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Loving Memories: The Grieving Process

Critters.com forum is a place to share thoughts and feelings and support each other during such difficult times.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
-Immanual Kant.

 

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12-17-2008 12:38 PM -- By: Thankful for wonderful people,    Pet's name:   
Good words...FABULOUS words Bobby and Carole. THANK YOU...BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


12-17-2008 12:20 AM -- By: Paula,    Critters.com memorial:   KARLEY Memorial
WE DID IT!!!  ...Today, Tuesday, at 4pm California time, Johnson was arrested & charged with FELONY ANIMAL CRUELTY for the beating death of precious Karley.  We realize that this is just the first hurdle but we made the jump & we are now moving onto hurdle #2. 

I want to thank each & every one of you that took the time to sign her petition.  You gave us so much strength & support.  There were times when we thought if what we were doing would even matter but it did.  I think the fact that we didn't back down, made the DA realize that we were NOT going to drop this issue.  We still won't back down.  We want this man to pay for what he has done.  At least he will be losing his job now that he has a felony record.  But he will most likely retire "in leau of" being fired which means he can still get his pension....and that stinks!!! Again....thank you from the bottom of my heart.

KARLEY...WE LOVE YOU TO THE MOON & BACK!!!....xoxoxo


12-16-2008 11:30 PM -- By: Bobby Foster,    Critters.com memorial:   Oscar Memorial
Today  I placed  the wreaths for  Christmas on my  beloved pets graves and  then  sadness entered  my  heart. once again.

Tonight I  was having a  sad moment that  found my  way to Critters to visit  my  beloved dogs memorial  page. I clicked into the forum section  to  find a beutiful well put  message from Carole . I aggree with Carole that this is a place to  come for support  and to find  confort  in others for  we all share a common bond,This  being the loss of a beloved pet. 

My best buddy Oscar dying then life seemed to get  back on track when a new pup entered my  life only  to  end in an unexpected tragedy. As Carole stated, It becomes  hard to breathe, it  consume our body at  time with overbearing grief. Then that ray  of sunshine  of a better day comes , though  may  be  short  lived does bring hope. The  things  we all experience  such as a loss  of a pet is all a part of  life.  At times it is almost more then  we  think  we  can  handle but yet somehow we do. 

God  for what ever the reason we have yet to  understand why a pet lives a short life. Something that brings much comfort to us day  after day and with  unconditional love. So it becomes hard to  understand why did God  not give  us a longer  time span to enjoy what we love. I believe my friends we just need to  have faith  and someday   perhaps  understand.   All I  know is  things  happen  and some get delt  more then others.

At times  I felt  like  the end of  the world had  come for me and  I  wasn't sure I would see tommorrow. So with  the tears and heavy heart I come  to this website to find that piece of  faith  I  have lost.  Carole  a very good  person along  with  many  others who  have  said that special something that  made me feel  better inside, able to find that ray  of  sunshine I so despertly sought. 

So the  bad  days  do  come, the ray of sunshine does peak through. As these holiday   times are upon us  many  of  us  will struggle  with  our loss. I  know  for me  Christmas was ny favorite  day  with my  pet . I have to  find  that  peace  with  in my heart this  year  as  I  still morn my  loss.

Thank you   my  beloved family here at Critters  for  bringing  me  that ray of sunshine, that glimmer of  hope and finding the road  to peace.  We journey together with  all that we  have  left , that  being the memories of our pets  that stay  with in our hearts .

For  our new family  members  who  have  entered, we feel and  share yoru  pain. There is  no  magic  words that can  take away  the  hurt but  kindness to  each  other  can.

May this  holiday season  bring  comfort  to us  all as we do this  with out  our  special  pet.. Peace  be  to  each  of  you and may  that ray  of  sunshine   peak through some how  some way and make for a better day.  Thank you all who  have  made me  feel  better when I  was sad, for  those of  you  who  made me laugh as  I visied yoru   memorial pages.

A treasure of  memories  is  what we all  share here, God Bless to each  and  everyone of  you!


