We've Only Just Begun

We've Only Just Begun
More Books Beyond Our Trilogy : We'll Be Filling All These Bookshelves!

Sunday

It's Complicated to Cope With More Than One Loss at a Time

In Honor of Father's Day
(Excerpt from Book 3: Jack McAfghan's Return From Rainbow Bridge")


CHAPTER 14
Never Alone

As I was happily reuniting with Grady and some other friends, I heard someone calling my name. It was a commanding voice. “Jack!” I raced back to the Bridge. I was so excited! I thought maybe they were calling to tell me that Kate was coming!

But no, I was being summoned. They were recruiting me to go back to escort Kate’s father across the Bridge. No one crosses alone without someone they know and love beside them. I was the chosen one.

When I crossed the Rainbow Bridge with Thalia in the wee hours of that morning, I would not have expected Kate’s father to be crossing over the following afternoon. It was complex, for while she wept bitter tears for me, she also cried guilty tears for the fact that, while she loved her father a great deal, she simply had loved me more. Dealing with yet another loss interrupted her grieving process with me. The anger stage she was supposed to go through with me she applied to her father instead. Once she was done dealing with her grief over losing him, she would have to come back and finish the grieving she started with me.

I was told why I had to leave the day before he did. It was because they needed to teach me what I needed to know to be ready to best assist him. Lizard was my role model. He had shown me what to do and I had been well prepared.

When I arrived back on the other side of the Bridge to collect him, it was very hard not to think about going to her instead but I promised them I would stay true to my mission. It was the hardest thing I ever did, to be that close to her and to walk away again. My Rainbow friends had promised me that they would soon teach me how to be with her despite the veil between us, so I focused on that and it gave me hope.

It’s interesting that they chose me to be the one to escort him, but I guess it’s because he had one more lesson to learn before he got to Heaven. When Chuck walked the earth, he was one of those people who didn’t quite understand that I was a thinking feeling being just like him. He thought of me as Just A Dog, but then he would glare at me if I acted like one; if I barked or got too rambunctious or got my nose too close to his food. I was so surprised by his reaction when I came back to get him that day. Boy, was he happy to see me! It’s interesting how you learn how much someone loves you when they thought they were all alone and then you show up for them.

I was there with him because the moment we leave this world our Master makes sure that we are not alone. Not ever. I thought it was quite amusing how Chuck kept walking with a limp all the way across the Bridge, as if his knee still hurt him.

You don’t have to limp anymore. You don’t have a reason to limp anymore.
“I know,” he replied, but his head hadn’t yet caught up with the miracle that was happening. Sometimes the head takes awhile catching up with what the heart already knows. He was still stuck in the belief that he was who he was on earth, with his limitations in body and mind. His body was free and yet still he limped all the way across the Bridge, at which point he would be sent to the Rainbow Healing Center to correct his thinking so that he could be free.

I knew she would be okay because when you keep yourself very busy with tasks, you don’t have much time to grieve and feel sorry for yourself. She was getting ready to go into the city to close out her father’s apartment. We would all be very busy in the days ahead. She had cured me of my fear of bridges but nothing had been able to ease my apprehension over the unpredictable slam of the teeter-totter. After we returned to the other side of Rainbow Bridge, I went into the Healing Center too, to resolve that issue. We cannot take any fear into Heaven with us because love does not coexist with fear and Heaven is all love. The only way to be free is to rid ourselves of the fears.

Let Jack Heal Your Heart. Available on Amazon Worldwide in Paperback, on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and through your favorite bookseller. 


Just like your angels, you are never alone. You can take Jack wherever you go and he will keep you connected to your loved ones, who are with you wherever you go. 

Saturday

Spring Prayers for Those Who Grieve




Everything is going to be alright. Love never dies and the end of this life is not the end of life at all.  Something that appears to be the ending is always just the beginning of something else.

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Have you read any of my other books?  Did you enjoy them? If so, please consider rating them on Amazon to let others know they are worth the read. Reviews mean everything to me. I am not allowed to give anything in exchange for a great review, but if I could I would give you the world. Prayers going out to all who struggle. It sounds cliche but this too shall pass. After all, nothing lasts forever but Love. 


Sunday

Getting Through the Holidays when you Grieve


Every grieving mother knows how old her child would be today. You know how old I would be now and how long I’ve been gone. The heart remembers everything. You are connected to me by the love that we share, a love that tugs at your heartstrings at special times. You might find yourself thinking about me continuously one day. You just can’t get me out of your mind! Maybe you even have a dream of me or receive an extraordinary sign. You look at the calendar and realize that it is the anniversary of my passing or my birthday. The heart remembers everything. 

