2/1/16 Shadow came to me an unadoptable problem dog: She was older, hated dogs & children. When she arrived, this love-hungry, unwanted & per trainers who tried to help, abused misfit instantly jumped onto my recliner & nuzzled into my chest, heedless of my disability. She refused to leave. She's never left my heart since. We spent nearly 10 years together, comforting & acacepting each other unconditionally, through adversity & joy, healthy or sick, happy or sad. She reminds me daily: each of us is an imperfect work in progress, destined to become better than we ever thought we could be. Shadow showed me how to live well regardless of our circumstances in this transient world. She's one tough dog who loved me tenderly & reminds me God does too. Thanks Shadow. Love forever!|
2/9/16: Two weeks ago today I found out my Shadow had been put to death without my knowledge or presence. No euphemisms. When I gave her to those who, later unbelievably but unbeknownst to me then, ultimately didn't allow or at least facilitate any more contact with my dearest "Shadow Girl", I thought she would die of an enlarged heart that daily medication I don't have the coordination to give would stave off while giving her good quality of life for a time. When Shadow, unknown to me, took a turn for the worse, & died of related kidney failure, a stranger told me too late. My baby was mortally ill but I was denied my right & chance to say goodbye. When did she start getting sicker? No one told me anything. As far as I knew, Shadow was doing comparatively well in her new home. Even given that her final symptoms came on suddenly, someone must have known the end was near. I wasn't given any time to prepare for or come to grips with her death. No one had time to talk to me during Shadow's last days or hours at home or while she was at the vet's or even before the final lethal injection was given. I wasn't told right after Shadow passed away but 2 days later. The vet & her staff were competent & kind but strangers. Perhaps the vet would have told me what was going on had I spoken to her directly. As it was, I talked to those in charge of the foster network that had sent Shadow to me so many years before. I wasn't allowed to speak to any medical personnel beforehand or afterwards so I could be part of & later hold on to, the particulars of my beloved pet's passing & thus have some closure & peace. Was she cremated with fellow creatures or was her body just inhumanely or callously thrown away? Unknown....
More horrible than my pain is the possibility of Shadow's. She didn't die alone apparently but I agonize over how often & how long she was alone or without a caress as she lay in distress or dying, hooked up to IVs in an unfamiliar perhaps frightening place, especially since it was Sunday when techs come for only a bit to care for patients. Was Shadow adequately sedated? Did she sense my or her friend David's absence in her final illness & last moments? Did she in our time apart suffer separation anxiety? Regretfully, probably; dogs
recognize & prefer their humans especially in distress. Speaking of beloved humans, Shadow & David never saw each other after she left home: He didn't drive me to bring her back to Canine Castaways. He never got to say goodbye. He & Shadow were inseparable; they had a special bond, evident in how crazy she went when he visited, in his nicknames full of endearment for her & by her jumping into his arms clinging to him when he came to take her home after we boarded her. David may have been able to comfort her & us in her stressful last illness & hours had we been told of her worsening condition & probably imminent death. One more sorrow I hold.
Some reading may wonder why things were handled so insensitively & poorly. I'm not sure. Naturally, I'm angry & feel guilty for surrendering her albeit so she could get care & treatment I couldn't give. The guilt's unwarranted but I still feel it strongly. My emotions are hyperly out of kilter. As I sob, I wonder if my furbaby misses me while praising her Creator with the angels. Does sentience come to our babies as it does to the creatures of CS Lewis' Narnia? Are our furbabies really playing & cavorting joyously together in some sort of preheaven? We won't know for sure 'til we are reunited but we can hope. Faith is belief in the unknown & unseen; it is grief's powerful antidote. Does Shadow know I long to have her near & feel my love somehow?
I think so. I pray that reality beyond human reason called faith bring comfort to all who share our loss & special kind of grief. In Rainbow Bridge I've discovered a place where Shadow, with all furchildren who've left this physical existence, & I aren't forgotten or dismissed but acknowledged & cradled. As I once held Shadow, caring new friends are holding me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Loss is a bit less painful shared. I reach out & cradle you.
Long & much painful experience tells me healing eventually comes with allowing & expressing feelings without denial or judgment, from pain & longing mingled with acceptance & new love(s). It comes slowly with self-care & with giving heartfelt care to, & about, others. I pray, then, for all who have had to come to terms with absence with all its causes & forms that we find peace & validation in the Serenity Prayer.
As we grieve, I'll gently remind myself & all who read this colloquy with my beloved much missed Shadow of the wisdom appropriated & written here. May it be slowly & deeply assimilated emotionally & spiritually. In the meantime, thank you for your love & closeness, my sweet Shadow baby. You're in my heart & thoughts today & forever, never alone or forgotten, abused or in pain again. Love your very lonely & still sad mom.
2/14/16 Shadow, how could I not spend time with you today of all days? Valentine's Day, the year's most special day for all who love. I have loved many & much, both humans & creatures but you hold a unique place in my heart, mind & soul that nothing or no one else can fill. Physically, I literally feel your presence & body nearby: Your little tongue licking me affectionately now but on earth sometimes incessantly, at least in part because your electrolytes were so out of balance, your body pressed against mine in our bed, your fur gently caressing my skin. If I really focus, I can smell your doggie smell so hard to describe. Memories are ok but Valentine's Day should be a special day of sharing treats & closeness & dreams in total relaxation, calmness, trust in each other's presence, love made concrete. Through my sadness, memories keep surfacing: Sometimes
as you slept with me, you would start to dream & I'd feel your body move. I've often wondered if you were relaxed & peaceful like I am in sleep without spasms & stiffness. This Valentine's Day with special love & connection, I remember & identify with my old gray girl. A squirrel at your residency now isn't the least bit afraid of you. After you became blind, nearly tame squirrels would sit right in front of you without flinching, waiting for peanuts. When you were young & sighted, you'd try to attack any moving target including the squirrels. I loved you then; I love you now, just as you are. You remind me age can be beautiful. My memories of you are bittersweet & tears come very easily: I am crying as I write so I'll close. My heart is with you always. I think of the song "All God's creatures have a place in the choir, some sing low & some sing higher. Some sing out loud on the telephone wire. Some just clap their hands or paws or anything they've got. God's choir has room for everyone. You & I are different-to some, misfits. Happy Valentine's Day my favorite misfit, my erstwhile canine castaway, now a creature of paradise. Have you met the Good Thief? While I wait to be with you, I remember Jesus' promises: All things work for the good of those who love Him &, significantly, His last one uttered as He suffered in agony unto death on the cross: Today you shall be with me in paradise. We find hope in the knowledge that our God made man knew death & loss just as we do. Again, Happy Valentine's Day little one. We'll someday be together to love completely, all our limitations forever gone. Don't get sick on all those candy hearts! I know the angels spoil you rotten just as I did & Jesus is the softest touch of all.
