Welcome to Shadrach's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Shadrach
I got Shadrach on a "whim". A totally spontaneous, unplanned decision. I've always said he was the best spur-of-the-moment decision of my entire life. I bought him in Colorado Springs, during a shopping trip with my oldest daughter. We were stationed there when my husband was in the Air Force. As I played with him in the pet store, I remember my daughter saying, "Don't do it, mom. You better not". Luckily, I did not listen.
Not only did Shadrach fit right in with our family, he made 8 moves with us all over the United States. He was my constant companion as my husband deployed and our children grew up. He made the empty nest feel like it was never really empty. That precious dog knew my every mood. He stayed by me when I was sick, happy, sad, or grumpy.
Such a perfect, unselfish being. I know I've lost the thing that loved me most in the world and it is hard to breathe air and make it go back out. Wait for me, Shad! There will never be another you. OX, my little angel.

3/27/14 Dear Shad, I am still breathing...how, I have no idea. I remember nothing about his past week except the longing for you. I have endured one full week without you in my arms. Nothing prepared me for the pain I would feel. I dream of you every night, trying to reach you, but you are too far away. You make me want to be a better person; just knowing you are watching me, makes me want to try harder in this messed up world. I am still filled with guilt that I should have kept hanging on with you, but I know you were in pain and losing your dignity. I hope you are running with the butterflies and all the loving, new friends you've found by now. Don't forget me, Shad. One day I will be there and we will run to each other, collapsing on the ground in the hug of a lifetime. I love you, Shaddy, my boy.

4/28/14 Why isn't this getting easier? Every breath still hurts. I look for you everywhere. You loved me like nothing else will ever love me. I would give my arms and legs to have one more minute of holding you. Run and play, my little guy! Don't forget me!

5/20/2014 Two months...it feels like two minutes and at the same time, two hundred years. I still dream of you, my little boy, and watch for you...where? I don't know...if you could just fall from the sky or appear in front of me. I hope you are playing with Ava...running, barking, chasing after her. I'm convinced that it's only God who lets me move forward for the rest of my time here. I smile; I function; I've even laughed, but when you run through my mind, my heart splits open again. It seems to me that the good goes in this world...the good goes. And you, Shad, were only goodness. I love you.

5/25/2014 Little sweet boy...Ron misses you, too...he dropped an ice cube on the floor last night and just broke down grieving for you. We talked about how you would rather have ice, watermelon, and carrots more than even a steak! :-) It made us smile for a minute. You are in our hearts forever and that will never change.

6/24/14 Oh, my little boy...I did not forget you the 20th, Shaddy. We were in a hotel, closing on the house, and moving. I had no internet but Ron and I cried for you just the same. I hand-carried your box with me all across the country. As much as I wanted to leave that house and TX, I was sad because it's where you and I said good-bye. I still re-play those last minutes together. I still miss you every second and hurt like nothing else ever has. It's changed how I look at life and so many other fleeting things. Things that other people feel are important mean so little. Are you playing, rolling, resting? Watch over me in Missouri, my sweet friend!

7/20/14 Four months...time stands still; it flies. I am in Missouri now, my little friend. I know you are with me. God has put a neighbor in my life who understands the pain I feel. Her loss is four years old and she can't bring herself to get another friend. I feel sorry for people who cannot relate to this kind of loss. There is not a day that goes by that I don't find tears rolling down my cheeks. It's not even something I feel coming or I can control...it just happens out of nowhere. Ellie is slipping away, too, Shad. Slipping away from me, but I know toward you. I know you will welcome her and keep her with you. She is very tired and sad, but I love on her and take the best care I know how. Still, she is telling me it's getting time to go be with you. I feel that my pain saturation is already at capacity, but losing her will leave a very big hole. You would love the deer and rabbits in the yard, Shaddy. You would love to stand there and sniff the air. I love you to the moon and back.