“One day without him…”
“He was still here this time last week.”
“I’ve made it through the first two weeks.”
“I can’t believe she’s been gone a month.”
“It’s been 2 months, 2 days, 7 hours, 35 minutes.”
“3 months have passed now.” 
“4 months.”
“5 months…152 days”
“I’m coming up on 6 months.”
“It’s my first holiday alone.”
 “This would have been her birthday.”

We’ve been through one round of all the anniversaries of the heart. 365 days of “first times.” Oh, but it’s still complicated isn’t it? Leaving the first year behind, it’s like we lose that too. The anniversaries will keep coming. There will be days when you just aren’t feeling so strong. Maybe you go a park or a restaurant where we used to go and even though you might have a new friend with you, you are filled with tears and memories of our days together. It’s okay. Let them come. Those were the days my friend… 

Creating new traditions is a very good way to move forward, to honor me and to honor the special days of the year. Sometimes you need to create new traditions for yourself when you are faced with loss---or if you are struggling with family issues and disappointments.

Anniversaries and holidays can be difficult at best when your life feels empty or incomplete. One of the things you can do for yourself during these times is to celebrate the life we shared. Do not mourn my loss. Celebrate my life. Create a lovely altar, light a candle. Say your prayers. Invite me to visit you. Talk to me. Tell me about your hopes and dreams. Reflect on the good times. Tell me you love me over and over again. Soak in the happy times of being blessed by someone in your life who loved you and who loves you still. Someone who taught you the meaning of love, not fear. Celebrate our love. Know that love never dies. 


When you are visiting people over the holidays who might not understand what you are going through, take something tangible and subtle with you; something that you can wear or hold in your hand when you are you are longing to be with me instead of them. It's okay to talk about it if it feels like the right thing to do for you. It’s okay to not want to talk about too. Just tell them that. It can also be quite handy to excuse yourself so you can go to bed early. That's okay to a point too. You have a very good reason and you are learning at last to take care of yourself. Balance the holiday and try to stay balanced within yourself as you move forward to the next anniversary without me. Balance is the key to all healing. Time and support will take care of the rest.


When you are surrounded by joy and celebration it can actually make you feel worse when you feel worse. If you want to avoid parties and celebrations altogether you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or some other charity event. It often helps one to feel better when they help people less fortunate. You can also opt to stay home, but I will be hoping that you will be willing to share the holiday with someone you love and trust. Someone who lets you be you. Go easy on yourself. 

The first of every month would loom ominously. She braced herself every time a new month approached. The August 1 anniversary was tough. Then a funny thing happened. December 1 arrived; sixteen months. The day came and went. On December 2 she realized she had not noticed. She felt guilty at first until she realized it was a sign of her healing. My life was the important thing and our relationship, now on new terms, was all that mattered. She forgot February 1 too! And March! She didn’t remember until after a whole week had passed! Who knew what would happen on April Fool’s Day? Well! She fooled me and remembered! This is how it will happen for you too, 
in your own time and in your own way. 


This post is an excerpt from our latest book, "Only Gone From Your Sight: A Personal Approach to Human Grief & Loss"  Currently available on Kindle and coming soon to Amazon in Paperback!

Saturday

We Are All Lost Until We Are Found...Losing Immy

Tonight I was walking Immy and Joey in the tiny artist colony of Tubac, Arizona. As we headed up the gravel road to the Montessori School I stopped to take a photo of the cranberry colored monsoon sky. In that very moment a cottontail rabbit sprang from the nearby bushes and Immy took off like a rocket after it, the leash flew from my hand, catching me totally off guard.  


Joey and I raced after her, but she was going 45 MPH and we were going maybe 8 MPH. She was absolutely nowhere to be seen as we came to the crest of the sloped gravel drive. A giant field, the frontage road on one side of it with Highway 19 just beyond. My mind was taking me to crazy places. I called her name over and over. Almost crying. "Hey Immy, Good Girl Come On! Let's go home!"  I whistled, the same whistle I would whistle to bring Jack home. No luck. She was nowhere to be found. 

Joey and I then ran as fast as we could all the way home to get the car.  Of course dusk was upon us. It was getting so dark already. I left the patio door open in the event she came home of her own accord. I grabbed my flashlight, stopped to post a Lost Dog post on my Facebook Page and the Tubac Barrio and Surrounding Area pages. I tried to post on the local Lost and Found Pet pages but was I a member? No of course not. I was never going to lose a dog. My hands were shaking so badly and between that and Spellchecker I was about insane already.  We took off in the car on the DARK roads of Tubac. Immy is dark! The roads are dark! My mind, still taking me to terrible places. 