2/16/16 My dearest Shadow, Mi Sombrita. 3 weeks ago Sunday, January 24th, you went home to God. This Sunday on Valentine's, I wrote of our love but today, Tuesday, is 3 weeks since getting an early morning phone call, about 8:15. Groggy from sleep, I wondered what insane stranger was calling then got the shock of my life when she told me you were gone. I tried to piece together her sketchy report, tried to put on my medical hat to get as many details as I could. But I faltered.... When I hung up, I cried & cried & cried; I feel like I haven't stopped since. I don't remember an aggressive dog hard to control on a leash. Nor do I recall an old dog who peed constantly. My mind's eye sees a contented black lady (the poet's Dark Lady) with a graying face & soft pointed ears looking up at me from her carrier bag on my lap. You didn't care how long you stayed in it as long as you were with me. You loved to travel, especially car rides. You slept on my bed or when you couldn't climb up anymore, under the kitchen table at my feet or lifted on the couch near David. I could go on but right now the memories make me cry. It's so hard; I have the two trigger days. It's the wee hours of the morning & the loneliest time of all. Dearest Shadow, God's Shadow, I miss you miserably & I love you greatly. The missing is painful but loving is healing
or so I tell myself. Please wag your little stubby tail & look down on me with cataract-free eyes & tell me you're ok. Sleep with the angels, if only out of pure lazy enjoyment. Sweet dreams chasing squirrels without trying to hurt them. If Pope & St. Francis are sure dogs are in heaven, good enough for me. If you are in such a place of absolute good, then you're ok. That's my mind's logic while my heart begs you look down with love so I know it. Head & heart unite in total sweetest love of you, my precious softest furbaby. Good night with all I am.
2/25/16 Dearest sweetheart, my beloved Shadow, I miss you so!! I couldn't write yesterday even though you were in my mind & heart. Monica, my new friend among all the dear people at Rainbow Bridge, consoled me with beautiful words & prayers to lift my spirits & to help me focus on all the good you brought & are. She wrote in our guest book to ask you to be close & not forget me. Dogs have their own way of remembering & loving. The dear Lord gave you an instinctual way of discriminating & therefore recognizing those you love best. I believe all that makes you an unconditionally loving Being is amplified in your new existence. As one of my Rainbow Bridge new friends wrote, you're my guiding star. While you were physically with me, you drew me to all that's unadorned yet beautiful in God's creation, to all that's genuine, the good, the imperfect. I love you completely for always. I didn't forget your anniversary; I just couldn't mark it in writing because the sadness of new grief & in some ways never ending grief coupled with all invading all encompassing memories held my pen & heart paralyzed. I can write now thinking of your antics with David & Charlotte, your dear 2nd mom, one of my best friends. She misses you terribly & thinks of you with me. I'll see you tonight in the twilight of God's love.
2/29/16 The wee hours of Monday morning but really Sunday night. Another Sunday, another day without you. Such loneliness.... David's Dahri was with me last night & today but I am alone now, missing you so much. My dear sweet sister reminded me in our guestbook that I honor your memory by living. Easier said than done. So many gone. My beloved consoler, who will console me now? You were a physical reflection of God's goodness, hence your name. God's Shadow, hide me in your heart so I may find peace. As Rainbow Bridge friends remind me, you are nestled beside your paw prints in mine. So good night, God bless, my furangel. I must sleep & please God, dream of you.
3/5/16 Besides the date associated with our being parted in death, I find myself thinking of our last day together: 11/21/15 I brought you to Canine Castaway's vet because I thought you might improve with treatment. You got well enough to go to your new home. Thank God your caregivers were kind to you & told me a little about your new life & health each time I called! But they always denied me any chance to be with you.
Our last time together was a sunny afternoon not quite overshadowed by impending separation. Jack, my dearest nearly lifelong friend, took pictures & waited tolerantly & patiently for us to say goodbye. You lay down on the chair & accepted my caresses while I pet you & cried. I brokenly, after almost 4 hours, let them take you to begin your treatment. I never dreamt I'd never see you again. I thought you'd go to God in my arms or if you were on the vet's table, with my face buried in your fur. How much different & painful the reality!
3/6/16 Another Sunday. No one writes in the guestbook anymore. I reread the condolences for comfort but I miss you so so much! The only thing that helps is writing & rereading my edits. The reason I'm so sad is, unlike the end with my other pets, our end wasn't right. I remember Gert & Amica, each so dear. I treasure David's Dahri who has been & is my lifeline. You knew Gert & I cherish my memories of you both together. Jack's TyTy is here with me & Dahri has planted herself at my feet. I love them but they're not you. Be at peace. I'm finally cried out at least for now. I shall rejoice in all we have while I lovingly tend & nurture your beloved memory. I await our heavenly reunion & the blunting of my earthly grief.
3/15/16 Dearest furangel my sweet Shadow, I usually write late at night because I'm alone & don't have to explain my feelings. The days pass; grief is supposed to ease but it hasn't. You're still sorely missed!! Every time I look at my recliner, I think of you when you were young & agile enough to jump into my lap. I see Coach who looks almost like you & I cry so hard. I'm sorry I haven't written in a few days but I pray you're looking down as you share paradise with your Rainbow Bridge friends & playmates. Do you miss me? Do dogs live a new reality in eternity?
You make me ask the great questions: What is the life between individual death & the resurrection of our bodies made new at Jesus' second coming? "The life of the world to come"? My heart & soul tell me we shall cross some passage together into His arms into peace & totally positive completeness. At my death or at Christ's second coming? Your pure unconditional love has reinforced my beliefs, for He who is Love has made all creatures. When sadness engulfs me though, I find myself doubting everything. Then I remember your dear sweet love & how we all look for something greater than ourselves; every era & culture has a thirst for, & conception of, God. We can't all be wrong. Thank you again for lifting my spirit. Love you forever!
