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Tag Archives: loss

Now or Never?

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immortālis: Latin im (not) + mortal

Music, TV, and science have searched for the fountain of youth or the secrets to immortality in reality and fiction. Too often have we dreamed of ascending to a higher spirituality or embodiment where nothing or no one could touch us as we make our path in life and in society. But then reality crashes down and reminds us with the grim fact that we are flesh, blood, and bone – all worn away by time. I’ve heard people use the term “YOLO” or similar phrases such as “live life to the fullest” throughout my life but I question if we ever heed those suggestions until it’s too late.

Why is she waxing poetic about life and using Latin to introduce a post? (I promise there’s a reason – bear with me for a bit.)

For those who have been with me on this journey, you have noticed I’m no stranger to witnessing moments where life has thrown curveballs or moments when I’ve parted ways with close friends too soon. My dad always said it is best to live your life with little to no regrets, which has been a goal that has been anything but easy to attain. It is easier for me to declare that with every encounter I’ve experienced I’ve tried to learn something from it and grow.

My late high school friend and fellow musician showed me another side of her former hometown and popular culture, all while staying true to her roots.

My co-worker lent an ear, a warm smile, and an encouraging word to those in need, revealing a strength that was selfless and admirable, even when things were difficult on her end.

My dog who beat the odds stacked against her and inspired people from all over the US to support others like her. (Now with a fund in her name that supports injured dogs requiring various surgical procedures.)

Recently, my 86 year old gran on my mother’s side was told that her time was limited. She is living alone with her small dog, coping with age-related health issues in the same house my mom was raised in. A few months prior, life threw her a curveball in the form of leukemia.

How does one react when you hear news like that? There’s no magic guide to tell you what one should feel when the stubborn woman who speaks frankly is dealing with something of this caliber. Sure you can scream into the void that nothing is going right and hate that it’s all falling apart.

What good is that going to do?

One of my favorite teachers from high school told us to deconstruct a moment to it’s most basic form and focus on each motion as it happens. Live in the moment, in short. Most of us in his class scoffed that this was an easy task to achieve – cake really. But after 10 years, I realized how difficult it truly is to do, especially in a world that values multi-tasking and getting everything done at lightning speed.

Still, I want to understand the feeling of focusing on each motion as it happens. Continue to strive to live without regrets. Finally, value the time I have with everyone.

Remembering a Co-worker/Strong Woman/Friend

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A year ago I received an e-mail from a co-worker saying you left this world after a second round with ovarian cancer. I’ll be frank – the news felt like a huge slap in the face since everyone around me seemed to imply that things were rough, but it seemed like treatment was working out. Surprisingly I didn’t cry too much until I got home, watched The Fault in Our Stars, and cried myself to sleep.

Waterworks is an understatement for how I was at your memorial service. I’m not sure how much I cried but I reckon it was enough to fill a good sized bucket. A lot of the people we worked with seemed shocked that I cried so much but I had a feeling it had to do with the fact that it had been bottled up until then. Sadly, working a full week for 3 departments prior to the holiday season doesn’t give one a lot of time to pause and mourn properly, especially if your mind is distracted with meeting deadlines and delivering quality projects and results.

It’s hard to not drive past the El Super grocery store on the way to work without remembering the time we bought lunch and caught about things unrelated to work. You asked about my mom’s broken elbow and I was happy to announce that she managed to fully heal, courtesy of her determined, Elvis-loving therapist who kept her on a strict physical therapy schedule. I asked about your husband’s job and you said he was doing well and loved the area you moved to.

I kept telling myself that when I got a permanent position with our current company that you would be one of the first I would tell. You probably know about it, except…

I didn’t get to tell you in person.

No One Likes Hearing ‘Good-bye’

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IMG_2017Picture taken by Chuck Kunze

I’m sad to announce the passing of another wonderful, loving dog that I’ve had for 1/3 of my life. His name was Junior (as he was the youngest of our trio of dogs we had when Fyvie and Herman were still alive) and he passed away from complications with bone cancer in his left leg.

My mom believed that Junior would make it to 13 or 14 like the other two but then she saw a bump on his leg last Wednesday and thought it looked odd. In a matter of days, it grew to about the size of a golf ball. At first we wondered if it was an allergic reaction or a bug bite – he had gotten those a few times which usually disappeared in matter of days. But this bump didn’t disappear, which made my mom schedule a vet appointment to get him in.

I found out via a Skype call with my folks this past Saturday and it didn’t seem real. At 10 years old, the vet said she was hesitant to put Junior through chemo or suggest amputation, since 10 is old for a greyhound. Realistically, she gave Junior a week until his bones were weakened by the growth, which would result in a break that would be excruciating for him. She suggested that we let him go sooner rather than later.

While I’ll always have the wonderful memories of him doing things like, destroying his Mr. Bill toy, stealing 6 waffles from the kitchen counter, and curling up in small corners on his back, it’s hard to not miss him and wish that he hadn’t contracted bone cancer. According to our vet, she mentioned that it wasn’t uncommon for big dogs like greyhounds to contract bone cancer and it was inevitable that we would rescue a greyhound who could get it.

The picture above was taken on Saturday before he left us. He went for a short walk around my alma mater and made a few people smile. It just killed me to know that his time was growing short while these folks believed that everything was okay.

After All These Years You Are Leaving Here

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Bright Stars Burning by Hey Marseilles

I feel the lyrics of this song sum up how my day was. Today was my 22nd birthday – I had no big plans with friends or a huge birthday bash scheduled. At the best, I was planning to have a nice meal with my family and call it a day.

I woke up and found my dad staying in the garage, comforting my 13 year old greyhound Fyvie. We’ve rescued her when she was 4 years old while volunteering with Greyhound Adoption Center. Fyvie was found on the side of a highway with both of her front legs broken. Weak, emaciated, and given only a year to live, Animal Control almost put her down on the highway right there. Then Fyvie showed the officer her overbite, which people call her smile. This resulted in the officer calling Greyhound Adoption Center to see if someone could bring her to the kennel. Our family started out as foster parents until it became inevitable that we couldn’t let her go. Money was raised to cover her surgery for her broken legs and she soon took the place of being Daddy’s favorite dog.

She has been slowing down over the past few years. When I saw the tears in my dad’s eyes and the look in Fyvie’s eyes, I knew that the time had come.

Some people would have probably demanded to know why this had to happen on a happy day. Me, I wasn’t even thinking about my birthday – I was thinking about how this affected my family. No one ever wants to have a death occur on a day of celebration but I keep telling myself that Fyvie had lived a good life. Greyhounds have a life span of 12-13 years and she outlived her original prediction of one year. While she may not be with us physically, we have not lost her spirit – it’s still with us.