Today I was reminded of the joys of life, the gift of birthdays, friends and of a special type of love. I was also reminded of the somber time of death, but how when the pain ebbs a bit of the joyous memories that we all have.
I had the privilege of attending the birthday party for Annie, a 15 y/o rescued golden retriever. Many of you know my love of goldens and my work with the rescue. I met Annie’s “mom” when I started volunteering with the local golden retriever rescue 6 years ago, shortly after I adopted my own golden retriever Oscar. Celebrating Annie’s birthday is a wonderful thing. Not many goldens get the opportunity to reach such an age. The party was held at a local doggie day camp facility and included food for both 2 and 4 legged attendees, games, and prizes. With approximately 45 dogs in attendance it could have been chaos, but it wasn’t. It was a fun time for dogs and their families to socialize, enjoy and celebrate the wondrous relationships between dogs and their people.
I lost my golden Oscar just over two years ago. I had the privilege of having him in my life for 4 wonderful years and he passed away at 12 years old. Although he passed away, he is still very much a part of my life. I may not have him physically by my side, but his presence is around. He taught me such wonderful gifts and by being a part of my life he reinforced that life is made by the simple things and the happiness that can be found in the big brown eyes of a golden retriever.
There was a slideshow today that featured many of the attendees (furry butts and their people) and our cherished friends that could not be with us. I found myself reflecting on the many dogs that touched my life while working with the rescue and although I was sad they are no longer alive, I found myself laughing at their pictures depicting their antics. Oh the memories those pictures brought up.
As my own journey progresses, I find myself thinking more and more about death and the beyond. Surprisingly, I do not find these thoughts overly distressing. I believe it has to do with how I am approaching my own forthcoming death. I have decided that in the coming weeks I am going to start writing more and more about how I feel being at the end of my physical life. I want to share with you thoughts, decisions and preparations as well as the peace and understanding that I find as I take these steps. I hope that some day in the future you will be able to experience an opportunity to look past the sadness of my death and do what I did today, by finding the beauty and happiness and invoke the memories that we all have. As I did today with friends about their beloved dogs and as I do everyday with Oscar when I look around my house and see his face with mine on the mantle, his favorite toys sitting in his basket. He comes to visit me in my dreams and gives me peace. He is waiting patiently for me, giving me support and encouragement and he gives me peace of mind that he will escort me to heaven when the time comes.
I hope as you read this, you will think of that special person or animal that means a lot to you and reflect on those memories. Here are just a few of the memories that I have for my special boy - Oscar.