3/17/16 Happy St. Patrick's Day! I celebrate with you as only you of those I love feel near. I'm so very very lonely! Distance keeps some of us apart & death separates us from others. I think especially of Pa Gene. This was our day to share: Harmonica, squeeze box & corny but well loved American Irish songs, long before you were alive. How I wish you were with me today! Dearest Shadow, I decorated your memorial for the day; You, a part Min Pin German must have fought with her Boston Terrier half & the Terrier won! You're surrounded by Shamrocks & four leaf clover. Please talk to Jesus & ask Him to send you to me with the leprechauns' pot of gold. You're at Rainbow Bridge so you must know about the end of the rainbow. I miss you!! The sound of your joyful greeting barks, with your butt wags & whines is the best music I know. You're frolicking so a lively Irish jig would make a great accompaniment to your play that comes to me today as especially glinting gold sunlight. As night falls, may Irish fairies sing us to sleep as though we were lying side by side, your fur brushing my skin. How I wish I could yell at you to move over & then sing Irish lullabies 'til you yelped in your dreams. Goodnight sweet Shadow Girl. Your Irish mum loves you.
3/20/16 I won't take the Irish remembrances away yet even though st. Patrick's Day has passed because they & you are so close to my heart. The day is supposed to be light & full of laughter so I found myself thinking of your many names of endearment: My "Shazzo", David's "Little Deedle Do" or "Little Deedle Dogger" or my sister's "Shadow Bear". Each so funny, so cute & so personal. I have the funny pictures David took of you. But it's hard to laugh even with good memories because I miss you so. Goodnight precious Shadow, my furbaby. I'm so tired, still sad. I need to sleep & I pray to dream of you. I ask God that you come vividly to me in those wonderful rare dreams animated by sight & sound. You'll be with me as I sing to God tomorrow. I love you, especially remembering stroking your soft ears.
3/24/16 Today marks the 2 month anniversary of your going home to God. It's also Holy Thursday, one of the most Christ-centered days on the church calendar. How fitting you're by His side: You gave the best of yourself to those you love, as He did. It is the day of the new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. I will remember & cherish Your love 'til I too go home. God knows we are not perfect; He wants us to imitate Him as closely as we can. You loved as much as you were able with your God given nature. May I do so as well. On this Holy Night, I feel especially alone, as did the Savior when He bent to the Father's will. I betrayed you although not intentionally. Now, I say as I have so many times before, Thy will be done. I ask your forgiveness. Please send me your presence & now perfect love to transform my sadness into acceptance, my grief into Joy. I love you so much my sweet precious Shadow. I can't believe it's been 2 months since your death & over 4 months since I hugged you, my face buried in your fur. I wish you were here so we could sleep together. Dense & dark the hours before dawn! Be with me this triduum as you celebrate endless Easter in heaven with Jesus who has risen never to die again. Send me a love sign as you frolic in rainbow meadows. I love you. Send peace & joy from you & your fellow creatures whom no pain or suffering can touch as you wait in bliss for the day when we're together for eternity. Goodnight my beloved. I will never forget you or our anniversaries. Sleep with the angels my dearest furbaby.
3/27/16 Easter Sunday. Christ is risen but I'm sad. I'm lonely. Are you happy among friends? Are you & your fellow furangels playing & singing with the the Risen Christ & His angels? Do you mark days as we do on earth or is eternity totally timeless? Do you know how long you've been gone from me, how long we've been apart? Yesterday marked the 2 month anniversary of when I was told of your death. It was also Holy Saturday. It would have been so wonderful after singing to come home to your joy & caresses. The same is particularly true for Good Friday. It's always a sad day but your presence made every day happier. Saturday I had sweetheart Dahri with me. She loves me & I know you don't mind but I still miss you terribly. I hope your Easter was better than mine. God bless you & all the Heavenly Host. I love you forever! I'm crying too hard to write more. Holidays are always hard. Perhaps not coincidentally, the dictated word "hard" came out "heart". So much truth in that. I must dream of you & forget this world temporarily. I love you my furbaby. As our anniversaries pass, my grief doesn't wane but the Eternal Easter promise lives until we meet God together. Happy Easter. Alleluia in faith He is risen! Goodnight my precious sweetest beloved Shadow.
4/3/16 I sang the 10:30 Second Sunday of Easter Mass. "Dahriskas" was with me again which made me so happy. It lightened everything but I wish so very very much you had been with her. I love you both. My dear sweet Shadow, it rained hard one day this week & David said he wondered where you were hiding. You sure hated thunderstorms! Today is Divine Mercy Sunday & also the day we remember doubting Thomas; faith tells us Christ is risen but it doesn't change the immediate sadness of loss. I miss you as if you had died yesterday, saying with Thomas, "Lord, help my unbelief!" Please, ask Jesus to send some sign & His courage-giving peace. God be with you tonight. Sleep peacefully.
4/4/16 I'm alone missing you deeply. I'll write more later; Dahri's visiting.
4/5/16 It's a bit after noon & I stop by again because I miss you so very much. I wish you were beside me as I edit. I remember when you used to come into the second bedroom, my office, when it was only you & me. I would write for school, always in your company. You're so special! I wish you could have taken meds easily so you never would have left your home... even with two dogs, so empty now. I can't stop crying. Grief won't leave me. Can you send some of your joy at knowing & playing with Jesus Who Loved children & I suspect, dogs? I love you always & forever!
4/10/16 The days slip by. Off & on through each one, I expect to see my happy black & grey dog, with her little white chest, beside me. I expect to see her run to look out the door when there's a noise, even after she is blind. I wait for her to jump onto our bed or to come running when she thinks she hears the rattle of a bag full of treats. I expect to see my Shadow & I do in my mind's eye but she is gone & the reality hits me almost unbearably as I get ready to sleep night after night. Will
it ever change? Will her absence get easier to bear? I doubt it. I love you Shadow! Happy Easter precious baby. It's the third Sunday of Easter today. I want to talk & sing to you but our heart-to-heart closeness in spirit & memory as I wait to cross Rainbow Bridge, is all I have. It must be enough. Goodnight my beloved furbaby. Will you bark at me or maybe wag your little tail in my dreams? Please?
4/13/16 Today would've been Pa's birthday. He would've loved you. I asked you to come play & bark at me in my dreams. Can you come softly & lick my face with your little tongue? What I wouldn't give to feel your presence physically near. You love treats so I send you one of my favorites: Solid chocolate bunnies. Now you can eat them harmlessly. Send playful greetings to your Rainbow Bridge friends at the meadow. I love you sweetheart. Goodnight. I'm crying again. I don't know how I ever agreed to let you out of my sight. Darling sweetest puppy, I adore you & love you forever. Please visit me in the solace of dreams.
