recently published in Love What Matters:

What would you do if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your dream?

‘I am so scared,’ I said to my husband, John, while walking our dog, ‘of waking up 20 years from now and still not having finished writing a book.’

John stopped, turned to me and said, ‘You’re probably right about that, Maryanne…just as long as you know that will have been your choice.’

Ouch.

Then he leaned back his head and laughed. ‘Geez,’ he said, ‘I can be a real jerk.’

But in all fairness, we’d been together for 12 years by that point. That’s a long time to listen to someone talk about writing—yet doing very little in the way of actual writing. John’s dream had been to become a police officer. It had taken him eight years to get hired and I had watched him every step of the way as he worked towards his goal. Little did I know he’d also been teaching me the perseverance it took to achieve a dream…

Please click here to read entire article.

A huge heartfelt thank you to Eliza Murphy at Love What Matters for sharing our story!

Maryanne & John, 1994

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

published in A Widow's Awakening Book, Animals, Death, Dogs, Grief, Inspiration, Synchronicity, Widowhood by Maryanne | August 1, 2019 | No Comment

Podcast – Heartfelt Interview with Karin Sieger

 

Sometimes you really have to wonder at the timing of it all

The day before I was to leave for Ecuador, I had a phone interview with Karin Sieger – a therapist, writer & podcaster out of the UK – for her podcast, Soul Cravings.

Karin is a delightful person and I felt comfortable sharing some pretty personal material (about organ donation, grief, being widowed young, falling in love again, the role my dogs have played in my life, etc) in our 50-minute heartfelt interview.

Halfway through our phone call, my dog, Sadie, gave a few cursory barks from the back yard – just to let me know she had finished the chewie I had given her (to keep her quiet while I was on the phone…so much for that idea).

Sadie was insistent enough in her barks that I had to stop the interview to give her another chewie…which, of course, she didn’t really want. What she wanted was my attention. All this, of course, was being recorded in our interview. So much for professionalism. Thankfully, Karin was very understanding (she has a Diva dog of her own).

I ended up bringing Sadie inside, where she promptly lay down and fell fast asleep. Karin and I finished our interview and that was that.

Not quite.

Two hours later, I took Sadie to the vet for her ear infection – and ended up hearing the diagnosis of bone cancer. The next morning, I had to put her down. And let me tell you, it was really strange (not to mention heart-wrenchingly painful) holding Sadie’s paw as she passed between life and death…right after I had been telling Karin what it was like to hold my husband John’s hand in the ICU, as he succumbed to his injuries.

At any rate, after Sadie passed away, I e-mailed Karin to let her know. And she kindly dedicated our podcast interview to Sadie. Thank you, Karin!

If you would like to listen to the 50 minute podcast entitled,Coping with the death of your soul mate,” please click here.

Related blogs by Maryanne

Awakening the Soul – Loss as a Wake-Up Call

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Animals, Death, Dogs, Grief, Life After Loss, Pets by Maryanne | July 16, 2019 | 18 Comments

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

 

“Our animal friends teach us
More than we could have expected…
And love us
More than we could have hoped…

…That’s why we miss them
More than we could have imagined.”

– Anon

“I don’t have good news,” the vet said, after examining the x-ray of Sadie’s left wrist.

And in my heart of hearts I knew what news what coming…

Bone cancer.

Oddly enough, it was an ear infection I’d taken Sadie in to see the vet on Friday June 21st, 2019. Although I’d noticed her wrist had been swollen for the past two weeks, I hadn’t taken her to the vet to have it checked because…well, because deep down, I guess I knew something bigger was brewing and I didn’t want to face it.

But for me not to have marched Sadie into the nearest vet at the mere hint of an ailment was very uncharacteristic. That dog received better healthcare than most people on the planet.