12-16-2008 3:06 PM -- By: Shabba & Ebony's mom, Carole,    Critters.com memorial:   Shabba Lou Turner Memorial
"Critters Family" I am so thankful I am home with my precious babies. I am so thankful I have this wonderful group of people who have helped to support me, and walked my journies of grief with me. I wanted to share this with you. It is by Bev Swanson, a grief councelor. She is awesome!!  I hope this touches someones heart today. It touched mine. We love you all!!!

PEACE TO YOU

Peace to you this sacred night
peace into your storm
peace into your empty heart
that just feels oh so worn.

Peace to you this sacred day
where all is lost, even your breath
and tears come streaming down your face
because of this tragic death

Peace to you this moment now
it seems to take so long
because the pain is ever there
and nothing seems to make you strong

Peace to you oh broken heart
and to you dear grieving soul
Peace to you in this deep loss
a peace to make you whole.

I wish you peace within this place
of deepest loss and pain.
A peace that comes no matter what
bringing to you, life again.

An opportunity for more help and presence in your journey.


12-16-2008 3:01 PM -- By: Ebony & Shabba's mom, Carole,    Critters.com memorial:   Ebony Turner Memorial
...by Bev Swanson, a wonderful grief councelor.

It is hard to find peace in life for folks who are grieving. Your heart is wrenching in pain. Very little feels peaceful, either within or without. The world these days feel  far from peaceful when your loved one is gone. Your life as you knew it has changed in one single breathless moment.

Relationships shift and loved ones are also grieving and you have concern for them. Even your breathing is difficult. The list of unpeaceful events goes on and on... Everything is turned up-side-down. How can there be Peace?

Sometimes it can seem like such a long time until peace finds a place in your life. And yet it will come again.  Peace often comes into the midst of the grieving heart in little moments like small rays of sunlight peeking through the blackness. For one small second there are those moments where the heart
stills and is ok. This may only last for a moment before being hurled headlong into the waves again. And yet most people find that those moments gets more frequent as time goes on and those moments come a bit more often.

The thing is, if you stay with your grief, allow your pain and tears, you will find that a healing comes, like a calm during and after a great storm. For a time you may very well experience huge storms, waves of chaos and what may seem like nothing even close to peace.

Peace will return to your soul in time

There is also that solid peace that underlies all, the peace of knowing that you are being held in all this pain.  That the healer of your heart and soul is indeed with you, loving you back into the land of the living. But peace, true peace is not dependant on our circumstances.  True peace is found in the deepest parts of our being. It is that deeper place of knowing that somehow, in all of this you will be ok....and even at this moment are somehow ok in the not "ok-ness" of this grieving journey. This is the peace that passes understanding.  This is the peace that comes from someplace other than ourselves.

And so it is, this deeper peace comes into our chaotic grieving experiences, being presence, being love, being peace. I love you my dear Critters family...more than you could ever know.


12-15-2008 10:37 AM -- By: Charles,    Critters.com memorial:   Sammy Memorial
To All My "Critters" Family .... I, Cupcake and Bob wish ALL OF YOU a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  I personally want to thank each and every one of you who have stopped .. and continue to stop by my son Sammy's memorial.  How I still miss him so very much .. but with his baby sister Cupcake .. who is a "split" image in every way of her big brother .. I am doing better. 

I just know that Sammy sent Cupcake to me because he knew that when he left to Rainbow Bridge .. I was very depressed and sad .. and when the television news came on one day about Cupcake and her torture, I just knew I had to save her ... and after a few weeks of calling and e-mailing ... I was the "chosen one" as the founder of "Almost Home New Mexico" said .. so I knew I had my baby girl Cupcake for good.  She is truly loved and she knows it ... as is her little brother Bob Macaroni ... names that were given to them before I adopted them both .. and I kept.

Again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to EVERYONE .... We Love You All .......  Charles, Cupcake and Bob Macaroni .......