4/18/16 How I miss you! You're so precious to me; memories of you are precious too. David remembers your little noises as you snuggled up to him. I found your old license. Every time I use the leash or give a dog treat, I think you should be the one I'm loving. I love you my friend & furbaby. I want to write more but it makes me sad. Goodnight "my Shazzo" XXO
4/26/16 It's technically the wee hours of the 27th but it feels like the 26th. No, it feels like you're still with me way before you went back to Canine Castaways, let alone the day you died.
Unbelievably, it's the 3rd anniversary of the day they told me of your death that past Sunday, January 24th!! Time passes so slowly with the weight of grief & sadness yet also so quickly. I miss you more than words can ever convey. I must stop writing because I'm about to cry. I know you don't mind the other puppies with me. Thank you for letting me love them & for being my friend, even in eternity, especially when I'm lonely or sad. When no one else seems to be, you're in my heart snuggled beside me. Your paw prints never leave. They're ensconced in my deepest self. I love you! Be happy in what's called the waiting Place, Rainbow Bridge Meadow. Remembering your softness & feeling you with me, I will sleep now for a little while.
5/2/16 Another month has begun. Time passes but nothing changes. I'm alone now taking care of TyTy. I care for him but not as I do for you or Dahri who reminds me so much of Gert whom I love too. There's a big hole in my life & heart you both share. My friend Jan lost her furbaby Poco early this past Saturday morning. Please welcome her to Rainbow Bridge. Teach her to communicate with her mom so each will know the other is nearby & feel her presence. The loving bond between furchild & parent is timeless & unbreakable so my grief persists. How I LOVE YOU & miss you. Sleep well with your new friend, my precious baby. Please please come visit me in your & my dreams.
5/6/16 Today is the day I remember as the day 10 years ago when both of us knew we belong to each other forever. You were home! Sadly, I don't know your exact birthday so I celebrate today. When you were physically here, I didn't celebrate partly because every day was special but I wish I had. You'll never do it but please leave your cake to decorate your residence & then share it with your furfriends. You're with me deeply now & as usual I'm crying. I wish I could give you all the foods you love & hug you as we sleep. Goodnight precious. Happy first birthday at Rainbow Bridge with God.
5/25/16 It's 4 months & a day after your death. I couldn't write yesterday. It's more than 6 months since I took you away from home. How I wish I hadn't! Tomorrow will be another anniversary of when they told me you had died. I still miss you! Thank God I'm alone so I can grieve! People may think I'm nuts but I still cry. I've often edited these remembrances & colloquies carefully, letting my tears flow freely. It helps a little. Dahri & TyTy are with me but I'm still lonely & long for you. Are you happy & at home in the verdant meadows of Rainbow Bridge? Do you think of me & miss me? Do you play with Poco & Monica's Jake, with his brothers & sisters? I pray so. Please let me feel your presence! Send me a sign on the wind & stars. I think of you consoling those who died in service to our country & their loved ones left on earth this Memorial Day. I imagine you licking their faces as Dahri is licking me now. I know God loves them, all His creatures & you. Please ask Jesus to bless me, especially with a service dog. I think warmly of Gert. She ended up loving you, I think. I especially hope she's playing joyfully with you. God bless you both! All my love forever!! My most beautiful girl! Your still sad guardian & mom.
06/01/16 I'm thinking of you & Mom. I remember how much she loved you. Mom loves carnations so I place them near you because I love you both. You & she love peanut butter. I do too but I can't eat it now. Eat lots for me; it can't hurt you. I'm jealous because you can never be overweight or sick or in pain. I'm happy for you as you remind me of the wonderful life awaiting us.
Please come in our dreams. Enjoy this beautiful new summer. Maybe you even like rain now, as the rainbow splashes, glissening. You sure didn't like it here! Goodnight precious Shadow. I love you for always, more deeply as time passes. My Shazzo.
6/8/16 I'm not writing as much but not because you're out of my heart or mind. We had the first named storm of the summer Monday & Tuesday. Today was muggy & still rainy. I didn't go out at all & felt like I was hiding like you did. How you hated rain! Thunder scared you even more. You always ran away when all I wanted to do was cradle you & stop you from shaking.
The two dogs are often here but tonight I sleep alone without any furry sweetheart beside me. I miss you so much all the time but most profoundly at night. Dahri loves me but definitely belongs to David. I sometimes thought you belonged to him too. That's ok. He speaks of you often, admitting he misses you but has little use for my emotionality.
Emotions?? I read that Britney, the last 9/11 search & rescue dog, was put to sleep yesterday at 16. Even in death she will benefit others: Scientists will study 9/11's effects on her body. She was given the honor of firefighters standing at attention saluting as she took her final walk into the vet's. Then her body was draped in our flag & she was carried out. I also reread an article about her last birthday celebration when she was treated like a queen & heroine in my NYC. I cried & cried. How I wish I could take you to my favorite city, my heart's home, to give you the best of everything while you see my old haunts & feast with me at all my favorite restaurants!!
Speaking of food, you ate all the peanut butter! Where's the jar? I'm not surprised. I love you my favorite chowhound. All joking aside, sleep well my beloved sweet Shadow. Then enjoy the spectacular sunrise of Rainbow Bridge. How I miss you! I'm lonely for you & crying again. I beg you yet again to come in my dreams. Running chasing squirrels, barking at the door, licking my face or best of all snuggling up to me, warming me completely. I love you! Goodnight my precious. XX
6/17/16 Rain again today. Every time it does, I think of you. Dahri doesn't like rain either. You remember Coach. He looks a lot like you so when I see him, as often as not, I bawl privately. You're still very much missed my precious, goodnight.
6/27/16 Dear Shazzo. Yesterday was the 5 month anniversary of when I was told you had died. The 24th, the anniversary of your death. I'll never forget the dates. I miss you & miss you & miss you! No matter how many of God's creatures come into my life, you will be the companion of my heart. While it's true the heart expands as it loves, love is never easy & never totally forgotten. Your friend David leaves his furbaby with me so I have a gentle physical presence near. Thank you for your special presence always in my heart. I love you forever!
