We've Only Just Begun

We've Only Just Begun
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Upcoming Candlelight Vigil Full Moon Celebration

When the moon is full, the magnetic power of the universe is enhanced. Please join me in lighting a candle, tealight, bonfire (anything with a flame) and say a prayer for your Best Friend/s who are on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. There is strength in the moon, and the flame of intention. There is strength in numbers and there is a great power in the expression of Love Itself. Light the flame anytime between midnight July 31 and midnight Aug 1. Sit with it, and sit with your best friend without interruption.

Please join us and invite your best friend to join us too.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Letter to Jack: ANNIVERSARIES OF THE HEART


Dear Jack: 
That first year is the hardest. The first holidays without him, the first time I baked cookies and he was not there to taste test, his first birthday without him... it never stops hurting, but it will ease.  I am coming up on his "gotcha" day in September and I know that day will not be easy to get through, just like all the other 25ths of each month and all the firsts I now have to face. But I keep trying to remember his happiness. He does not miss me, I know. He is pain free and happy and enjoying Eternity in Heaven. One day he knows I will be with him again.  
A Facebook Friend



Dear Friend,
You are correct about so many things. Yes he is happy, free and enjoying Heaven. He does know that you will be together again. Where you are wrong is that he DOES miss you. It's just that us animals don't get hung up on the missing, the worrying, the needing, the Wanting What We Can't Have. We miss you and we simply know that we will meet again when the time is right. We trust the process and we don't worry about it...but the day we see you at the gate? The joy!! Yay! You just need to learn to trust it too!
Thank you for writing today. 
Love,
Jack

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's not just the stars that you can't see; it's me. 

"It's Time You Got Over It. After All, It Was Just a Dog/Cat/Horse/Fish/Lizard/Rabbit/Gerbil/Bird/Pet"



The distress of grief is very real. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't! Just like you need to recover from an illness or a broken bone, there's a recovery period to heal the wounds of grief. Please be patient with yourself. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

LETTER to JACK: You Cannot Lose Each Other


Dear Jack,
Today we are headed several hours away from home for a house inspection on a new home that will be closer to our family and aging parents. I'm conflicted by this move; will Winston follow me? I'm so afraid he won't.
Marion

There are no limitations, Marion. Once we cross the Rainbow we can do anything and everything we want to do and we can be anywhere (and everywhere) all at once. Winston will be with you every step of the way so you need not worry whether he will "find" you. You don't have to find something you never lost. 
Love, 
Jack

LETTER TO JACK: "I Feel Like I Let Her Down"

Thank you to our friends who ask their questions to help all of those who have similar experiences. You think my answers are helpful? Sometimes the questions are as helpful as the answers!  It is your question, but it is the question many others want to ask. 


Dear Jack,
My little girl has been gone three months. We had taken her to the vet and they ran all kinds of tests. I was told she was in good shape for what he called a 'old dog'. But she would not eat or poop... this vet had no compassion. I took her back again and he said "You need to think about putting her down." That was his answer to her problem. She was still so full of energy and my baby, the day after I took her to the vet for the second time, I found her dead in my hallway. When I called him he said, "I guess she made the decision for you." I feel like I let her down. I loved and still do love her so much.


Dear One, 

You did not let her down. You did what you could do. She did not want to be at the vet clinic in her final hours. None of us want to be in a vet clinic, even when we just go for shots! She wanted to be home ...believe it or not, she was in control of her own destiny. 

I can see where you were frustrated with the vet's in/attention, however again, she did not want to go through a bunch of tests and treatments. She was actually very glad that he was not aggressive about it! She knew that her time was coming. I did hospice work with Kate for many years and we learned that no matter how sick or even unconscious someone happens to be, they can have a certain element of control in their final hours and moments, when they can pass naturally. Your girl also did not want you to witness her passing, which is why she did it in the hallway when you were not there. By the time you saw her, she must have been at peace and she gave you this as her final earthly gift.  

I have looked her up here at her new Rainbow Address and I will be sure to keep a special watch over her. Bless you as you continue to heal.  




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ready for a New Kind of Love

AM I GONE FROM YOUR SIGHT?
HAVE I CROSSED OVER THE RAINBOW?
IT'S OKAY TO GET ANOTHER PET IF THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU.
KNOW THAT I AM THE SPIRIT THAT MOVES YOU. 

This is Immy. Kate adopted her in May 2015.