12-15-2008 6:20 AM -- By: brenda ,    Critters.com memorial:   BUSTER Memorial
Hello Carol,

I could not believe what i was reading just on the forum, Carol im so sorry you have gone through such a bad time, i do pray you are getting better, dont worry about your two babies Ebony and Shabba they just want there mommy to get better, and we on here will keep popping in on youe two special babies and making sure they are ok and leaving them messages of love, We all do love Ebony and Shabba you have made them part of all of us on critters and we will look after them, you have always look after all of us and thank you for that , So you take care Carol i will email you also to catch up with you,

love and hugs from us all,


12-14-2008 6:38 PM -- By: Ebony & Shabba,    Critters.com memorial:   Ebony Turner Memorial
Hello "family". I've had a tough time these last few weeks. I've been on chemo treatments since November 14th. I tried this same treatment back in 2006 and relapsed. What I wasn't aware of is that this time I was a few pounds heavier, and the dosage on the Interferon injections and Ribavirin pills were increased significantly. This took an unexpected turmoil on my body.

I couldn't stand up Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday or eat food and drink water so I was in very sad physical shape. I was dehydrated, anemic and just plain sick. I am a fighter an thought I could make myself better. Well, Wednesday evening I was filling Maggie's water bowl and passed out in the kitchen. I crawled back into the living room with Maggie walking and leaning against me while I crawled out of the kitchen. She clearly new somethng was wrong. I've never been this sick in front of my pups. When I got out to the living room I leaned over on the couch-bed, and Tina Turner came up to me and layed down in front of my face just an inch away, and just stared at me. They are amazing!!!

I truly didn't think I was going to make it. At the moment I came to after fainting, I thought I was going to die. I ended up calling 911 and was admitted to Sharp Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, with a red blood count of (9.5...extremely low, as 13 is normal). Had it lowered to (8) I would have been required to have a blood transfusion (per the attending emergency room doctor.) This is also one of the serious side effects of the meds. The chemo treatments were on the way to killing me. The Doctor ordered me to stop all treatment on Tuesday, December 9th, as this time it was ruining my red and white blood counts, I was fading fast, and I also found out through an ultra sound and blood work that my gall bladder was inflamed (another side effect of the meds.) I am back home now THANK GOD. I will never knock any type of treatment and/or medical research, but I will say and have learned the hard way that "the treatment" is not always "the cure."

I wanted to give you an update, as you have all been so supportive while I 've been down not only for the losses of Ebony and Shabba Lou (who I am still grieving deeply over), but also during this physically trying time I faced. I never knew so many people cared for me this way.

I thought I had a high threashold for pain, and just knew I could fight the meds...well, I still have a high threshold for pain, but when bad side effects happen, there is nothing that can stop those effects except for stopping the meds and being treated back to health. Needless to say the Doctor told me that the HEP C virus would jump right back into my bloodstream full-force, and apologized for this happening. I am going to take the route of Herbal remedy, and make my liver as healthy as possible. I have no other choice (and no other  liver) at this point. People who have HEP C are put at the bottom of liver transplant lists, as their diseaae is blood-born, and would affect a new liver. This disease is killing 10,000 people each year here in the USA.

I am thankful I am here today and can move on and look forward to being heathly again. I've learnd a lot this past week. Please pray for me, as I begin my healing. I am off work all next week as well, so I will be feeling better each day that passes. I can't tell you how I missed being on Critters. I went on the site yesterday and visited my babies, and felt like I hadn't seen them in years. I must have shed a few five-gallon buckets of tears. I missed Tracie's baby Lil Joe's birthday and Darlene's Taz' two year bridge date. I felt horrible that I missed them, so I will contribute a "better late than never" special condolence to them.

I want to thank you all from the deepest place in my heart for all your support. You are truly all "earth angels", and I commend you for not forgetting about me and my kids. I wish you many blessings this holiday season, and I have the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for...coming home to six loving pups, who have been on me like a baby whale on its mommy's side. They know! Aren't they just the best gifts we could have ever been blessed with? I love you all, and will become more active again soon. THANK YOU for being my family. Luv and hugs from Ebony, Shabba, their momma and "the rest of my pack." Peace be with you.


12-13-2008 9:57 AM -- By: Stacy,    Critters.com memorial:   Minnie Memorial
If anyone wants to help Loney Angel's memorial with graphics, poems, etc., just add your e-mail to the guestbook to get the password from "someone who cares."  Let's make Angel feel really welcomed here!