In fact, because of her severe arthritis, as well as injuries from relentless ball-chasing, Sadie had been to so many different vets throughout the Western States & Canada that her regular vet teased me that the only way he was able to keep track of where I was at any given time was by the Sadie-updates sent to him by other vets…from Okotoks, Alberta to Newport, Oregon to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Anyway, after telling me the news that Sadie had both a tumor and a fracture on her left wrist, the vet laid out my limited options:

#1) Cancel my trip to Equador and stay home with Sadie as she succumbed to a very painful and fast-spreading cancer.

#2) Go on my trip and leave Sadie with her caregiver and take the (highly likely) chance of Sadie going downhill on his watch (without me).

#3) Put Sadie down before leaving on my trip.

I chose the third option and, according to the vet, by doing so both Sadie & I were likely spared an extremely difficult – and painful – month or two (she likely wouldn’t have lived longer than that with her diagnosis).

And so…at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 22nd, I bid farewell to my beloved buddy. Sadie’s passing was peaceful…for her. But I’m not going to lie…for me, it was excruciating. As I sat on the floor of the vet clinic, petting Sadie and comforting her as she prepared to pass between life and death, I could feel the waves of hurt surging up from deep within myself. It was brutal.

And I just went through this with my dog, Soda, five years ago…and Sable three years before that! But as Shakespeare said, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

After Sadie had passed, I sobbed my home, threw my suitcase in the CRV and headed to my friend, Lynne’s, place in Abbotsford – extremely thankful I didn’t have to spend a single second more in the house without my Sadie.

But here’s the amazing thing: although Sadie’s sudden death was akin to having a Band-Aid ripped off the old heart, the emotional aftermath – the grief – was surprisingly…brief.

One day I was scratching Sadie behind the ear as she passed away; the next day I was on a plane to Equador. In hindsight, it was as if the Universe had airlifted me – literally – out of the grieving process. Maybe I’ve wasted too much precious time over the past two decades grieving?

At any rate, when Lynne and I joined up with our tour group in Quito, Equador, we hit the ground running (well, okay…walking slowly due to the high altitude). And in the days to follow, I was too damn busy having fun, laughing, seeing new sites, experiencing new adventures, eating new food and meeting new people to be sad.

And the more I thought about Sadie, the more I realized how silly it was to be sad. She’d had an incredible life (a heck of a lot better than the flea-ridden dogs in Equador, let me tell you!). Our five years together had been chock-full of fun, adventure, road trips…and many, many orange & blue chuck-it balls.

Then, one morning at breakfast a few days into our trip, Charlie (who put the tour together), said to the group something to the effect of: “This trip is a celebration of life.”

Clunk went the coin as the truth hit me like a ton of bricks: I needed to be celebrating Sadie’s life versus mourning her death. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing…or trying to, anyway.

Now that I’m back home again and have had a few days to be in the house without her, I admit I miss her terribly. But then I look at a photo of her and see her big grin (on the rare occasion she didn’t have a ball stuffed in her mouth) and I can’t help but smile myself 🙂

In celebrating Sadie’s life, here are 3 things that stand out the most for me:

#1) Her joy…she was always smiling!

#2) Her love of new adventure (which made her the perfect road trip companion).

#3) Her relentless focus. Sadie the retriever took retrieving very seriously. Some have called her ball-obsession a bit OCD. But Sadie was born to retrieve and by God, that’s exactly what she did, day in and day out. May we all learn from Sadie’s intense focus. I sure have.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

Sadie & MA in Utah

 

Bring back the Expos!

 

Always in style…

 

Happy times together, California

 

The one time Sadie WASN’T smiling (or holding a ball in her mouth) because someone was holding her dinner HOSTAGE!

 

The look on Kitty Meow’s face is priceless…oh the indignity of a DOG not letting me in my own home!

 

Serious Sadie in her Russian hat

 

Relaxing by the fire…

 

Happy campers!

I was laughing out loud, putting these fabulous photos into this blog…hooray!

Take care and have a wonderful week! I would love to hear from you about your beloved pets 🙂 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.