windows and mirrors
2 days ago
I lift my glass
to toast the ordinary day.
The sights, the sounds, the opportunities,
The little things that go unnoticed -
A child's laughter, my favorite song on the radio,
The softness of the cat weaving through my ankles...
The first perfect strawberry of the season,
The perfectly blended orange, purple sunset.
It would be a mistake to overlook the extraordinary
in the ordinary... So...
I lift my glass
to toast the ordinary day.
If you ever love an animal, there are three days in your life you will always remember...
The first is a day, blessed with happiness, when you bring home your young new friend. You may have spent weeks deciding on a breed. You may have asked numerous opinions of many vets, or done long research in finding a breeder. Or, perhaps in a fleeting moment, you may have just chosen that silly looking mutt in a shelter--simply because something in its eyes reached your heart. But when you bring that chosen pet home, and watch it explore, and claim its special place in your hall or front room--and when you feel it brush against you for the first time--it instills a feeling of pure love you will carry with you through the many years to come.
The second day will occur eight or nine or ten years later. It will be a day like any other. Routine and unexceptional. But, for a surprising instant, you will look at your long-time friend and see age where you once saw youth. You will see slow deliberate steps where you once saw energy. And you will see sleep where you once saw activity. So you will begin to adjust your friend's diet--and you may add a pill or two to her food. And you may feel a growing fear deep within yourself, which bodes of a coming emptiness. And you will feel this uneasy feeling, on and off, until the third day finally arrives.
And on this day--if your friend and God have not decided for you, then you will be faced with making a decision of your own--on behalf of your lifelong friend, and with the guidance of your own deepest Spirit. But whichever way your friend eventually leaves you---you will feel as alone as a single star in the dark night. If you are wise, you will let the tears flow as freely and as often as they must. And if you are typical, you will find that not many in your circle of family or friends will be able to understand your grief, or comfort you. But if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joy-filled years, you may find that a soul--a bit smaller in size than your own---seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg--very very lightly. And looking down at the place where your dear, perhaps dearest, friend used to lay---you will remember those three significant days. The memory will most likely be painful, and leave an ache in your heart---As time passes the ache will come and go as it has a life of its own. You will both reject it and embrace it, and it may confuse you. If you reject it, it will depress you. If you embrace it, it will deepen you. Either way, it will still be an ache.
But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when---along with the memory of your pet---and piercing through the heaviness in your heart---there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love---like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this love will remain and grow--and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our beloved pets--it is a love that we will always possess.
~ Written by Martin Scot Kosins ~ Author of "Maya's First Rose"
The morning after the downpour found Rebecca on her sofa, the TV still on and a small knit throw wrapped tightly around her. She heard the weather man promise sunnier skies and highs in the mid 80's. Her head was splitting. Rebecca guessed that drinking half a bottle of wine by herself had not been her best move to date. She crawled into the bathroom fumbling for the Advil bottle and headed into the kitchen to make some coffee.
She waited impatiently while the coffee brewed and perused her lengthy to-do list. She realized that she still had plenty of work to lose herself in. Plenty of work to absorb her pain. She didn't need to be involved in this whole Becky, Vince and his sister/her mother-the-drunk disaster! She had floors to sand and walls to paint and cabinets to replace... flowerbeds... sidewalks... it was just so much, she thought... how will she ever get it done? She poured a cup of coffee and slowly sank into the papasan chair in the front room. The mantle clock sang out the Westminster Quarters - so it was quarter of - but quarter of what? She dozed off until they chimed again - 10 times... 10:00 am. She honestly couldn't remember the last time she had slept until 10:00 am and she remembered why - her whole morning was basically gone.
She finished her coffee and decided to end the suspense once and for all. WHAT was under that terrible linoleum? She needed her iron to heat the linoleum to weaken the aggressive adhesive. Unfortunately she was still unable to locate it in all the boxes. How much could an iron cost? Maybe she should just go get a new one. "One more time - just dig through all the boxes one more time." she told herself.
Paper lay all around her on the floor of the attic. She unwrapped box after box - item after item - no iron. Candlesticks, books, old CD's - no iron. Then she found the small cedar box. Carefully inscribed on the top were the words "Adel Rose Hayward". Rebecca's hands trembled as she ran them over the top of the box. For a while she just sat with the box in her lap. The last time this box was opened... she remembered it had been a clear, crisp spring morning. Tulips bloomed in the flower beds of the condo and birds sang. Beautiful... but not as beautiful as the small perfect baby who slept on her shoulder. There was something about this child - she was so sweet tempered with beautiful blue laughing eyes. When she slept on Rebecca's shoulder Adel brought a kind of peace to her that she never thought possible. Rebecca opened the cedar box and carefully dressed her daughter in the christening gown sent by Rick's parents who were on business in Italy. It was a beautiful gown - long and lacey - arduous to put on an infant. Such a happy day. They had been so proud, she and Rick. They were a family. Everything felt shiny and new and full of promise. Who would have guessed they would only have six more months?
Rebecca opened the box and carefully took out the gown. So small - so pretty. She held it tight to her chest rocking back and forth. That last day... cold and rainy, wind aggressively blowing leaves from the trees, not ideal conditions for travel. Why did she HAVE to go that day? Why not wait for a clearer day? Was it so important t return a movie on time? Couldn't it have been late? No - no it couldn't. Rick would never have liked a movie being returned late. She blamed him a little, but she knew that she decided to return the movie because she was sick of being stuck in the confines of their condo. She wanted to get out just for a little - returning the movie seemed like a good idea at the time.
In the end, it hadn't been her fault. She was turning on a green light. The guy in the Suburban ran the light. The police report spelled it all out. He was looking at his GPS. He admitted it. Wasn't her fault. The car slid into a pole - wasn't her fault. The weather... It wasn't her fault... Rebecca was curled up in a ball on the floor sobbing. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She continued to hold tight to the gown - crying until she fell into a fitful sleep.