We drove back up to the area where we last saw her. I drove all over the schoolyard, the nearby acreage. I climbed into the deep rocky ditches and the water-filled arroyo with my flashlight. Calling her calling her. Meanwhile the huge trucks are bearing down on the nearby highway. 
"Dear God, not the highway."  She is smart but I do believe she would walk right out in front of a car despite my years of trying to teach her otherwise.  


Then the train.  Whoo Whoo!   OMG. The railroad tracks! The train! Just 1/4 mile away on the other side of the village from the highway. I start hyperventilating. Crying. Driving slowly on all the streets of town, crying her name out. I had no whistle left. To the Frontage Road for 1/2 mile. I refused to consider the highway option.  It had claimed enough canine lives since I moved here so I tried to believe that statistically she was safe.  : / 



I was getting more and more upset. Hyperventilating.  Three times I came back to the house to see if she was there, but no Immy.  Each time I got more upset than the last time. A third drive through all the streets of town. I realized how upset I was getting; sick with it really. 

"Stop." I say. "Where's your faith? God's got this." 
God. The angels. Jack. Anyone else? I asked for help from all of them. 

I started to imagine her walking along the side street with her leash dangling behind her, waiting for me to find her walking along, ever so nonchalantly.
A song popped into my head and I started singing. 


🎶"There she was just a walkin down the street singin do wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo..." 🎶
I turned a corner, got nervous again. Those tears, that fear is so persistent! 
But so's the tune. 
"She looked good, looked fine..... "🎶
"God's got this. He knows what he's doing."
The tears, the fears still trying to get through. My imagination, trying to get the best of me.   
".... and I nearly lost my mind."🎶

We're all lost until we're found
Then I remember my pendulum. I had not dowsed in many years.
It was in the console of my car.  I pulled it out.
No, it said, she's not at the highway. No, she's nowhere near the railroad. Not there. No, not there. She was in the village limits. She was within the 9 square blocks of our quiet little village.
She was safe. She wasn't dead or injured.
🎶"..do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..."🎶
Around and around the town I went. Visiting all the nooks and crannies.
Coming back along towards our house, I'm crying again!
OMG what if someone finds her and uses her for dog fight bait!  OMG!
Stop.
"Dear God protect her. If she doesn't ever come home, take care of her. Please."
Crying.
"I promise I'll never use my phone again on our walks if you only bring her back."
Entering the Bargaining Stage of Grief now.
Waah!
Stop.
"Get into your faith Kate. It's life. Whatever happens will happen."
I thought of Jack's excerpt from Book 3, Return from Rainbow Bridge...


Whatever happens there's a reason. I have to trust God with His Plan. 
I have to trust myself that she loves me enough that she would want to come home. 
I have to trust her that she is smart enough to find her way home. After all, we walk these village streets every day. She must know her way around quite well by now. She is a hound dog after all.  

Driving up the gravel road to the school for the fourth time, 
did I see two shining eyes up the road in the headlights?  
🎶"Before I knew it she was walkin' next to me...singing do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do."  🎶
No. It was my imagination.  Maybe a premonition. 
Wait. Look! Is that her standing over there?    
No. It's a downed tree that just happens to look like her.

Hey, a rabbit! It looked like the same rabbit she went after. 
Came out from the same place in the bushes. 🐾
I followed the rabbit.
🎶" Whoa-oh, I knew we was falling in love..."🎶

A left turn down into the nearby neighborhood. Into a vacant side lot. 
Drove my car over the bumps and rocks to search the lot with my headlights. 
Did I see two shining eyes ahead?
  🎶"She looked good. She looked fine. And I nearly lost my mind."🎶

From the Archives
🎶 There she was just as natural as can be. Standing perfectly still. Looking at me.
The rabbit was sitting there watching us the whole time.
Immy seemed confused, scared, not moving. Looked like she didn't recognize me.
This sighthound had to get a close smell of me to know it was me.
She often lets fear get the best of her. (Sounds like someone I know.) 
As I got closer I was able to see her dilemma. She had gotten the handle of her 16' retractable leash caught on a nearby mesquite bush. (so strange, we usually use the retractable on the wilderness trails and the regular leash in town, but for some reason we used the retractable one tonight. Divine Intervention?) Not only that but she had obviously tried to get herself loose and had it wrapped around quite creatively on an upside down tree stump beside her. Knowing how she gets when she is scared, I was not surprised to see the rest of the leash wrapped round all of her legs, like a cat's cradle, so she couldn't move an inch. 
The rabbit just watched. Immy was silent. She never complains about anything. She just endures. 
🎶"Whoa-oh, I knew I was falling in love..."🎶

