Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘Duke’

Shoutout to Dorkville, USA

I am one of the most blessed people for having so many wonderful humans in my world.  While we all have our quirks and issues as we make our ways on our journey, I love that we seem to see the strengths in each other much of the time.

One such human recently completed a tribute to “my boys” because he seemed to “get” the unshakeable bond I had with each of them (and both of them at the same time).  Even though he is a University of Kentucky basketball fan and I am a Duke University basketball fan, we have been peaceful neighbors in Dorkville.  Yes, it can be done.

Another wonderful human reminded me today that nothing stays the same in this life, so we end eras and start eras just as we start brand new days, weeks and years.  None of them the same as the one before and each bringing with it challenges and triumphs. Don’t buy into the idea that change is scary.  Buy into the fact that it simply is what it is and we move through it with love.

The era that spanned 14 years with “my boys” has ended.  And in the same week I realized that I had moved a bit forward from the losses (like for real), his tribute was ready to share with me.

Enjoy it and be sure to send him his props as he is quite talented!

 

Incidentally, I clearly thought yesterday was the 16th, so here is to another Day 16 of

nanopoblano2015light

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WWDD?

tea bag love

What Would Duke Do?

Several weeks back, no matter where I was turning, there was a barrier.  Some of the barriers were biting and hurtful.  I couldn’t help but think that if Duke were here, I would feel better and figure out how best to move over, through, above or around the barriers.

I asked myself daily WWDD?  The answer was always that he would be love.  He would love so much that no one around him could feel anything other than special.  Everyone would feel his/her ability to rise to any occasion.  He would remind me that hurtful, biting, stinging things thrown in my direction were merely evidence that someone needed some extra love sent their way.

His love for me would then allow me to have the strength to do just that—to be love.

Sometimes it doesn’t come as easily as believing in rainbows.  Fear and ego serves no real purpose on the mission.  The mission to be the change essentially is to be love and fear and ego only serve to block the way forward.

buddha dog

I haven’t yet let go of the notion that if Duke were sleeping in the next room because he was my center of gravity.  He was my go-to guru on all things.

He could always figure out some magical dog antic way to make me let go of whatever it was I was holding onto so tightly.

Since June, I have actually had to find it and maintain it on my own.  He taught me how to do it independent of him, after all.  It just isn’t always that easy.

Duke would certainly always be love and I will do my best to follow his lead.

Day 12 and really happy to be back in the routine of writing everyday!  Go Team Pepper 2015!

nanopoblano2015light

Here we go!

duke tribute cake

Today is the first day of November 2015.  It is the first day of the setting back of clocks one hour.  It is the first of all of this that I am starting without my Duke in the house balking the change of feeding times and walking times.

Ruby is a fan of routine, but she is fine with an hour or two differences in routine on the weekends.  She does not even care if the walk is happening in the dark in the mornings or in the day light, as long as she is getting a walk.  I will be curious about how she feels about the evening walk in the dark this week, actually.

I have enjoyed the additional hour of sleep today.  I have enjoyed being one hour ahead of myself all day and feeling like I was getting so much done before the time it would have been last Sunday.

Just the same, I am not sure I feel any differently physically about what time it is now.  I am as tired as I would be at 8pm even though it is barely 7pm as I write this.

I am excited for a new month, no matter what the time and daylight situation is because October has kicked my butt.  There was so much change in such a short period of time that I am not even sure what has happened last month.  It was all good—that I am sure of, but the rest is blurry because it happened at a warp speed that I am not yet accustomed.

There are intermittent distractions, but overall, I am focused and I am authentic and I am all about the mission before me.  I am struggling to keep those involved also focused on the mission, but I personally am quite focused.

What is interesting is that the mission as I see it has gotten larger as the days of October blew past.  The big picture is bigger and the mission is larger than I first thought as I entered into October.  It is ok.  I am rolling with it and it makes sense.  What is happening is bigger than me.  It is bigger than anyone who is involved in the mission combined, really.  That is ok.

I will rise to the occasion.  The folks involved will rise or not.  It is ok either way.  The mission is moving forward with or without us and that is quite clear.  Let us all rise and move toward something more!  Duke would want that.  Duke would expect it to happen, so here we go!

 

 

 

WOW–September!

September arrived so quickly this year.  Perhaps I say that every year?

The Tawny Girdle

I was looking through pictures on my phone and realized that it was two years ago this month that my bad intrathecal baclofen pump was finally removed.  Since then, I have gone from wheelchair to cane, wheelchair to walker, fallen a few times, and now get around mostly without any assistive equipment.

Pools, bikes, practicing walking normal, stretching and a variety of other physical therapy things have helped me tremendously.  What I think has helped as much as those things is that I finally feel confident–that no matter what level of mobility and no matter what level of symptom interference–I can manage this illness enough to keep moving forward.

I have never been high on any self-confidence scale—likely right out of the womb it began—so to feel some confidence about managing something that ripped my world apart years ago feels pretty huge to me.

It took quite a while to convince me.  Probably longer than it needed to take, quite honestly.  And, it all came together with the Cali Magic of December, which has yet to lose its momentum in my life.  The Cali program serves to help me continue to trust that feeling of confidence, as it has become a part of what I am sharing with both the residents and my coworkers on a regular basis.

Even with the loss of Duke thwarting me, I still feel the momentum and see the momentum manifesting everyday—whether I am into it doing so or not.  Some days, the momentum scares me a little and sometimes I just need to be grieving Tawny.