8/20/14 The world is in a mess, Shad; this city we moved to is in an even bigger mess. So much hate. I feel sorry for people who never know love. I miss you every second. Ron hurts, too. Do you know what he told me the other day when he was hugging me? He said, "Tracy, I love you as much as Shad did." It made me cry harder, but it was what I needed to hear, even if I already knew it. People are so cold...only a few of my friends can relate to this loss. Most ignore it. They are too busy downloading apps (I still couldn't care less what those are) or they are planning on what bar to meet up at tonight. I feel sorry for empty people who can't feel. You can almost hear them saying, "Tracy, move on; get a grip". They don't understand that it was YOU who watched over the kids and me while Ron was gone for years worth of time serving our country. They don't understand it was YOU who was my companion through all the illness I've suffered with these past few years. They THINK they know, but what do you see on Facebook? Nothing, really. Just snippets of nothing about who a person really is or what might be going on in their life. Three days ago I had a dream that I died and you were there waiting. It's the first dream I had like that. Usually I just see you and am trying to reach for you. I love you so much, little guy. Ellie is still hanging on, but she is coming to you soon, I know. Wait for all of us!

9/20/14 If anyone ever would have said missing you would still hurt so badly, I would not have believed them. It's September...your birthday month and my birthday month. You would have been 18 on the 10th of September. I woke up at 2 in the morning and sobbed myself back to sleep. I still reach out beside me to feel for you...do you remember that? I would reach over and check on you the last year. You were so frail. Something died inside me, too. I was walking around a fall festival yesterday...watching kids laugh, leaves fall, dogs bark, people eating, selling things. I couldn't smile. So many things have changed this year...losing you and Ava. Moving. My health. Little things mean so much to me now...and I don't fear much. Just the times I think of you, hold your collar, wrap your blanket around my shoulders. Those are the times I just breathe air in and push it back out. Waiting for the next one to maybe not hurt so much. I love you, little buddy. Fly through the falling leaves of autumn and watch for me!

10/20/14 The arrow is still stuck in my heart, friend. I guess I've learned to just live with the pain of it. That's it; that's all there is...a coping and going on as best as I can. I hope you have found friends to play with your sweet soul. I still keep thinking it's all a big mistake; a big misunderstanding and I can come pick you up. I feel that I am still with you, whatever that can mean...it keeps me moving on. There's a shallowness to life on earth now, I must say. This temporary glob of problems, issues, responsibilities. And if we can just hold on and find something or someone to love and give us purpose, then that just might be the best we can do for the time being. I miss you, little friend. Blowing kisses to you on the winds of autumn.

11/20/2014 8 months...a lifetime to me. I want you to come running around the corner with that smile on your face and your little tail nub wagging back and forth. Such love and devotion. I was thinking how last year we got so many sunny, fall days out on the back deck. Holding you and showing you the deer and dogs next door. This world, Shad...all you were here to do is love and trust a human being. I was lucky to be that girl who brought you home. All the times you kept me company; in the darkest of times all I had to do is reach beside me and feel your heart beating. I saw snow, Shaddy! Ellie saw snow and she has a new sweater to wear outside. I think she likes it. I know she misses you, too. Put on your little angle wings and flutter up above me...I will be there someday.

12/20/2014 The last month of the year I lost my best friend. I don't want the year to change. Shad, I found your little Christmas stocking. I can't bare to hang it up, but it's on my dresser. Ellie is still here with me...she is changing and tiring. I feel untouchable as far as grief goes. Broken hearts do keep beating. Perfect love never goes away...it's just that I don't have you to sit beside me, to hold, or to walk with. Time will never erase our bond, little boy. Sometimes I would look in your eyes and think how that little tiny mind felt so much compassion and love. And how some humans never do. I was so lucky; I am so lucky. Merry Christmas, Shadrach. You left a footprint on my heart and it's the only thing holding my heart together.

1/21/15 Hello, friend...I can barely face a new year without you. I did not forget you yesterday. I was at the hospital getting tests done and did not feel well enough to face this journal. I thought of you every second and as I sat and watched the therapy dogs at the hospital, I was reminded of your gentle soul. You filled my heart for 17 1/2 years and that is bound to leave a gaping hole...how it beats with such a void, is only God's will for my life. I put my finger in the cast of your pawprint...and think of our times together side by side, no words needed. I try to swallow away the pain and carry on, but you are always with me, Shaddy. I love you, little guy!