7/9/16 We just celebrated your hated holiday: 4th of July fireworks. I'm almost glad you weren't here to have to put up with them. I wanted to hold you even tighter than usual because all I could think of was your shaking cowering. I sometimes wonder if you seemed mean because you didn't know how else to react when you really felt afraid or abused. I'm glad I never knew the people who abused you because if I ever did, I don't know what I would do to them. When I thought about our country's 240th birthday, I thought of your 1st birthday at Rainbow Bridge. My birthday won't be the same without you here physically. Our mom who loved you is very ill. Please send God's love and healing power from heaven down to her in a package of love complete with licks & tail wags. Our mom is the softest hard nose I've ever known. Please use your heavenly power to tell her to get better & stay that way. She would spoil you with treats especially nearly empty peanut butter jars if she could. Come lie with her in both your dreams; share your newfound puppy vigor. Hugs hugs!! Goodnight my Shadow girl.
7/24/16 Today is the 6 month anniversary of your death. No one else remembers. David misses you but he only thinks of your love affair with himself. I wish someone would hug me. It would never occur to him. When I felt as bad as I do today when you were home with me, you sensed it & let me stay close & bury my face in your slightly coarse fur. I would stroke your ears, your softest part. I sound selfish but today was so horrible. I tried so hard but nothing worked. Now we're together by faith & computer. I miss you more each day, each minute. I'm crying so hard. I hope you're more than happy. I pray you're joyfully at peace with Jesus & all the animals nearby. I ask you again, to visit me in our dreams. Before I sleep, I want you to know your peanut butter mom is OK. She weathered another storm. Please thank God for me & beg Him to watch over her & dad who have lived so long & so well in others' & His service. Mon chien, comme je t'aime!! Bonne nuit. Woof Woof XXOO
8/1/16 I got caught in the rain yesterday in my chair. I thought I was coming to you!! Lightening all around me with my metal crutches & a metal handled umbrella a sweet gentleman stranger gave me. Thunder as menacing as I've ever heard! When I got home, soaked to the bone, no pun intended, I thought of you. I know you & God were watching over me because I'm still alive. I prayed all the way home, inching along with a nearly dead battery, shaking inside like you.
How I miss you! Goodnight precious. My Shazzo, I love you always. I'm taking care of Dahri but she'll never take your place. Thank you for listening & being near. Sleep well, smothered in hugs & kisses.
8/3/16 I love you my sweet furbaby friend. The phrase will never get old or hollow. Please play with & love Poco & Jake. Send wind barks to their moms. Belly, little Shadow girl? Scratches, pets & rubs from me. Goodnight baby.
8/22/16 Yesterday was another anniversary of my seeing you for the last time. I am so sorry & sad whenever I recall sending you away. But today, my birthday, should be joyful. I'm spending it with my beloved parents. I wish you were here but I suspect mom's glad you're not. I would share meaty treats & Muz would give you cookies & peanut butter. Come visit in dreamland to wish me a happy year & play with me so I feel young. Love forever my furbaby. I miss you. Send mom tail wags & licks so she knows she's loved.
9/5/16 It's been so long since I've written. I'm home now but not happy. I miss you so so much. Jack & David aren't speaking. David isn't visiting & won't if Jack's here. It seems neither cares how much he hurts me but I let it go on. Am I kind or stupid?
But David's furbaby loves me & I her. To make me even sadder, David had to put his sweet Kitty to sleep today. She had the worst last couple of days of life, in pain & suffering because she was
mauled. I'm almost glad she went home to God. I imagine she's bounding into Rainbow Bridge about now; I hope you have a really fun romp. Please welcome her. I always liked her. I've been extra sad because I didn't make my audition again but even more so because your mom & I have been fighting. There's more: My favorite friend Alison is having serious medical problems. Please come visit her gently in the night. Afterwards, visit mom & Monica. Save me a warm lick kiss & put your paws on my chest as you did when we met & many more times over our years together. Last Sunday was 9/11. Please play with all the victims, the fallen heroes & especially the rescue dogs with you & Jesus now. I love you; I need you. I didn't write because you're with me no matter. I don't want to share. I just want to cry. Thank you for always being near to my heart to listen, lick, love, laugh & so console. Are you happy & enjoying every minute? God bless you sweet baby. I hope so. Love forever.
9/22/16 I've been crying all night reading about the search & rescue dogs of 9/11. Both seem a helpful release. Some of the dogs also worked the Oklahoma City bombing. I will never forget. I also will never have complete closure. Survivor's guilt is very real. No one helped us except to offer perfunctory counseling. 3 or so sessions would have only made the internal devastation, the internal gaping wound worse. We weren't allowed to change where we worked. Today people seem not to understand or even care why I have difficulties especially when I consciously recall the day. I hear them in my head: "What's your problem? You didn't lose anyone." Your favorite MSW wonders, PTSD? Then? What now? I love you & take great comfort in your love & presence. Thanks for listening. Dearest Shazzo, I miss you deeply. Sleep in my heart & soul.
9/24/16 The 8 month anniversary of your death my sweet sweet Shazzo!!! :( I don't want to write much because when I do, I think of you. It's late as usual & I'm alone crying. The pain never goes away. I'm glad David can't, won't call. That way, no one will intrude. He is selfish & thoughtless. He has no idea how sad & lonely I am. It hurts that he of all people who should remember today's significance didn't. Even if he had, I don't think he can voice his feelings, let alone mine but you're growling in his defense. He loves you more than he does most people. Thank you for loving us both. You're completely ensconced in my heart while my physical self almost feels you in our bed. Sleep well at Rainbow Bridge. We're not really apart. We're buried in each other's lives & hearts!! I love you forever through eternity. You're absolutely always missed. Goodnight... Sob... Let's say goodnight again on a happier note: Thanks, prayers & blessings to & for Monica & her babies, especially your Rainbow friend Jake.