I like to think Duke is behind me pushing me forward into those very things he pulled me back into years ago.  He is why I went back to the Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP)—I did it for him so that he could have a job since my improved mobility with the first pump put him out of work.  I did it for the folks at HEP because I remember how much it helped me to have a critter who only loved show up now and again.

Little did I know what would be in store for me next there.  Little did I know just what I could really bring to the table to help—even without my partner in crime.  I wasn’t sure how much I had to offer after the trauma of homelessness, the gap in true full time employment, the years of so much medication that my brain was a constant fog.  The little doubting Tawny in my head kept saying, “yes, but…” and “but, what if…”

Eleven years after staying at HEP as a homeless resident without my Duke and Amore, only two years after choosing to remove my pump, I am thriving as a full time employee nearly 9 months into it.  The end of an era has opened up an entirely new era.  It all seems to be happening so much faster than my little doubting and slightly reserved Tawny had it planned.

Just the same, it is September and WOW, 2015 has been quite full of achievements, sadness, newness, change, and happy surprises all around!

Tribute to Duke, et. al.

I have written a few things since my letter to Duke, but nothing that seemed “post-worthy” here.  I babbled about feeling such gratitude for grieving with such a large number of people and how that made it suck just a little bit less.  I wrote about randomness and Ruby and the empty spaces in my heart.  I wrote about having a bit of a delayed grief reaction after being in control for a month, then a monsoon fell out of my eyes.

A few weeks ago, we had a tribute to Duke at the Homeless Empowerment Program with some of Duke’s favorite people that was so touching and so special for a variety of reasons, and I really wanted to share about it.  I simply had no adequate words to convey adequately any emotion or thought I had about it.

duke tribute cake

Here is what I know now…

Every day, I get up and keep moving forward.  Every day, I see others through the eyes of Duke.  I have made major purchases with Ruby, have had fun and have laughed a lot.  I have cried, with a sadness and longing that is palpable for Duke’s physical presence.  And, I have realized that every day I get up is a tribute to Duke and Amore.

They taught me to live in the moment, love and love some more if for no other reason than I can, to have fun, to laugh A LOT, cry, feel whatever I am feeling, and move forward into the next moment.  They taught me far more than that, but for now, if I am doing all of those on a daily basis, then I am honoring their memory.

lobby  plaque

For me, the commitment to those boys so many years ago at the Animal Control doesn’t end just because they are no longer physically here.  The connection was so much more to us than just being a committed dog mom.  The tribute will live on through me, Ruby, Koko and hopefully anyone and everyone else who was lucky enough to have learned life lessons from either of those silly boys.

photo

Dear Duke…

Dear Duke,

I felt the need to write you a farewell letter.  Many times, both in my head and through tears, I have composed the start of this letter since you said your goodbyes to us Friday.  I awoke lost, without my alpha dog on the first morning without you beside me in bed, waking me up by flopping over to spoon and cuddle as I waited on coffee and the snooze alarm, but then remembered all that you have taught me over the years about dealing with loss, challenges and hard times.

Through my terribly sad fog of a brain, I knew that it was my turn (on my own and with all those whose lives you have touched) to take care of all that you have helped with so much over the years.  You have not only been my favorite and most talented co-therapist in this life, but also my grounding source, my sounding board, and my motivation for being a better human.

You literally helped me up when I fell down, and you knew my soul better than any human ever could.  You reached me when I had no longer allowed anyone else to try.  You picked some of my new friends as you helped me to create a new and better life after wheelchairs, homelessness and nursing home, and you kept me moving forward no matter what.

One could argue that you were “just a dog” but it would be a huge and tragic missing of the mark, for who you were to me, and to so many whose lives you were honored to touch was so much more.  You were magic.  You were magnificence.  You were the epitome of any definition of love, selflessness and giving.

The veterinarian told me that your neurological status at the end should have made you miserable, nauseated and dizzy.  No one who made it to say his or her goodbyes Friday morning saw that.  You wagged, you smiled, you let us all cry and tell stories about our life with you, and you did not complain.  Until the end, my son, you were the epitome of all that is good, right and holy in this life.

Because of that, I know it is important that I have not only “gotten” the life lessons you have spent so many of your last 14 years trying to teach me, but also that I pay those forward whenever I can with a loving, giving, self-less spirit in which you taught them to me.

You would want me to stay grounded, stay focused, and continue creating my own life and to create opportunities for others to create better for their lives.  You would want me to make sure your “boys” are doing the same in your honor at work, and that the staff and friends who loved you do the same.

It has truly been an honor to hold your leash as you trail blazed your way into the hearts of those at work, and as you made every single person who crossed your path to feel loved, special and whole.  You could see that they were worthy of that, whether they could or not—I see that too, but only because you taught me how to see it.

While I am terribly sad and feel a bit lost trying to imagine a world without you physically in it, my heart is so much bigger because you picked me for you and your brother.  My life is so much richer and my world so much fuller than I could ever imagine because you opened me up to it.

I would not trade any of the tears I shed, and will continue to shed as I grieve your absence, for never having the opportunity and the privilege to share so much of my lifetime with you by my side.

My soul mate dog, it was your time.  I will always love you and appreciate all that you were to me and to so many others. You have given so much, and now you can rest.  We will take it from here.

me kissing dukie at hep

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