12-12-2008 10:41 PM -- By: ,    Pet's name:   
Please visit Lonely Angel a newcomer to Rainbow Bridge under very sad circumstances, we need to show what loving compassionate Human beings are all about. Thank-you, Much Love


12-12-2008 9:59 AM -- By: Lauvern,    Critters.com memorial:   Luke Memorial
Hi Everyone. I just wanted you all to know i have not forgotten you. I have been busy with the shelter which by the way will open the first week of January. With the holidays upon us ,it has been a battle to get all the building inspectors,etc to come and  okay the building. It all has been approved now but because of the busy time right now with company coming and going,etc. I have chosen to open in the New year.I am still waiting on cat furniture to come in this week but other then that i am ready to open.. The topping of my life long dream will be when i get these unwanted and abused fur babies in my care until i can get them adopted out to a forever loving home. Thankyou all who have visited Luke's memorial and left such heartfelt notes. Thankyou all for the email..I truely do appreciate that. Thanks again. I will get to visit your fur babies tributes real soon. Wishing  you all a Happy Holiday season . Hugs to all. Lauvern


12-12-2008 9:19 AM -- By: Stacy Allen,    Critters.com memorial:   Minnie Memorial
A month ago, the vet found crystals in the urine of my 7 month old kitty, Stimpy.  He was placed on antibiotics, steroids, and special food.  He finished all of his medications this past Wednesday, so I gave the vet a urine sample yesterday, hoping that everything would be fine.  The vet called me at 10pm last night saying that although there are no longer crystals (thank goodness!), Stimpy now has a bacterial infection.  Back to the vet for MORE antibiotics for the next month!  This kitty has been through so much in the last few months.  Will it ever end?


12-11-2008 2:14 PM -- By: Carol (Copper and Taz's Mom),    Critters.com memorial:   My Copper Girl Memorial
Well, Here it is two years this morning that I had to let my best friend go.  I have been thinking about it alot the last few days and then this morning at exactly the time she stopped breathing I looked at the clock and remembered.  I had  gotten a sweet balloon and went out and let it go to her.   It drifted into one of the trees in her front yard.....I thought "Oh No"  and then asked God to free it and sent it on its way.  it wiggled here and there and then unbelievably it made it's way through all the little branches and then it was free.  Thank you God!!!!  Take care of my Girl for me untill I can one day do it again myself! 


12-11-2008 5:30 AM -- By: Joy,    Critters.com memorial:   Angel Memorial
Hi All...I haven't had alot of computer time so I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to all who stopped by and left birthday messages for my Angel and those who thought of her on her 9th Angel Day at the Rainbow Bridge.  I am trying to catch up and will give personal thanks as soon as I can but please know it made those two days easier knowing my critters friends cared :)  You all are in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season...xoxo Joy (Angel, Taffy & Patches Mom)


12-10-2008 12:58 PM -- By: Cindy,    Critters.com memorial:   Daisy Memorial
I know what you mean Tracie.  I don't visit much here either anymore.  It's just to paintul to think about all the hurt and grief people are going thru.  Daisy's birthday is this month.  I'll still light a candle for her on Christmas Eve and have a good cry.  I'll do Santa with my new beagle, Shiloh and my old Newfoundland, Buddy.  It's not the same; but I know in my heart, I'll see her again. I think WE ALL will see our beautiful babies again.  I really have to believe that.

Happy Birthday to Lil Joe!! Daisy's mom (Cindy)


12-10-2008 10:25 AM -- By: Tracie Lil Joe's Mommy,    Critters.com memorial:   Lil Joe Memorial
Today is my Lil Joe's Birthday.. Words can't explain how much I still miss my babie, I know everyone here understands.. I just wanted to Thank Everyone for being such amazing Friends to me and my babie. I don't visit very much, it hurts. But I just wanted everyone to know that I truly haven't forgotten each and everyone of you that have touched my heart and made me smile... and to let you know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.. Hugs Tracie


12-08-2008 6:50 AM -- By: Amber,    Critters.com memorial:   Nvwati and Yukon Jack Memorial
Kelly... I am so sorry! I don't know what to say to you. I lost two of my babies in 8 months last year so it seemed just when I was beginning to smile again after losing Nvwati, Yukon Jack joined him at the bridge reopening my old scar   ( how old can an 8 month old scar be though eh) and another one started.