10/12/16 Dearest sweetest baby, today was Yom Kippur, a day of remembrance. I hope God doesn't think it wrong to include beloved pets in those memories. Your presence & love is as vivid as any Kindred human sense. There's joy in my memories, a profound sense of hope and connectedness, a certainty of continuity even in death. But faith gives another gift of another kind of certainty: Life with God in newness, wholeness & peace. You & I rest in God's love & promise. Humanism without God is incomplete &, for me, empty. All that is good & laudable about us humans & the creatures we love is a gift from Someone beyond ourselves, beyond our limits & limitations. We can think & love & forgive & begin again because we have an awareness & appreciation of the Divinity & our divinity within. Even in imperfection, we know we are uniquely & wonderfully made. Thank you for reminding me of all I have written here & when you were with me physically. You & I are very imperfect flawed misfits but we are beloved by God & so can rest a little sadly yet confidently in anticipation of our reunion at the Bridge, the gateway to God's eternal embrace. Thank you for reflecting the Incarnate One's goodness & love, for being God's Shadow. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of heaven during your earthly life & now in your eternal one, whatever it encompasses, reveals & lives. I can't wait to share it, basking in the radiance of the Holy Face with the Father close by in the light of the Spirit, never to be parted again. Please visit my loved ones whom I remember today, whether we're separated by death, circumstance or distance. My Scottie loved my sweet furbaby Amicala, your friend. He would love you too. Please send him my love in the stars, the wind & a special rainbow from your new home. Thank you Shadow. I love you & always will. I haven't felt like writing because words are inadequate & accentuate my profound loss. Goodnight my beloved precious Shadow Girl. XX
10/22/16 Yesterday was dad's 92nd birthday. I'm ecstatic he's still with us &, better yet, healthy. It was also the 11 month anniversary of your final departure from me & our home. In 2 days it will be the 9 month anniversary of your death. Two days later will mark the day I was told about your passing. What a string of horrible days! Worse, Jack's sister in law Kathy's sister has metastatic breast cancer. It has invaded her lungs, thyroid & brain. Please send the whole family, especially Eileen, your & Jesus' love. I know you're happier at Rainbow Bridge than you were here but I selfishly want you literally with me. It's trivial but David is, unsurprisingly, being mean & self centered, taking advantage of my willingness to help him while I feeling angry & resentful. I lost my cool yelling & paid for it: He took his sweet furbaby home earlier than planned. I thought my grief had become less intense but I've cried all night, editing & writing. I'm so sad, discouraged & scared. Compared to Eileen's cancer, my problems are miniscule but I've just discovered I have venous disease that may've caused heart damage. If I do or if it gets worse with time, it will make me even more immobile & dependent. But I want to be focused on others instead of myself. Please send David some help to embrace a positive outlook despite past wrongs, current esophageal disease & my guess, stomach cancer as well as significant liver disease. He's bigger than ever & with all his comorbidities, it seems bariatric surgery is no longer an option. Poor David. His pain, bitterness & narcissism are seeping out, negatively affecting everyone around him. He's a good caring person who's been through a great deal. Thank you so much my Shadow for listening & caring. Thank you God. I was blessed to have my sweet dog in life & blessed now to have her & You, the Beloved Trinity, in heaven. Thank you too for those I love & those I don't. Help me to imitate You & all who reflect You so much better than I, including Shadow. Goodnight. I'm spent crying. Exhausted, I'll sleep alone without any beloved companion. I love you Shadow & Gert, of course my Amica at Rainbow Bridge & Dahri here physically still. XXOO to you.
10/30/16 David has stomach ulcers not cancer, thank God. He has little self discipline with food & great difficulty dieting & losing weight. When we argue, I let him make me
feel purposefully wrong & guilty about many things. I could cite many examples but I have my faults too. I get angry, making things worse. He is my friend no matter what & I his. Let go & let God, so hard! I have to do it for many many things, not least my decision to send you away to Canine Castaways & everything surrounding my loss of you my furbaby. I love & still always miss & long for you. Again the 2 anniversaries. I didn't want to write. I wish I could hold you instead.
Yesterday's community concert was only OK. Wish I could have petted you afterwards for both our sake. Did you hear the angels & St. Cecilia? Please be with me as I sing, always to Jesus. Love your sad lonely mom XX
11/8/16 As usual, the wee hours before dawn.... Election day. So what? I feel hopeless, horrible but an update: I'm healthy, no diseases! I still can't change anything & the world plods on. My beloved Shazzo, thank you for listening. I try so hard but it's worse not better. I can't even get the necessary doctor visit for the Medicare wheelchair, let alone the money to pay my 20%. My self-purchased jury-rigged chair is less than a year old but not really working. What's that compared to Eileen having cancer? Or Nancy having to pay over $900 a month & a high deductible for health insurance? No one deserves such hard knocks. She works so hard for everyone. All have problems, most worse than mine but I'm sinking, Soooo lonely & sad. Shadow, will you please please come see me so I can hug you? I need you! I need Dahri. David has control & he knows it: He knows how much I love her & that I'm emotionally vulnerable. I'm so broken that he can hurt me more severely in episodes that feel cumulative, using & manipulating seemingly inconsequential incidents-- like his finding malice in my going to dinner ahead of him. His mother asks what's wrong with me but doesn't know the why of my actions, only what he tells her. I don't want to record specifics but only to bare my heart to you because we love unconditionally. You're with God so now your perfect self. I care deeply for David & you both love each other, his little Deedle-do whose leg he jokingly still wants as a back scratcher. Help me re-find my chosen joy, inner peace, my mature, eyes-open, explicitly chosen innocence. I love you. Please help me smile. I miss you :(
Later today: I'm trying to name my depression but it stems from a combination I can't seem to nail down, much less articulate. I've no beloved furbabies of my own here to caress, lean on or talk to. Today I don't even have Dahri. Not too long ago, I had to give up my kitty, losing another precious creature who stole my heart. Today's bright spot: Jack preciously, caringly & honestly listened & shared his insights. I thank him profoundly. That's a true friend. No judgements. Thank you too. Please ask Jesus to console me. I love our country so am deeply worried. Most personally & profoundly, I adore & cherish you, my family, friends & relationship with God. I'll come back after this political fiasco. Be especially close today. Ask Jesus & His mother, our country's patroness, to protect, guide & shelter us from the consequences of our folly: Seeming abandonment of His supremacy, mandates & invitation to love & faith. My very very God-reflecting dearest Shadow XXOO.
11/9/16 We witnessed an historic first last night. Donald Trump became president elect without having had any government or military experience. It looks like drastic change in our country & the world, perhaps for the better because hard working Americans with bedrock Christian values were seemingly finally heard. The DC Establishment & the media are astounded. But deep concerns about Trump & his agenda are rife. In the private life you & I share, I was able to unburden myself & feel a bit better as I talked with & listened to Dad. He always reminds me life continues under God's wing despite history's pendulum & our personal vicissitudes. Your presence has & still does remind me of Dad's wisdom: Life is good in its ebb & flow. I know I'm loved by you, my family & most of all by God, always no matter what. With renewed confidence & hope, then, I struggle to stand, literally & figuratively so I can push ahead with total trust & confidence in God, I'm still trying to budge depression's concrete block but it's moving inch-by-inch with your help. Please ask Jesus to preserve & protect those we love & this great planet & Country of ours. Help me to look up and out with optimism & perseverance.
