Before I go on, I need to tell you about a shoulder I found to lean on during this crisis. I told you I was all over the internet searching for answers and hope. I came across a site called “Meisha’s Hope.” It was written, and is still maintained by Meisha’s owner, Joanne. Meisha had AIHA, but she was one of the lucky ones, and lived for almost 10 years after her diagnosis. Joanne explains everything about AIHA, and it was a huge resource for me. I emailed Joanne a hundred questions the minute I found her site. I was surprised she emailed me back, almost immediately, and we continued to correspond over the next 6 days. On Monday the 21st, I emailed Joanne to tell her Josie had lost her battle, and began my email with “It is with a very heavy heart…” I never really thought about that saying before, until I ran across a quote on my friend Laurie’s Facebook page a few days ago –
“A heavy heart must be full…” My heart surely was (and still is) full of love for my Josie.
March 24. Thursday. I was long overdue for a haircut, and a little help to cover my gray (thought it was my natural color didn’t you?) The trouble with this trip, is the hair salon is right next door to the vet. My heart sank when I drove up, all the memories of the past week came flooding over me. I held it together while there. But when I came home, I was sad all over again. I don’t know what sent me there, but I found myself on Etsy.com looking for something that would remind me of Josie – like I need a reminder. I typed in “dachshund art.” The very first thing I saw was a print of a long-haired dachshund – that looked exactly like Josie.
I bought it of course. Without hesitation. I’m not sure what my family is going to think when I hang a portrait of Josie in the house, but I don’t care. So, I now have something visual that will remind me of Josie every day. More on my Etsy escapade later.
March 25. Friday. This morning when cleaning out the gazillion receipts from my wallet, I came across the photo of Josie I always keep there (yes, I do have a photo of my girls in there too!) She was on my mind. On the way to run an errand for the office with Kathy, my phone rang. It was Beth at Culbreth-Carr-Watson. Josie’s ashes were back. Kathy drove me over there, and I was grateful for that. As I walked in, Diane saw it was me, and somberly went to retrieve Josie’s ashes. She handed me a small tin and an envelope. My heart welled up in my chest. My little Josie – black and tan, was now in my hand – reduced to ashes – and so little. That’s all that’s left of her. When I got to my office, I just sat there, and held that little tin to my chest. And cried.
When I got home, I put a few other mementos inside the tin, including a squeaker she had dug out of one of her many squeaky toys. Up to the end, I could squeak that squeaker, and her head would snap around looking for the source. She loved plush squeaky toys.
And inside that envelope, a certificate of cremation was tucked inside a poem –
To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go –
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,
Be thankful for our beautiful years.
I gave to you my love, you can only guess
how much you gave to me in happiness,
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
but now it’s time I traveled on alone.
So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must,
then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a time that we must part,
so bless the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away, for life goes on,
so if you need me, call, and I will come.
Though you can’t see me or touch me, I’ll be near,
and if you listen with your hearts, you’ll hear
all my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you must come this way alone
I’ll greet you with a smile and say:
Who writes this stuff? Whoever it is, has obviously traveled this route before, and knows the pain of losing a furry family member. The words really hit home, and make you think.
Jump to today, April 14: I am a huge Coldplay fan, and “Fix You” is the song playing over and over in my head – “tears stream down your face, when you lose something you cannot replace…” and out of the blue today, Katherine texts me these words to “42” – “those who are dead, are not dead, they’re just living in my head…” and it goes on “and since I fell, for that spell, I am living there as well. Time is so short, and I’m sure there must be something more.”
I’ve lost something I cannot replace.