I found this little piece I wrote on February 2, 2014, and because dogs have played a big part in my life and have a significant role in my book, The Space Between, I thought I’d share it.
Watching Shelby Grow
We’ve had her since November 12th when she weighed less than nine pounds. Everything about her was small — small for a dog that will grow to more than 60 pounds.
She changes day to day sometimes morning to night. And it is a miracle to watch a nose point out from the place that was squished and small; to witness a body higher from the floor than what seems like just before because all four legs have grown.
This growth and the gift of being a witness are a miracle – one neither Bob nor I take for granted.
We understand that life brings us unforeseen challenges and the only defense is to pay attention to the everyday miracles of life. The growth of a puppy. The birth of a child. The sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Friendship, the type that is born of souls understanding each other with no conditions. Finding and falling in love with a special person you delight in and being willing to share your life with as a choice you make every day without knowing you’ve chosen.
Shelby is our today miracle. A puppy who has changed our lives: challenged us, made us laugh, and made us fall in love. And we’ve watched her fall in love with us. A miracle is puppy love running to me first thing in the morning with tail swinging at high-speed velocity.
A miracle is the willingness to love again after we’ve known the harsh sting of the end of love. Endings hurt. Sometimes even good endings hurt because change always brings up its own emotions and challenges.
A miracle and blessing lies to my left on her brand new plush Costco bed.
Just another miracle that happens every day.
There’s a pattern to our lives that we don’t recognize as we’re living our days. Only time reveals meanings which hide like ghosts in the shadows, waiting to be discovered, if noticed at all. Time shows us the blocks upon which the next step we took was built.
I squandered too many days and nights caught in thoughts. And while I thought, time moved on. Thinking made me believe I knew something about life. I couldn’t know when I was young that you learn by doing, living, trying, jumping into the new, letting go of what isn’t working, and by always being open to new experiences, ideas, and people.
Life is to be lived. Pondering is best left for later years when we have lived long enough, learned, experienced and grown to the point that perspective comes easily.
As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
“Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans ,” said John Lennon.
What I thought would be a simple hello phone call to my mother on the 4th of July certainly hijacked any ideas about what my life was going to look like.
“My mother drives me crazy.”
With those words, you, the reader, will join me in the story of the next six years after a life-threatening illness necessitated my mother come live with me.
The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life is not just my story. It is a story for anyone who has ever had a mother or parent, anyone who has struggled with their relationship, and anyone who has been or will become a caregiver – joining the 66-90 million caregivers in the United States alone. Writing this memoir has been a labor of love and an exploration of my challenging relationship with my mother, someone I always loved but came to admire greatly through the writing of our story. I am a private person and yet I have chosen to allow readers into my life and thoughts with the hope that by reading about our relationship and my years as my mother’s caregiver, you will feel less alone if you should find yourself caretaking a loved one.
Preorder your copy today.