11/11/16 I especially missed you at the Veterans Day parade while seeing & making of other dogs. It was a gorgeous day. You must've sent heavenly breezes & colorful rainbow sunbeams. I love you with all I am. Please ask God to be with Alison's William & his dying partner. He's so sad, worried & upset. Please send God's healing & strength to my friend Carlen's favorite cousin who has cancer. I know so many ravaged by it. Please welcome & love those now with you & God. Honor the fallen warriors & send love & thanks to those still here. Love you forever!!
11/21/16 A year to the day I took you forever from your home, harder in some ways than your death. I am so very very sorry. A year has not assuaged my guilt ridden pain. I can't believe I allowed myself to send you away. Everyone had been telling me for a long time you were a problem. I guess, in part, I let them sway me. My disability got the better of me at your expense. I could've gotten someone perhaps from a close by vet to help me with your meds whatever they were. I didn't try. I thought others could give you better care than I. I realized too late no one could love you as much as I do. Nothing can replace such love. I was so torn by my parents' & Nancy's sense of betrayal. But they didn't have the right to put themselves between us. How could I have betrayed you literally? They will always be my family regardless of what they thought of my so-called callous lack of care of our home they worked so hard to make my beautiful sanctuary. But you & Gert were peeing because you were sick. She had diabetes. Neither of you could help it. Again, I am so so sorry. I love you. In your new-found existence I hope you can forgive me. You will always be my beloved misfit. No human or creature will ever take your place. Goodnight my precious most beloved Shadow. I adore you & miss you every bit as much or even more than I did when you were newly apart from me, first in life then not too much later in death. Please more than any other night, tonight visit me in our dreams. I need you. I need to feel your presence close in my heart. I know you're happy at Rainbow Bridge so I don't feel quite as bad but I'm incredibly lonely. No one else understands, thinking I should be well over my grief. No, I don't dwell on them but life`s griefs never go away; they accumulate but so do happinesses & especially cherished memories. I will never forget. I love you. Your essence is enshrined in paw prints permanently hidden in my heart. Goodnight sweetheart. God is with us always.
12/15/16 For some reason I've lost some of what I had written. I didn't leave you alone for as long as it seems. I miss you. Charlotte's here. She loves you. I love you. I'll write again soon. I wish you were coming with to Nancy's with me.
12/23/16 It's almost Christmas. Monica wrote us a Christmas note. I'll visit her babies. I know she misses them as intensely as I miss you. Spend a joyous holiday together with Poco & all your friends at Rainbow Bridge. I offer condolences to all the humans who feel alone & sorrowful this most difficult season. Please visit some you've never met then come to me.
12/25/16 Merry Christmas, yet also the day after our 11 month anniversary of your death. I was not alone & I didn't want to think of the hole of your absence at Christmas. My sweet sister knows how much I miss you & sends her love.
1/9/17 Happy new year a few days late. I've been at Nancy's & seen everybody. Nancy's dogs are still healthy. Mom & dad are doing fine & Huddy is as cute as ever. We had a wonderful Christmas but you weren't with us. I think I'm the only one who noticed. Similarly, I always miss Scott but I'm the only one. That missing will never change; I'm always alone in more ways than one. Nancy & I finished the service dog application. The only thing left to do is take pictures of the front & back yard. If I get a dog, she'll never replace you. It's a long arduous process, only possible if Nancy can take Sugarbean with her. Dahri is with me for a few days while David gets one knee fixed. He is definitely not a good patient! I'll try to help but he's difficult. Please pray for my friend Dan who had a stroke at only 47 as they both recover. I think Dan will always have some sort of disability but not as severe as mine. Please visit him. He'll go home to his cats Wednesday. I wish I were nearby but I'll have to help from a distance. I'll visit again later. It's been cold & I don't feel well. I've spent a long time editing & writing you. It's made me bawl so I'm taking a break. Love for eternity! XXOO MI Sombrita.
1/17/17 My sweet sweet Shazzo I stop by in the middle of this beautiful day to send my Florida furbaby some extra love & warm sunshine. It's about 80 degrees here & never winter at Rainbow Bridge. In spite of the temperature, it's winter for me here without you. I love you forever & we'll always be together never to be parted by anything. I'm watching you play. I wish I could be rid of my physical limitations & playing with you & all your four legged friends.
1/24/17 In the wee hours of the morning alone & desolate even a year after your death, I feel you near as I gratefully read condolences from a caring Rainbow Bridge volunteer. A year since your passing into eternity forever with God. Oh how I miss you with my very being! Dahri was here today, thank God! But I'm alone tonight. I use your leash, bowl & food bin, all the while glad I share with another creature but always always remembering you, sure any other dog can never ever fill your place. I use your things always with mixed bittersweet feelings. You don't mind? I've been editing, writing & sniffling. I want to hug you. Trump is now our president & he has already started to get to work but he's dogged & damned if he does or doesn't. I'm worried & especially lonely & bereft. I'll come back later. For now, sleep & dream for your pleasure. I'll go to bed soon. Especially tonight, please come to sleep with me. Goodnight precious XXXX
1/27/17 I write thinking of Canine Castaways & how cruel people were. Yesterday seemed ordinary uneventful but I knew better. Nothing I think or write can bring you back but the writing serves as a catharsis, a kind of diary & connection with you. I come today after singing to God & His congregants. I feel as if you were with me listening. One cherished gift I haven't lost. Like your essence, my voice, even when spent, will follow me into the grave. Thank you God for all I have. I especially feel mom near as I'm ensconced in her sweater. So much of everything is thanks to her. Then I think of dad. How blessed I am to share our faith in a free abundant land without fear of persecution. Even in deep loss or pain, AMDG THY WILL BE DONE. Thank you for your love & uplifting presence. Our bond is unbreakable across time & space. Thank you for all of you whom I love & the passing on of the best of existence. Please visit & kiss my sweetest young people. When I see Huddy love a dog, I'll know it's your soul sharing itself. I adore, treasure & love you & our colloquies. Goodnight precious Shadow. We're together again in more ways than one. Rubs, scratches, hugs & treats!