Dear Kate, 
You can't replace me, but you can bring in a new kind of love. You've had her now for almost three months. You see her healing. You feel yourself healing too. It has taken this long for you to trust each other. She no longer runs from you. She comes to you seeking love. You are healed enough now to give her everything and more. But I know. I know that you love me. I still see you cry when you don't think you have everything, but you do. You do have everything. 
Love, 
Jack

You Can Only Heal What You Can Feel

I'm unhappy to see your Stoic grief.
You can only heal what you can feel. 
When you don't express, it is trapped inside
With no way out. 
It turns into anger; it turns into guilt.
Did you love me? For if you did,
YOU ARE NOT GUILTY of ANYTHING.
As I wait for your smile, I want you to cry;
Setting it free brings you closer to me.
Don't you see? Don't you see?
Set it free. Set me free. Set us free.  


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Gift of ONE MORE DAY

How many of us have watched someone we love suffer for too long? They have spent weeks, months, years, declining and then, right after we make the decision to let them go, they surprise us by having a really good day?! It can throw us for a loop.   


One night Grady pee-ed all over our bed.  Our bed was also our "den," and any dog knows you don't dirty your den. This is how sick she was, to not be able to honor that. She was 14.  She had been incontinent(and arthritic and going blind and deaf over the years). Kate said to her that night, "I can't keep doing this." Kate was so tired from cleaning up after her and carrying her everywhere. Nonetheless, she did it for another two years.  It was all because she was waiting for God to call for Grady because she didn't want to have to make The Decision. 

She ultimately contacted the vet and scheduled euthanization for Monday. Sunday night we all slept on the floor with Grady instead of bringing her up onto our bed like we always did. It was the first time in many nights that she didn't get up every hour. She slept the whole night through! She got up in the morning, went outside with me with a wag in her tail! She gave a playful little awkward jump when I teased her... and she ate all of her breakfast! We couldn't believe it. Our hearts were full. 

It would be easy to second-guess whether we were doing the right thing, to move forward with the plans for the day. Maybe if we just slept on the floor with her every night she'd sleep through the night.... maybe this, maybe that, maybe, maybe, maybe...



Fortunately, our experience working with people on hospice reassured Kate. We had seen it over and over again in our therapy work. Many times people linger on their deathbeds; their breath is slowing, their feet are turning blue... and then all of a sudden one day, they rally back! Where they were confused they are now lucid. Those who were lethargic are miraculously alert and clear for the first time in a long time. They give us the impression that they are not dying after all! Oh everyone is so excited! They are clearly turning a corner and they will be well again! Our prayers have indeed been answered! 

Then, in 12 or 24 or more hours, they pass peacefully. It is not this way for everyone, but this has happened often in Kate's thirty years of experience. It matters not the age or the condition or the setting. I think perhaps it is one final chance for the body to have its Swan Song. When we know we can never do something again that we've always done, we always want to do it one more time. Sometimes that's what the final day is for. It gives us a chance to have one more time around before we transform into something else.   


"One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied..." 
(Click Here to listen to the song by Diamond Rio) 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Should I Get Another Pet?

When? When do you think about getting another pet? It took her six months to even start thinking about it. She kept pushing it from her mind, telling herself "It's too soon. It's too soon." It's never too soon; it's never too late. You have your own timeline. You will do it when it's right for you, if it's right for you. There is nothing on earth that could make me happier than knowing that she gave another dog a chance at a beautiful life.

We Never Want for Anything We Don't Already Have

It would never cease to amaze me when she would emerge from the grocery store with bags hanging off her fingers, full of things she bought that she thought we needed. We would be in the car waiting for her. We didn't care what she had in those bags, we only cared about her.  We never asked for anything. We were always so happy with whatever we received and we never looked for anything we didn't already have. How many things do you have that you don't really need? How about clearing them out and making room for more love? 



All We Want is You

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Jack: The Unknowns and the Final Hours

dog, pet, life, death, pomeranian, love, grief, process, loss
Dear Jack,
My little girl died unexpectedly. We still don't know what happened. We came home to find her lifeless body, still warm. We had a funeral for her and decided to cremate her. Here's a photo of her body on the altar and then her ashes in the urn (photos not shown because we don't want to focus on that. She would not want us to). It's been very hard and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and feel that heaviness in my heart... It's been three months and it just doesn't get easier. I still miss her terribly. I look at her photos and think why? My baby. 
Samantha

Dear Samantha, 
It's always hard not to know what happened. It makes us feel really bad when they have passed alone, even though there was no way you could have known. Please don't keep focusing on her final hours. She wants you to remember the good times, there were so many! When you dwell on her death it keeps you stuck and you cannot heal. If you dwell on something, dwell on the life! Dwell on the love. LOVE is what heals you. She is full of love for you still and she is doing very well over the Rainbow. Prayers for your healing. Don't forget: try to focus on the Love. If you focus on the love, it will get easier, I promise, because that is where the power is for both of you. 
Love, Jack 



Monday, July 20, 2015

You Are Only Gone From My Sight

"LIFE IS JUST A DREAM. IT ISN'T REAL. I KNOW THAT YOU CAN'T SEE THAT YET. YOU WANT ME TO WAKE UP BUT IN MY DEATH I DID WAKE UP AND I SAW YOU WERE STILL SLEEPING."  

From Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master 


death, Henry VanDyke, Van Dyke, ship, sail, poem, hospice, dying, sailing, perspective, comfort, faith, world, belief, recovery



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dear Jack: How Do I Know When to Put My Pet to Sleep?


euthanasia, put to sleep, dog, pet, loss, sickness, death, pain, life, rainbow, quality of life, guilt, when

"Tomorrow I'm sending my dog to rainbow bridge. I'm so hurt, confused and guilty. Yesterday morning he could hardly walk. His arthritis is bad. Been on pain killers for years. He also has prostate cancer and a tumor on his adrenal gland...They gave him morphine at the vets. What a heart breaking evening and night. He cried so much. Confused from the morphine. But today he is great. Walking playing eating. He hasn't been this way in days. I know it's because he's not in pain but it'll wear off. Is it worth giving him more morphine and putting him through nights like last night again just to keep him around? I don't know what to do.... He's up every hour crying to go out to pee, difficulty pooing... Oh God I guess I'm looking for someone to say it's time that I'm doing the right thing. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life." 


Dear One: First of all, you can FEEL guilty, but YOU ARE NOT GUILTY. He has struggled for a very long time and weighing his quality of life with his pain and his condition is imperative. Do not hold him to you with your love because the love won't die when he does. You need to look at everything else that is going on. How would you feel if you were him?  

It is such a hard decision but the loving thing to do is let him go. Our Grady suffered for several years with chronic pain and was deaf and blind. We made the appointment to put her to sleep on a Monday, and Sunday night and Monday morning she was better than she had been in many months. We thought of it as a final gift for all of us. Later when it was over, we wished we had done it sooner for her. She was so at peace. You will see and you will know then that you did the right thing. Wishing you strength between here and there. <3 

Love, Jack


Friday, July 17, 2015

Why Can't I Dream of You???

Dear Jack,
I've lost so many dogs that I've loved with all my heart, but I never dream about them and I'd really like to.  
Jenny

Dear Jenny,
Might you be trying too hard?  Be still and ask them to come to you in whatever ways they know best. They may have other doorways. Stay alert to the signs around you and try not to cry because it's hard for them to reach you through your tears.  
Love, Jack

Jack, afghan, dog, pet, love, loss, blonde, obedience, wisdom, Jack McAfghan

Monday, July 13, 2015

We Cannot Be Separated



grief, pet loss, animal, dog, grave, death, faith, afterlife, loyal, love, friend, forever

"...Like the cat who finds her way back home over a thousand miles, like the dog who waits for his master to arrive on the train that never comes, like the one who keeps a vigil at her master’s grave until she too can cross the bridge, some people and their pets are woven together by threads of life and they cannot, and will not, for long be separated." 

~"Jack McAfghan: Reflections on Life with my Master" Chapter 48



The Cure for Separation Anxiety is to be Together Again

We feel as bad about leaving you as you felt about leaving us. When you are this upset, it's kind of easy to forget 
that we'll be together again. 
But we will. I promise.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dear Jack... Heavenly Palaces and the Power of the Horse



Kate also had a dream where my friend the horse brought her to me.  Horse is a symbol of power, strength, freedom, compassion.  When you dream about horse after your loved one has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, it is indicative that you are healing, getting stronger, willing to allow the forces at work in the universe to guide you and carry you.  



Thursday, July 9, 2015

If You Look for Me and Believe in Me, You Will Find Me


She used to like those puzzles for kids where you try to find the things hidden in the picture.  She was really good at finding stuff! She needs only apply now what she learned then, for if she did, she would find me everywhere.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We Love Love LOVE to Hear from You!

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to review "Jack McAfghan".
It's your reviews that keep us going; knowing that what we do makes a difference. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Love: The Most Powerful Force


The beautiful thing about she and me, we never took anything for granted. Dogs never do and humans do sometimes when they have not yet learned that loss is a part of life. Once a human has had to say goodbye to a Best Friend, they learn to appreciate every day they have with their Best Friends to come. 

 We need you to love us. When you love us you are building a foundation of a love that extends beyond eternity. There is a reason love is called a "bond". The power of it can be amazing and it is the love that is the magnet that holds us together. Love. It is stronger than death. It is the strongest force in the Universe. Never ever give up believing that the best is yet to come. Never ever give up on love.