Friday, December 6, 2013

The Beagle Ornament

Blogging Friends.... We are offically flying our "Holiday Freak Flags", around here as Kelle Hampton from Enjoying the Small Things would write!! Christmas music is being played nearly nonstop. We rocked out {Quite literally!!} to Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" last week in the van. Our Christmas tree looks beautiful. My bedroom is decorated with Nativity-themed figurines. And last, but never least, we are once again celebrating Christ's Birth!!
 
This is a repost from, like, two years ago. I "publish" it annually at Christmastime. Of course I made some changes!! A writer is never satisfied with her work, after all!! Or so I have heard....   
 
Grief is an interesting concept. Depending on the individual walking that path, it's unique as a Zebra's stripe pattern. Or the human fingerprint. Or a Giraffe's markings. Some people are seemingly emotional to the extreme. And that is okay. Others are seemingly mentally strong, with few tears streaming down their faces. And that is okay, too. In my experience, once you think grief has passed, {No pun intended!!} every feeling resurfaces itself like some fish bobbing his head in water. Once you consider grief "dealt with", and progress is made, your complicated emotions take command. Then. It seemingly feels like zero progress was ever even made, and as though you have "relapsed". Yes, I know this experience all too well. I always think about and miss Shadow Sunshine, my Beautifully Unique "blond"-furred German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross at Christmastime. She was euthanized on June 15th, 2010. I have an entire decade's worth of Christmas memories spent with Shadow. Of filling her soft velvet-like red and white stocking. Of purchasing treats, plus dog toys. Of celebrating December 25th with my mutt. I recall as though it was yesterday our final Christmas together. Shadow had been showing inevitable signs of aging. Deafness, stiff joints, senile behavior. I knew deep, deep, deep down within my heart that this would be our last Christmas together. Somehow. I could feel it. Call this a Mama's intuition. So I made our final Christmas together count. Every single moment of it. And boy, did I create an amazing last Christmas memory!! For it is one that will remain with my psych forever. Forever. Shadow no longer played.... Thus spending money on tennis balls seemed irrelevant this year. Instead, I filled her Christmas stocking with treats, treats, treats and more treats. Nothing else. Because, although Shadow was never a food-lovin' girl like Rose, throughout her final years, she loved treats. If memory serves me, I purchased pizza-flavored Canine Carry Outs, Snawsomes twists, and salmon Yummy Chummies. Nothing healthful, I'm afraid!! Well, it turned out that my "maternal" intuition was absolutely correct. Because less than six months later, Shadow died. And we would never enjoy another December 25th together again. Fast forward. During Christmas of 2010, three months after adopting Rose, I was still struggling with grief. It came upon me suddenly, like some explosive ambush. 2010 was a Christmas of firsts. Cosmic firsts. My oldest brother no longer lived with us. For he had married his lovely bride in May. It was my first Christmas with Rose. And it was my first Christmas sans Shadow. I bought Rose a matching soft velvet-like red and white Christmas stocking. I purchased her gifts. Yet somehow, the memory of Shadow's last Christmas haunted me that year. Like some ghost or demon. I missed Shadow so much!! Complicated, twisted feelings seared through me. It felt selfish and wrong somehow to be experiencing such a palpable longing for Shadow.... When I have Rose!! But, nonetheless, there were tears, sorrow, and heartache. All expressed privately, as I am known for keeping thoughts and feelings from those who I'm in close proximity to. Which, I will admit, is a fault of mine. One Saturday we drove downtown to do some Christmas shopping. I was feeling really emotional. I wept in an antique shop while halfheartedly looking at merchandise. Yes, wept. And, although I tried to hold those tears within me, they flowed anyway like some mighty waterfall. For lunch, we ate fast-food at some Jack-In-The-Box. I ordered my usual favorite. The Ultimate Cheeseburger.... Minus ketchup and mustard. Which, they have since ruined, in my opinion, by adding spices. Yuck!! Why couldn't Jack-In-The-Box leave well enough alone?! While awaiting our meal, I was forced toward their ladies room to compose myself. I then stared in their mirror and attempted bravery. I'll be okay. I'll be okay. I'll be okay. I chanted. Then later, we discovered this quaint little store. It was decorated for Christmas!! Everything looked so lovely!! On display, there was this small artificial tree. It looked so festive!! Hanging on its branches were various glass dog breed ornaments. Naturally, I felt drawn to the Golden Retriever, which is "half" of Shadow. No. I coached myself. Move on. Time to move on.... Be in the "now". Walk away from that tree!! Walk away I did. Then suddenly, I felt God softly whisper something to my heart and soul. He said this. Go back. Go back. Look for the Beagle. So, I walked over to that artificial Christmas tree once more. And.... There it was!! A glass, glittery brown, black and white Beagle!! Oh, it was absolutely flawless!! And the ornament may as well have been custom-made!! Black on its back, a white chest, this adorable brown-colored furrowed forehead.... Just like Rose!! So, I purchased the ornament. Because how could I possibly resist? Its tag read this. Beagle: Dogs selflessly give humans their unconditional love and loyalty. Beagles are one of the most popular scent hounds because of their energy, willingness to work and sweet dispositions. They make great family pets and truly enjoy their status as "man's best friend." Wow. Minus the "energy {and} willingness to work" part, that describes Rose spot-on!! Loyal. A sweet disposition. Loving. I will treasure forever that sparkly glass Beagle ornament. Because one glance at it reminds me of so much. That first Christmas sans Shadow. My emotional meltdown. Healing. Not to mention. Everything that Rose blesses me with!! She is an incredible one-of-a-kind, friend!! My four-legged "kindred spirit". Because, as a mutt, Rose was born different, like me. She's amiable, submissive, and easy to train. Rose is sneaky, strong-willed, plus sometimes naughty. And I love it all!! Rose truly is a Beautifully Unique creature!!
 