I remember Christmas being very hard last year when I still had Yukon with me but had Nvwati's urn on the fireplace. This year I have two urns there. I can tell you that despite it all I do have days where I don't cry for them. I actually have days where I can smile and laugh at things each of them did. I can sometimes share in a joke about how Nvwati was SUCH a big woose for being mostly wolf. And yes it hurts. I miss my sweet boys soooooooo very much! Know you are not alone in your pain. This is what has helped me. Take care.


12-08-2008 12:46 AM -- By: Annette (Stimpy,    Critters.com memorial:   Stimpy Memorial
Hi Everyone,  I just wanted to let everyone know that today is my beautiful boy Stimpy's Angel Day.  This day marks the one year anniversary of his passing and the beginning of his new life back home in Heaven.  I'm sure he has made tons of friends by now.  I'm sure he is very happy being surrounded by all of your loving, sweet and friendly furbabies.   I want to thank all of you for helping me through this extremely tough past year.  I really don't know how I would have coped without the kind, loving words, thoughts and prayers from all of you.  I have never known so much care and compassion, in my life, as I have received from you all.  I am truly blessed.   As always, I will keep you and your beautiful babies in my daily prayers.  God Bless.          

Love,      Annette


12-07-2008 4:19 PM -- By: Kelly,    Critters.com memorial:   Duke Memorial
It has only been one week, that we lost Duke.  Can anyone tell me if it gets easier?  The pain now is so intense.  I am focusing on all the good times and fond memories, but the pain is still there. Please tell me that it gets better.


12-07-2008 9:29 AM -- By: Amber,    Critters.com memorial:   Nvwati and Yukon Jack Memorial
Thinking of you all with lots of love especially during this time of year.I know holidays are especially hard on each of us.This year we will hang Nvwati and Yukon Jack's stockings on the fireplace along with Mkwaa's. No I have not gotten another dog or a cat or a bird. Its still just Mkwaa and I. I still can't bear the thought of ever losing another furbaby and am not there yet. Not sure I will ever be.  And I have had many offers................... everything from a shitzu to a 8 week old siberian husky ( THAT was tempting I have to admit but my heart says NO). Mkwaa and I are now settled into our new home and we love it here.

I apologize I have not been posting here much lately but I am in deep grief over not only the loss of my two sweet boys but also the recent murder of a family member. If you want to visit her site you can do so at virtualmemorials.com (sister site to critters.com) her name is Carolyn Connolly.  Feel free to visit her guestbook if you are moved to.

At times I can barely just do what has to be done on any particular day without anything extra. It is very very draining emotionally,spiritually and physically. Perhaps this will change once someone has been arrested and justice is served.

To those of you who asked........Mkwaa is doing great! She and I miss her brothers tremendously but we speak of both Nvwati and Yukon Jack daily in our home.  Their memories are VERY MUCH ALIVE with us. Mkwaa's lymphoma  has gone from 8 lumps to only 3 that I can now find so this is hopeful.I continue to use only alternative treatments on her, including tons of love,native american remedies,shiatsu and reike,. She is still healthy, is eating great and has good energy. Bless her little heart.......... without her I would have given up long ago!

12-06-2008 10:04 AM -- By: Ebony & Shabba,    Critters.com memorial:   Ebony Turner Memorial
Hello Critters family. I wanted to stop by and let you know that all of you, your precious angels and your families are in my heart this holiday season. I have not responded to all your lovely messages left for Ebony and Shabba yet, but I will. I am not feeling the best right now. I wanted to share something with all of you that touched my heart.

by Bev Swanson

Hope comes in the strangest of places.  The first being the hope of seeing our loved one again perhaps after our time of this earth is over.  But this tends to feel so very far away.  But a comfort and hope just the same. For us there was the hope of healing.  Did I dare to believe that healing would come? Was it even possible?  Will we even get through this?

And yet in the unfolding and embracing of the grieving process and in the slow and painful process of letting go, life seems to return and with it comes this hope.  The hope that even in death, all is well.  Such a dichotomy.  How could this be?

And the greatest hope is the presence that is felt in the love and support from family, friends....the hope that love still reigns in this dark world. This presence, this love brings hope that all is indeed not lost.
The hope that one day there will be reasons to get up in the morning.

