Archive for Life After Loss Posts

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.

published in A Widow's Awakening Book, Book Reviews, Death, Grief, Life After Loss, Widowhood by Maryanne | April 26, 2019 | No Comment

Grief Reiki Weighs in on A Widow’s Awakening Book

 

“I cried, I laughed, and found compassion for this woman who was courageously trying to navigate through what seemed like a terrible dream. This book is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone they loved and struggled to find their way in the aftermath of tragedy.”

– Sharon Ehlers, Grief Reiki®

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one?

Sharon Ehlers is the founder of Grief Reiki® LLC. She is the author of “Grief Reiki®; An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss” and co-author of “Grief Diaries; Surviving Loss by Suicide.” Sharon is an Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist and a Reiki Master Teacher. I was very honoured when she reviewed my book, “A Widow’s Awakening,” recently.

Here is what Sharon had to say…

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency. After the tragic death of her police officer husband Sam, Adri struggles to breathe let alone move forward in her life. With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you. Having lost my own loved one tragically, I could so relate to everything Adri was feeling, experiencing and describing…”

Please click here to read the full review.

To purchase A Widow’s Awakeninghere is the link to the list of on-line retailers.

About Grief Reiki®

Grief Reiki® LLC is a small business based in Los Angeles, CA. They specialize in providing The Grief Recovery Method® educational programs to individuals, small groups and corporations. They also integrate the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of grief through the Japanese Healing Art of Reiki. They offer individual and group grief recovery education, Reiki healing & relaxation sessions, as well as in-person or online classes and webinars.

For more information, please visit Grief Reiki.

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. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

 

Until We Meet Again Podcast – Elizabeth Fournier Interview with Maryanne Pope

 

“When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.”

– From the poem, When Great Trees Fall, by Maya Angelou

On Thursday April 11th, 2019, I was very honoured to be interviewed by Elizabeth Fournier, host of the KKPZ-AM radio show, “Until We Meet Again,” out of Portland, Oregon.

The show gently opens up conversations about death in a culture where people are often left wondering what to say or do after the loss of a loved one, or when supporting someone who is grieving.

Right before my interview, Elizabeth read Maya Angelou’s poem, When Great Trees Fall, in it’s entirety. It is a beautiful piece of writing…and was a perfect start to our candid and heartfelt chat about death, grief and life after loss.

For this blog post, I chose to use the above image of the ocean, as well as the starfish excerpt from my book, A Widow’s Awakening, because Elizabeth began our interview by asking me about my new home in Parksville on Vancouver Island…and whether I had a view of the ocean. As you’ll hear in the podcast, I told her no, I didn’t have a view of the water but I do have a lovely garden view and am a 5-min drive from the sea.

Now that nearly 19 years (can you imagine?!) have passed since my husband John’s death, I can safely say the tide HAS returned for this starfish…I am happy again 🙂

To listen the 30-minute podcast with our interview, here is the link.

My interview will be played on the radio show in 6 weeks (so late May/early June 2019). In the meantime, if you’re interested in listening to the show, Elizabeth has some really neat guests. The show can be heard every Thursday at 2 pm (PST).

“Maryanne’s book is unlike any widow book I’ve read due to her honest nature of stumbling her way through the relationship with her husband while he was alive, and after his death. Her outlook is pragmatic, courageous, and I believe quite helpful for widows to feel they are not alone in their journey becoming the awakened person they were meant to become. A Widow’s Awakening offers a wonderful balance of practical knowledge and inspiring advice that will give its readers a sense of peace and hope.”

– Elizabeth Fournier, Until We Meet Again radio host

To purchase A Widow’s Awakening, please visit BHC Press for a list of on-line retailers.

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. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.