 

10 comments:

Molly The Wally said...

That is so sweet and Rose we know is much loved. We will be getting treats this Christmas we hope. Paws crossed.
Have a super Saturday.
Best wishes Molly

Raelyn said...

Molly....
Thank-you for the comment, Friend!!
"That is so sweet and Rose we know is much loved.". Yes. She is!! ;)
"We will be getting treats this Christmas we hope. Paws crossed.". I know Rose will!! ;op

Dip-Dip and the Bridge said...

It sounds as though you gave Shadow a last Christmas to remember and she must have loved everything.
I would not have been able to resist the dog ornament either - and it is something you can keep forever.
Lynne x

Raelyn said...

Lynne....
Thank-you for the comment, Friend!!
"It sounds as though you gave Shadow a last Christmas to remember and she must have loved everything.". Oh.... She did!! ;)
"I would not have been able to resist the dog ornament either - and it is something you can keep forever.". Exactly!! ;op

chicamom85 said...

What a nice story you have shared. I know how hard it is to lose a friend like Shadow and the memories linger on for a long time. I bet the "Rose" ornament is beautiful and you will have all kinds of new memories now.


Anne and Sasha

Raelyn said...

Anne and Sasha....
Thank-you for the comment, Friend!!
"What a nice story you have shared. I know how hard it is to lose a friend like Shadow and the memories linger on for a long time.". That they do. That they do.... ;)
"I bet the 'Rose' ornament is beautiful and you will have all kinds of new memories now.". Oh, I do!! And we continue to make new memories together!! ;op

Smile With Your Tail said...

what a lovely story, sending you and Rose lots of festive hugs!

Slobbers

Raelyn said...

Smile With Your Tail....
Thanks for the comment, Friends!!
"What a lovely story, sending you and Rose lots of festive hugs!". Thanks!! ;op

Ryker said...

Thank you for sharing such a touching story. We just got our first Ryker ornament made by Mollie of
http://www.molliesdogtreats.co.uk
It is so cute...we will have to do a post with pictures soon. In the meantime come and enjoy the Alaskan Christmas Village on our blog. It will surely amp up your Christmas Spirit!

Raelyn said...

Ryker....
Thanks for the comment, Friend!!
I am glad that you enjoyed this story!! ;)
"We just got our first Ryker ornament made by Mollie of
http://www.molliesdogtreats.co.uk. It is so cute...we will have to do a post with pictures soon.". Please do!! I would love to see it!! ;-D
"In the meantime come and enjoy the Alaskan Christmas Village on our blog. It will surely amp up your Christmas Spirit!". Okay!! I am heading over right now!! ;op