Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Beagle Ornament

Blogging Friends.... This post is "an oldie but a goodie", as that phrase goes, for I first "published" it in 2011!! Wow.... That was three years ago!! I have made changes to it, as per usual!! Love you later.

Grief. It is an interesting concept. Complex, even. Depending on the individual walking that path, grief is as unique as a Zebra's stripe pattern. Or the human fingerprint. Or a Giraffe's markings. Or a snowflake. Some people are seemingly so very emotional that their loss and grief overcomes them. Which is absolutely okay. Others are seemingly mentally strong, with few tears streaming down their faces. Which is absolutely okay, as well. There's no right or wrong way to grieve. In my experience, once you think grief has passed, {No pun intended!!} every single thought/feeling/emotion resurfaces itself like some fish bobbing his head in water. Because once you consider grief "dealt with", and progress is made, your complicated thoughts/feelings/emotions take command. Then? It feels like zero progress was ever been made, and as though you have "relapsed". Yes, I know this experience far 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 mine and Shadow's final Christmas together. Shadow had been showing inevitable signs of aging. Deafness, stiff joints, senile behavior. I somehow knew deep, deep, deep down within my heart that this would be our last Christmas together. Was it Mama's Intuition? I do not know. I could just feel that December 25th, 2009 would be our last Christmas together. So I made it count. Every single second. And boy, did I create an amazing last Christmas memory!! For it is one that will remain within 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 on Earth, she loved treats. If memory serves me--and it seldom ever does!!--I purchased pizza-flavored Canine Carry Outs, Snawsomes twists, and salmon Yummy Chummies. Nothing healthy, I'm afraid!! But to quote Tony Stark from Iron Man 3? "Screw it, it's Christmas!" Well!! It turned out that my Mama's 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 2010, three months after adopting Rose--surprise, surprise!!--I was still struggling with grief. It came upon me suddenly, like some explosive ambush. See, 2010 was a Christmas of firsts. Cosmic firsts. In more ways than one!! 2010 was my first Christmas with Rose. And.... It was also my first December 25th 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 on Earth seemingly haunted me that year. Like some ghost or demon. I just missed Shadow so much!! Complicated, twisted thoughts/feelings/emotions seared through me. It felt selfish and wrong 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/feelings/emotions 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. And 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 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 just leave well enough alone?! While awaiting our meal, my tears forced me 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 to myself, as though it were a mantra. 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 very 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!! And 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 tearful mood swing-infused pity party. 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!!

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