2/14/17 HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY Sweetheart. I love you...!I love you!I'm alone, no Dahri. How I miss you with my whole self, my deepest essence yet by precisely that we are never parted. Sleep gently... visit me. Heart treats :)
2/21/17 Today marks 15 months since I sent you away. I write less not for lack of desire, only space. No, also sadness. I miss you sometimes more than earlier on. When Charlotte or David's here, you're so close, so near. I've been ill for almost 3 weeks & the worst of it is my total inability to sing. How I wish you could lie in bed with me! Mom & dad are giving me a new adjustable bed. How comfy it would've been for me & you! Missing you makes me sorry again: I betrayed you & I'll never be able to forget. But! I didn't realize I wouldn't ever see you again. Please forgive me & be with me during our anniversaries which come so close on each other this week. I feel you & know you love me & reflect God's love. Duerme con los angelitos. Te amo con todo mi corazón mi Sombrita. ¡Que me visites!
2/24/17 13 months today...You left this sad sorry world. A great unfillable void gapes. Grief engulfs me; I'm totally desolately alone. I've cried all day. David acted beastily. He carries a new heavy burden but I didn't know. I feel as I did when my Scott abused me. So used & used up, so very sad with no one to comfort me. I only wanted you. I need your warm soft touch, your love & perhaps most profoundly, your reminder & assurance I'm loveable. I miss you so! With God, at peace & happy. Do you think of me & miss me? Again in the dark (in every sense) hours. I can't tell you any more except that I long to be with you & love you eternally. I pray for you & all furbabies, those yet living & those scampering at Rainbow Bridge. I'll never forget this date. Je t'aime avec tout mon coeur. Dors en Paix. Bonne nuit. Que le bon Dieu soit toujours avec toi! I love you. XXOO!
3/9/17 It's been so long since I wrote. February's anniversaries have passed but never in my mind & heart. I couldn't write. How am I going to really let you go with God? Or can I know you're in a different place while you're still with me? If I recognize complicated grief for what it is, is it harmful or just part of my reality like so many other losses? I have losses, an unavoidable part of the human condition, but I have no regrets. We`ve lived & loved well. Thank you for helping me to do so, to see the best but not ignore the bad. For you, thunderstorms were evil & you weren't shy about your fear of them. You lived the best & the worst & learned to love despite hardships. Be with me in my quest to do the same. Enough of me. Are you fully at home in your celestial existence? Please welcome 2 good people when they soon meet you. Please ask Jesus to take them home gently & peacefully while He consoles their grieving dear ones. In starshine & moonlight you are near. Ich liebe dich dermaßen! Gutte nacht. XXOO
3/18/17 Did you enjoy some corned beef yesterday since you love meat (& all food) so much? I thought of you as I listened to Irish music to evoke pleasant memories- harmonica & squeeze box... I miss you every holiday. St. Pat's is hard because I used to celebrate with loved ones but now with even you the latest beloved family member not here, I'm alone with only memories. My consolation was a call to dad. Alison & I had a wonderful day though. Please pray for her, her William & his moribund partner. Ask Jesus to take her home. Goodnight sweetest fairy. May the songs & merriment of the Irish give us both special joy. How did you & your friends celebrate? Dancing eyes & wagging tails? Come visit me; bring fairy goodness & peace. I know in my great Irish Catholic faith, you & I will run joyfully together to Jesus. Hugs & kisses 'til then, my beloved puppy!
4/10/17 I haven't written in almost a month! My number of words is unfairly limited. So quickly, it is Palm Sunday. Blessed Holy Week, you with Jesus risen. I've so many words & feelings inside. You know them for we know each other's heart. It's very late & I've been editing & sobbing but sitting with Dahri. She's precious. You knew her a little. I wish you could be with me together! Your absence still hurts acutely. Please be with me as I prepare my heart & voice for Easter. Visit as we dream. Also visit Jake, Monica & Poco & Jan. My Shadow all my love forever & ever. Sleep well XXOO
4/16/17 Our 2nd Easter apart. Sob sob... Saturday's bilingual vigil was the best yet in SRQ. Again, I wanted to hug you afterwards. Please dear Shadow, visit David's friend Guy who just found out he has stage 4 lung cancer. More medical stuff: David doesn't tell me much but I think something's brewing with his gastric bypass. He loved you. Please visit him. Please also visit your dog friend, Bullet who isn't eating. Jack finally has a good PCP. That's good because his bad days seem to be happening more often than his good ones. He didn't enjoy our Easter dinner, so sad because I had been looking forward to our shared treat. Please ask Jesus to help us figure out what's wrong & how to fix it. My good news: I'm one step closer to getting a service dog. Please bless my efforts. It's a long road without guarantees. No matter what happens, I'll never forget you! It's late again. I'm sad again. Goodnight precious sweetest four-legged love. Happy Easter!
4/24/17 16 months since your death! Unbelievable! How I miss & love you! It is as yesterday! Be with me your RB friends & God.
5/15/17 I can't write much but you're always in my heart. I'm closer yet to the service dog. Please cheer me on as only another canine can. William's Tracy Lee has died & David's had his bypass. Even when he criticizes constructively, it's hurtful. He used to call but barely talks to me now. I miss Dahri when he doesn't come but not as I miss you. I work out, eat clean & am thinner. Your loving support makes success. Goodnight sweetheart XX
5/29/17 All my love on Memorial Day. Please visit fallen heroes for me. X
6/19/17 Dahri`s hurt herself like Gert. Ask Jesus to heal her. Love forever to you both. Miss you!
7/9/17 Another 4th of July has passed. Another set of our anniversaries, still excruciating. You're profoundly missed. Please pray. Not replacing you, I'm trying to adopt an old furbaby who's been through a lot & merits a loving home to gently savor her waning days. My girl, Love always.
10/22/17 Faith couldn't be mine. I think of you daily. I'll never forget you. No space so I'm writing in the guestbook. Jesus can read to you.
It was Dad's 93rd birthday yesterday, so close to your day of death. I'm crying as usual. LOVE! X
11/22/17 Thanksgiving Day Thank God for all I treasure, you of all creatures. Pray for us still here. Love X
12/15/17 Almost mom's b'day & Christmas! I can't write much but I love you.
1/20/18 Happy 2018! With love