2/20/15 Before I can even sign in to your area, my throat swells, tears flow, my heart skips a beat...I've missed you so lately, Shad. My little boy...such a big heart in a little tiny body. Winter has set in...a cold, gray day. Ellie has her coat on and does not know what to make of the snow. She reminds me much of where you and I were in this journey a year ago. She cannot hear any longer and her eyes are bad. Of course she does not like to cuddle like you did, but I still get close and tell her how much she is loved. I am trying to endure this heartbreak, Shad. Grief is like riding a never-ending roller coaster... I will look at a rug, the bed, a pillow...and remember how you stood there or laid there and it takes my breath away. Whisper in my ear, little boy...keep waiting for me. With a heart full of love, Me

3/22/15 No, I did not forget you on the 20th. That is the last thing I would ever do, friend. I was in the hospital so sick I thought I might be joining you, Shaddy. I cannot believe a year has went by...it seems forever and yet, I close my eyes and see our last seconds together. There will never be another you. Shad, I guess you know by now that Ellie is with you. She left me 2/27/15...just a week after I last wrote you. She had cancer and suffered so in February. I needed to let her go to you. She was so brave. Are you having fun? I miss her- tell her that. I am totally alone now, for the first time in decades. Ron is still in training. The kids have their own lives now. I want things back to where they were right. I want it so badly I could scream. I cried so hard for you Friday that I made my nurse cry, too. If only tears worked miracles. I love you...there is not an hour you don't cross my mind. Run and play with Ellie...spring is here, friends! Hugging you so tight and forever, Me

4/20/15 Today my eyes opened to a heaviness in my heart that I haven't felt for a few months. I remember our last weeks together and I would just stop whatever I was doing, get down so I could look right in your eyes, and tell you how much I love you and appreciate what you brought to my life. You knew; I knew...we kept moving forward, facing what was coming, but being so grateful for each and every day. I tried to tell you a million different ways what a special friend you were to me. Love defined your life...and in the end, love wins. Through the tears that still pour out of me in buckets, I can say that love wins.

6/20/15 Ron and I cried for you today...we both still feel the emptiness you left behind. I thought of you on May 20 but we were traveling in flooding rains...so fitting for how I felt. Shad, thank you for being there for me all those times you would keep me company, look in my eyes, give me a reason to get up. I have tried to open my heart again for a new friend. I want to be ready; I think I will one day. But even if I have ten more dogs, there will never be another you. So lucky am I. Not even you passing from this earth can separate our connection. Do you see me? Do you watch? You're there...I'm sure of it...no more pain and no more fear. I love you, baby boy.

7/20/15 Little sweet boy who lives on in my heart and thoughts each day. Grief leaves you in a crazy, surreal place. Suspended in air, I feel, trying to go through the motions everyone expects of you. All ok on the outside, but shredded to pieces inside. I remember those times we locked eyes...so connected...a middle-aged woman and a miniature poodle. I don't know what I did to deserve experiencing that kind of devotion from a little poodle, but I am eternally grateful and will be eternally devastated to lose it. The rain pours today; the heat of summer is here...I'll need your help to get through today, Shad. Stay tight around my heart. oxox

9/1/15 I did not forget you the 20th, Shad. In fact, I was in such a place that I could not bare to come here. I'm sorry if that sounds selfish, but I figure since you are with me every second anyway, that you know where my heart was that day. In fact, the past three weeks have been extra hard. I foolishly keep thinking the more time between our last day together will make my heart heal. It just hasn't happened. I look at things so differently now, which I do consider a gift, but it makes it harder to watch all the time wasters around me. Thank you for stamping my heart with a "loved forever" stamp, my little friend. It's my birthday today and I'm alone...by choice...I needed to be and so I made sure I could be. I say that, but I know you are with me...flying high above with your soul as big as the sun. I am overwhelmed that I knew such goodness from another life. That's the best gift you gave. I hang on to that as I feel shovel-fulls of pain come up from inside me and nearly choke my breath. I miss you terribly, little boy. Pressing on; pressing on. oxoxox

9/20/2015 18 months. 18 miserable months. I can barely cope today. It has been a hard week. You already know why, so I don't have to say. All I know is that I want you back here on earth. We are in Kentucky. Louisville. Watching the Ohio River boats. Trying to make myself eat a bite of dinner. I wish I was home, but I really have no home. Do you see the fall coming? The tops of the trees are golden yellow and orange here. I miss Ellie, too. I saw a dog that looked like her at a rest stop today. Are you together? I really need you both to send me down some strength so I can push through. I love you...wait close by! love, me