A day when life will once again seem to be worth living and hope that breathing will come easier and days will not be interrupted with tears.  Hope that healing will come; and indeed is already happening this moment.

This is Hope

* Hope that one day the sun in your heart will shine again

* Hope that you will see your loved one on the other side

* Hope that you will find the song in your heart and soul once again

* Hope that those that are still with you will bring you the love you need

* Hope that you will heal and that all your tears will be worth the shedding

* Hope that the healer of your heart and soul will be close at hand

* Hope and a knowing that you are held by something and someone so much larger than any of us

"There is Hope...And So I Hope" a poem by Bev Swanson

I hope for that which can't be seen
and for the days unknown.
for presence, love and untold times
and all that is not shown.

I hope for love and light to one day be
my screaming heart to mend
and hope that though I cannot see
some love to me does send.

I hope that breath will soon return
and I will know your love so deep
and that I'm held in darkest days
while my poor heart does weep.

I hope for healing one day be
and for life be brought this way
and so for now I borrow hope
until I too can see one day.

I wish you "Hope" and blessings this season as you wait for hope to light your way; so that in darkest hours, you will know that you are not alone and that healing is most certainly possible and even happening this very sacred moment. Warm Blessings to you all this holiday season, as we all continue our healing process We love you more than you could ever know! Ebony, Shabba and family.

12-05-2008 11:18 AM -- By: Ann,    Critters.com memorial:   Wor Noops(Snoopy) Memorial
Today 2 years ago I had to let my boy go on his way. As I come to his memorial today I thought about what I could write that I hadn't already wrote.

Whilst browsing the internet i came across something a mother wrote and i can fully relate to what she was saying. There is never a good time, losing someone you love, but i think it's always so much harder around holiday times. After all, Christmas is about being surrounded by the ones we love.

This time last year, I dreaded the tree going up. All it reminded me of was Noops last day at home. However this year I found myself humming Christmas carols and the kids and I went out and bought the biggest tree we could fit in our home.

When i look and touch Noops photos around the house and touch his collar, I smile. I really smile because now I can think beyond his last day and remember our wonderful years together. I smile when i come to his memorial, whereas, in the past, i'd cry and cry.

I am so thankful to Noops for our wonderful journey together and i am so thankful to my friends old and new here at critters, for helping me on my own journey without Noops. Thankyou to everyone who has signed Noops guestbook and continue to do so, every entry is as precious as the first.

Remembering you today my Noops with so much love. Fly high always. x

My thoughts to everyone grieving as the holidays approach. I will post what i found on the internet to share. Grief is a long road, but it does get easier so i wish everyone some Christmas hope.

The following message written by an unknown bereaved mother eight years after the passing of her child. Her words offer hope. Maybe we can get through this year… and the years to follow...

Once again, it’s that time of year. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and Christmas is only a few steps behind. Will this year be different than the last seven? Will I find the magic again? Wait. Let me revise that question: Did I ever feel the magic?

As a bereaved parent, I have experienced only two holiday seasons. While I have physically lived through 49 hell-a-days, emotionally, there have been only two: The ones before and the ones after Jason’s death. The two categories are distinctly different.

If memory serves me correctly, which God knows it doesn’t always do, I spent the first 42 years focused on material issues. What would I get? What did I want? What would make me the happiest child in the whole world? As I grew older and had my own little family, I spent the next 22 years asking myself what I would get them. What did they want? What would make them love me more? How would I manage to pay for all of it? I always felt there was something missing . . . but didn’t really have the time or interest to find that missing something. Besides, why borrow trouble? Each year, by the time I realized that something was missing, the decorations were packed in their boxes and the kids had gone back to school. I could always find the magic next year.

In 1996, Jason died. Suddenly, my life ended its forward march and everything I had ever regarded as important became nonsense. My heart was not simply broken—it was ripped into shreds, emptied of what had fueled it over the span of my life. I had no hope of waiting for it to heal and had to face the reality that only a total reconstruction would suffice. I would have to create a new heart . . . from scratch.