It took about ten minutes to get her untangled from herself. 
Gosh she must've heard me crying and calling for her all over town, from her tangled web on this dark vacant lot. I wonder what she was thinking. Feeling. 
As soon as she was loose I hugged her and hugged her and hugged her. She is not usually tolerant of much affection but she was hugging me back. 
She was thrilled to get into the car. I wish I had a picture of her and Joey when they reunited at the car window.
But no more pictures when I have a dog on a leash. 

We headed home. 
🎶"...and so I told her all the things I'd been dreamin' of..."🎶

I had to be calm. I had to have faith. I had to stop crying and Be Still.
The stress. The adrenalin! Imagining the worst.
The moment I stopped worrying and put my faith in God and all the rest of us, everything turned around. 



I came home to hundreds of prayers from my frantic posting on Facebook two hours earlier (gosh it was only two hours? It felt like ten!) A very kind and helpful call came in from the local Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department who had received a call from a friend in Connecticut about my lost dog, wondering if they could help. (I was a little nervous, I thought they might have been calling me because I had been driving off-road all over the town screaming "IMMY!" and carrying on). I also received a call from an Animal Communicator friend I had met in Sedona who has expertise in Finding Lost Pets, calling to offer to help me free of charge to locate Immy. And one of my home care patients who is now a Facebook Friend offered to drive down with her husband to help me try to find her. Wow. I am overwhelmed with the care and concern and offers to help us tonight.  

What an adventure. She's exhausted. Joey's exhausted. I'm exhausted. 
But we're happy.  🎶So Happy Together 🎶




When you lose something precious and then get it back, you make sure to fulfill your promises. No more taking photos along our walks. It's going to take some discipline for me, based on my history. 
🎶"Now we're together every single day...
We're so happy and it's how we're gonna stay..."🎶


You do what you have to do and you honor your Promises. 
🎶"..Do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..." 🎶

Night Night Miss Immy.  


Lyrics Do Wah Diddy by Manfred Mann
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry
My apologies ahead of time if this song sticks in your head for the rest of the night too! 

Book 6 : Coming in December



Written in the style of "Only Gone From Your Sight," Book 6 shares material that applies to human beings but includes additional material related to planning and directives, options for end of life care and encouragement and support to help humans with their loss of their human loved ones.   

COMING TO AMAZON AT THE END OF NOVEMBER. 

Friday

Book 4 Now Available in Paperback!


This little book will answer every question you ever asked about the end of life -- and some you haven't thought to ask yet.  Let Jack guide you gently through the decisions, the Stages of Grief and into the Healing that will show you that you have become so much more for the love you have shared. 


Charlie's Story is Unfolding

Once Upon A Time a golden cat was abandoned on the busy highway 
at the edge of a sleepy border town.... 



Note from the Author:  

It's another true story!  Our lives are a little different now since returning from a recent week in New York. While we were away this orange cat took up residence on our porch. He made himself quite at home ...and he has never left. Having already become the local "Resident Cat" here in our neighborhood, life is really quite good for him. Yet he has no home to call his own. He clearly had a loving home at one time, for he is loving, tame, domesticated, clean and smart! Yet he survives within the feral community around us, for the girls come around to see him, neutered and all.  


Will he take up residence with Kate and Joey and Immy?  Will he choose to go with Katsy, who is lonely and wants him desperately to live with her and who gives him all the comforts of home?  Will he adopt himself into the feral community where Tiny, the elderly man next door puts out a Friskies Buffet every day and leaves his door open for 'his' cats to freely come and go? Or perhaps he will choose to stay with Dennis, the loving owner of the park, who waits for Charlie to make his daily rounds and who, with his poodle's approval, allows Charlie to roam freely in and around his house. It was Dennis who arranged for him to be neutered. It was Dennis who started calling him "Ocher" for his color, long after Kate started calling him "Charlie." "Charlie," because not only does he somehow look like her father, Charles, he is the spitting image of Charles's little cat Barney, who fell through the ice at their Canandaigua home many long years ago.  Who IS this golden feline? 


Destiny is at work once more. How it will end? Find out soon, as Jack McAfghan tells the story that is By Design and unfolds in the lives of those in the sleepy little border town in Arizona.  


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We'll keep you posted on progress!