12/18/2015 I've been afraid...afraid to come, here, Shad. I talk to you every day-out loud- but for some reason, could not bring myself here the past couple of months. I could tell you it's the move, the chaos, the settling in again, but that's not the reason. I have had grief put me in a cage, as I tell Julie, and I stand holding the bars, rattling the cage, begging God to get the door open so I can breathe... and He does. We still don't have another baby. I have tried and tried, Shad. I back out over and over again so I know that I am not ready. Maybe I never will be. We are in Oklahoma...close to the kids but not in San Antonio where your soul left and not in St. Louis where Ellie's slipped away. I'll just never be the same and I know that. I think everyone close to me see that, too. I was watching the birds soar down to the feeders I put out and then back up in to the Oklahoma winter sky...thinking how I wish I could soar up to you- even for a little visit. It's a mess here on earth, Shad. I just had to be with you today and tell you how I am in this place of grief again. My little angel and best friend, I dearly miss you every second I breathe. I am grateful for these precious, quiet moments I can spend with you alone...I love you, little boy!! Merry Christmas!!

3/09/2106 No particular date...sad inside. January and February were months; just months. Ellie has been gone a little over a year and your second year gone from me is fast approaching. Little people with little capacity to love so deeply. Oh, Shad...some days I get by ok. Some are work. My health continues a slow decline. But I don't even care about the physical things. I miss your soul; your goodness. I still cannot get another dog. I've tried many times, but cannot do it, Shad. Spring is here in Oklahoma...bad storms already and I am glad poor Ellie does not have to endure the noise. Where are the two of you? I'm just not a good person any more. I feel so lost...I truly understand now when people say they would give anything for just one more minute. The robins are here...I loved them in St. Louis. I have all kinds of bird that you and Ellie would love watching out the glass door. Where is home, Shad? Why do I feel so lost? You are just a hearbeat away, my little friend. I love you more each day...and that will never change. I cannot fathom you gone and that light out...it just can't turn off...you were so much brightness in my heart.

3/19/17
3 years tomorrow...I can still close my eyes and see, smell, feel everything about you, little boy. I talk to you out loud-still often and am comforted by knowing you hear me. In you, I saw the best about living on this earth, and I will know that forever. Spring is hard...your loss brings up losing Ellie and little Ava. Still I hold on the Easter and the promise my God made in the sacrifice of his Son. It gives me hope that all will be made right and all will be made whole one day.
Shad, you and Ellie would just have a fit at this big family of black crows in the yard. Of course, I have them spoiled rotten! They come every day for bread scraps which they dunk in the birdbath. All the Carolina wrens are busy choosing houses to nest in, too. So much newness in spring, yet so much loss happened in spring. We still do not have any new babies...I think one day they will find us. The house is quiet, but we will know when it's right. It's time to hang on tight for Oklahoma spring weather. I don't feel grounded...maybe because we are still renting this house. Making commitments and sticking to them is harder for us. Ron and I have both noticed this...since we left Texas, it feels like we are floating. I know you are floating, my precious little soul. Feel how much I love you; feel how much I miss you!!! If I stop to actually feel the pain, my breath catches...you stop time for me.

10/31/17
My breathe still catches...memories flood through my mind. I think of the times when our eyes would meet, on some of the hardest days of my life. You knew; you understood. That tiny, amazing brain processing more human emotions than most people I've met.
It's Halloween...nothing is the same. I miss putting a sweater on you, or taking you and Ellie to the groomers where she would put you both in Halloween scarves.💕🙂
Grief is like another limb your body grows- like an extra arm that shouldn't be there. It in the way, just hanging there. But you learn to accept it as part of the new you. I feel that if I were to go in for an ultrasound of my heart, a big chunk would appear to be missing on the screen. All the doctors and nurses would gather round to witness the medical miracle of a person seeming to live with a broken heart. All my love up to you, Shadrach...my boy.
3/20/2018. You are here with me...I miss you so much that the emptiness swirls up from someplace so dark and deep- I cannot understand it. This grief deserves a badge! I love you, sweet little boy, but where is my "4 Years Without Shadrach" badge? People get badges for things, you know. Nobody but me can know what I feel today...just going on about life, as we do.
We still don't have another dog. We still don't have another dog. I write it twice and remind myself why that is. Today I will take food and toys by the dog shelter in memory of you. Today I will keep going- as long as God decides I'm here- with my battered heart. I have not forgot one thing about you or not missed you every minute. Wherever you fly, always return to my side.

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