That first fall was difficult. I was still numb, still cushioned from reality, but the pain of Jason’s death was beginning to seep in. Then it was Halloween, and the horror of what had happened was upon me. Thanksgiving came with Christmas on its tail, bringing an empty chair, an unbroken wishbone, and silence where laughter had once prevailed.

I was sure it could not get any worse, but life always surprises us. The holidays of 1997 and 1998 were devastating. The numbness that had protected me that first season was gone. Reality had arrived, and I could not escape it. I would never again see Jason walk through our front door with that grin that always made me nervous, tracking snow across my “freshly waxed for the holidays” floor. I would never again buy two of everything for Jason and his twin brother. I would never again . . . enjoy the holidays . . . or life.

Years four through seven, we bought gifts for needy families, hung Jason’s stocking right beside the rest of ours, illuminated special candles to include him in our celebrations, and smiled cheerfully at everyone who offered us their joy filled Merry Christmas. And as I spread my Christmas cheer and goodwill toward men, I had only one thought in my mind. It became my mantra: “If I can just make it through December, I will be okay.” I was no longer focused on the material side of the season. I was no longer focused on the season at all. I wanted it over.

And now, here I am, at year eight. My eighth season of joy, my eighth year of decking the halls, my eighth year of Jason’s physical absence. You probably think I am going to tell you that this year will be no different from the last seven. You might even anticipate that I am going to tell you that it never gets better, that there is no such thing as healing, and that grieving parents will always be bitter and angry, especially during the times when families everywhere celebrate the season of giving. Wrong. But don’t feel bad; this revelation has totally shocked me also.

A few days ago, on a cold morning in October, I woke up and was amazed to see that it was snowing. Overnight, the world had gone from brown to pure glistening white. It was beautiful. Later that day, I heard someone in my home actually humming Christmas carols. How dare they!? But . . . I was alone. It was me. That evening, I spent an hour printing up a beautiful green and red Christmas “wish list” with graphics! That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Suddenly, it hit me. And no matter how guilty I feel in acknowledging it, I have to tell you. I am looking forward to the holidays. Oh . . . my . . . GOD. How can this be? Why is this happening?

Well, after much pondering, I think I know why. I think I spent 42 holidays looking through a lens that only focused on black and white, on the physical, on that which can be seen and physically felt. The lavishly wrapped gifts, excessive food, amount of money spent, and glittering (sometimes gaudy) lights on the tree. The next seven were spent looking through a lens that was distorted and scarred by grief. I focused on what was missing rather than on what was still here. I think I wanted it that way.

But now, I feel I’ve learned how to not only endure—but to enjoy—a memory that can only be defined as bittersweet. I’ve come to appreciate that feeling emotional is really about feeling impassioned. And I think this year, as the songs start to play on the radio and the cards begin filling our mailbox, I will choose a different lens, a lens that captures that which we cannot see or physically touch. A lens that goes beyond.

Not everything will change. I will still hang Jason’s stocking beside ours, buy gifts for the needy, light candles in his memory, and all of the other things that have made the last seven years bearable. But this year, I hope to do these things with joy rather than with bitterness and sorrow. This year, I want to grasp the hand of a homeless mother, kiss the cheek of a newborn baby, and hold a kitten while it plays in the place where kittens go to dream. I want to watch Santa as he holds wiggly toddlers on his lap. I want to sing “Silent Night” on a snowy night in mid-December when it feels as if all the world is sleeping. I want to feel the Christmas that we cannot see.

This year, I want to remember who I really am. I want to enjoy the months ahead. Not because I need to or because someone says it’s time to—but because—well, because I can. This year, I want to find the magic before it is time to put away the boxes. And I won’t stop searching until I find it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours . . . Believe in magic, And always . . . expect miracles.


~ author unknown ~

 


12-04-2008 4:50 AM -- By: Annette,    Pet's name:   Chloe Bear
My dearest little girl, words can't describe how i am feeling right now since i lost you. May God take care of you till me meet again. I hope your spirit stays with me forever.

Love heaps Chloe Bear

all my love Mummy


12-04-2008 3:40 AM -- By: Joy,    Critters.com memorial:   Angel Memorial
In 4 1/2 hours, it will be 9 years since Angel earned her wings....I still love her and miss her so much!!  I know she is in a better place and surrounded by wonderful friends, which I am thankful for...but I'm selfish and wish she was here by me.  If you could say a prayer I would appreciate it, it is going to be a rough day.  Thanks to my dear friends here, I know you all understand.  Love....Joy

 


12-02-2008 10:01 PM -- By: Michele-Ginger's Mommy,    Critters.com memorial:   Ginger Memorial
I just received a phone call...Patty has gone to Rainbow Bridge.  I know that all of our little angels were there to greet her.  Please keep Patty's family in your prayers as we all know how difficult this time will be for them. 

Love...Michele


12-02-2008 9:23 PM -- By: Michele-Ginger's Mommy,    Critters.com memorial:   Ginger Memorial
Hi Everyone...I just received a phone call from my mother, and she told me that my neices (Bailey and Morgan) dog "Patty", took sick last night.  My sister-in-law took her to the vet this evening as she still was not acting her usual playful self...she is normally a very active 8 year old.  The vet wanted to keep her over night to observe her, and within an hour after my sister-in-law arrived back home, Patty took a turn for the worse...she went into a coma.   The vet does not want to do any sort of exploratory surgery right now due to her condition, but he did say that he didn't think she would make it through the night.

Please keep our precious Patty, and her family in your prayers...it would mean alot to me.  I will keep you posted.

Love...Michele


12-02-2008 12:50 PM -- By: Christy always Gretas mom,    Critters.com memorial:   Greta Abigail Memorial
On this, Gretas 6 month Bridge day I added a page called " Gretas Special gift to me before her Journey to Rainbow Bridge", if anyone would like to read it, feel free...I also will be putting up another page called her gift to me after her Journey to rainbow bridge sometime today.. Thanks Christy


12-02-2008 12:36 AM -- By: Paula,    Critters.com memorial:   KARLEY Memorial
I just want to thank everyone who has visited Karley & signed her petition.  She didn't belong to me.  When I heard her story, it was all over the news here in California, I KNEW I HAD to do something for her & her family.  Justice HAS to be served for this precious, little soul.

She is missed by her family.  I have been trying to do so much for Karley, that I feel like she was mine.  Her story broke my heart.  And when I speak with the family, I can feel their pain. 

There will be a peaceful protest on Wed, Dec. 3rd in front of the Riverside Courthouse.  We want the DA to hear us...to see us...to know that we WON'T go away until Glynn Johnson is behind bars & charged with FELONY ANIMAL CRUELTY.

Again...thank you so very much. 

Sincerely,

Paula


12-01-2008 11:06 AM -- By: Christy always Gretas mom,    Critters.com memorial:   Greta Abigail Memorial
Dear friends,

As things get harder with the Holidays and such devastating news about Diana and her Family please lets remember that we are a very closeknit Family and have each other to turn to during this difficult time. I spoke with Carole Turner on the phone last night for a long time as she was not feeling well from her Chemo and we spoke of how wonderful it was to have such lovely friends at times of crisis. She spoke of how gentle and compassionate Dollies father Richard has been to her and Nadines humor has helped her through such terrible times. I could feel her mood lift as we spoke and I realized how much better I felt myself though I am going through some medical issues as well. I really have no family that I can count on and you all have become my family and I love you all so Please lets be there for each other and especially Dan and Carole and the others going through difficulties. Not to mention the new moms and dads to the bridge. Gretas 6 month bridge day is tommorrow but I know I can handle it with loving family like you have become. Love, Christy.   For Diana   For Greta..


12-01-2008 4:28 AM -- By: Joy,    Critters.com memorial:   UNA Memorial
Hi All....I am doing an update on Una and Diana.  I was about to log off for the night and recieived an email from Dan, it is below ~


"Diana died Tuesday, 25 nov,at 10.08 a.m.

Two months ago, at 25 september at abou 10.10 a.m. Una passed the way.

It's over. It's all over.
--

Dan"

I do believe Una was there waiting for Diana.  If you could post some words of encouragement for Dan, I am sure he would appreciate it.  Words don't seem to be enough right now but at least he will know he is in our thoughts and prayers.  Sorry, wish I could have started this week on a happier note...xoxo Joy (Angel, Patches & Taffy's Mom)


 

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