We've Only Just Begun

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


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!


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!
"Dear God protect her. If she doesn't ever come home, take care of her. Please."
"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.
"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.   



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.  

Subscribe to updates at www.katemcgahan.com
We'll keep you posted on progress! 

"Only Gone From Your Sight" - #1 New Release on Amazon

Only Gone From Your Sight:
Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss & Grief
by Kate McGahan



It was hard for friends to know how to comfort her. After all, I had been like her child, her boyfriend, her husband and her best friend all wrapped up in one furry package. Pets can become like family members especially for those who do not have a family of their own.
You might find it difficult to open up your heart and talk with most people because you fear they might think you crazy for loving me more than you’ve loved any human. All too many who deeply grieve the loss of a pet have been ‘reassured’ by a statement from a well-meaning friend, “It’s just a dog/ cat/ horse/ hamster/ rabbit/ parakeet... You can get another one.” Forgive them for they know not what they do or what they say.
   Even other animal owners might not understand. Some people who own pets are only master, not friend, and they miss out on the best parts of the human-animal bond. If only they could see that we are there to teach them and to give them the love that has otherwise been missing in their lives. The love most humans do not know how to give…or receive. These are the people who might laugh or sneer at you now when you call me your soulmate because they never have heard of such a thing. They think that all soulmates are romantic relationships between two people, not loving relationships between two beings, two friends, two soul travelers such as us. Pity them for what they do not know. Pity them that they cannot treat anyone else better than they treat themselves. Pity them for the love they’ve never had or recognized.
Love is chemistry beyond our control. When true love comes into your life it can transform you in the most extraordinary ways and change everything you ever believed in. You are never sure where true love is going to come from and it can be quite a surprise when it comes from your pet.
While it may sound strange that someone can grieve more deeply for a pet than for a human, there is a certain undeniable depth that comes from sharing a life of unconditional love. It doesn’t matter how many legs I have or how many you have, it’s a soul connection. No matter how we found each other, no matter how long we have been together, it is a relationship like no other. I have given you the kind of love that takes humans a lifetime to learn, if they ever learn. I know the power of love and I want to give it to you. It is the most powerful force in the universe. I came into this world to give true love to you and to draw true love out of you. How many people in your life do that?
Of course people do the best they can, giving and receiving their imperfect human love. There are a few special people on earth who are very old souls and they are capable of loving at a very deep level. They give the highest form of love; love that is divinely pure, honest and unconditional. It holds the loved one more precious than oneself. It sacrifices without complaint, without resentment, without keeping score. It gives and gives and expects nothing in return. It’s the same kind of love that I have given to you. I came into the world to love and be loved and I chose you. Love is why I came here. You are the reason I came. My love has become a part of you but you don’t seem to understand that yet. When I am gone you don’t seem to know who you are without me. You don’t know your identity without me. I will teach you. I will teach you through life and I will teach you through death. I will teach you that love never dies.
When you love from the depths of the soul in your heart, you are never apart from the one you love no matter how far away you seem to be. Even when I am gone from your sight, I am never gone from your heart. We live in the heart of one another for eternity, beyond the reaches of this world. The love runs deep. That's why it hurts so much for so long when we have to say “goodbye”. That’s also why you will get through this. Our love runs so deep that nothing can touch it, no, not even death. Our love will win. It always does when it is true.

I tried to comfort her. I spoke in a voice she could not hear. her grief and sadness drowned me out. I wanted to tell her what I have always known. That life is but a dream leading to love. Love, more powerful than her fear could ever be. Love cannot be destroyed. It grows and grows until it is stronger than death. 

Soulmates change all the rules in the game of life. We have been brought together, you and me, by a common destiny. We have known each other before and we will know each other again. I will continue to transform you from beyond the grave and help you to see that love is more valuable and powerful than anything else.
There will be others who will not understand this kind of love. They will raise their eyebrows as they stand in judgment of you and comment how silly it is that you loved me this much. Don’t worry about them. I feel sorry for them. They obviously have never encountered a soulmate of their own or they would know better. They would know that traditional rules do not apply when a match is made in Heaven. Once you know this kind of love you will never question love again. You’ll know it when you see it. You’ll know it when you feel it. You will never be confused by something that is something else.


Keep Going! Click HERE to preview the first 5 chapters and/or order the book, 
available on Kindle and in Paperback! 


The Rainbow Bridge Poem

It is the most popular request I receive. To publish the original poem that comforts the soul.... This is one of the greatest poems about the afterlife of pets, yet no one knows who the author was who wrote it so long ago. 
Thank you to the one who wrote it, who continues to inspire so many of us to this day. Love never dies. The power of the words of this unknown author will never die either. 

 "Love is all there is and love never dies. Love is energy and energy does not die; it cannot die. Einstein would tell you that it is a proven scientific fact. If it’s energy, it must live, although sometimes it changes form. Love does not sleep. I am not dead. I am awake."  Reflections on Life with my Master, Chapter 67


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.  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. 

Dear Samantha, 

It's always hard not to know what happened. It makes you feel really bad when they have passed alone, even though there was no way you could have known. Truly, however, we are never alone. We are surrounded by love as we prepare for the journey. 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 Bridge. Prayers for your healing. 

Don't forget: Try to focus on the Love not the loss. If you focus on the love and read our books and join our group it will get easier, I promise. Love. It's where the power is for both of you. It's what keeps you connected to each other from lifetime to lifetime.  



Review of "Reflections on Life with my Master: A Dog's Memoir on Life After Death"

Jack brings you into his world - a world of wonder and thoughtful consideration infused with unconditional love. Observe the world through Jack's eyes and find yourself transformed and connected in a new way to those you love. You will discover that we all should give careful thought to how we interpret the actions of others, question what is happening, and understand that our Master has things in mind for us that we cannot even dream of yet.

Oh, and bring tissues. You will cry. You will feel the deep, soulful ache at the loss of a great friend. You will weep at the recognition of beautiful, simple truths and the bitter-sweet release of letting go. And, in the end, you will shed joyful tears at love found again and remembered. Discover and cherish the sparkling jewels along the way. And in the end there is love, as it was all along.
Let Jack be your companion on a healing journey through loss and grief. You will not regret it.

~Sandra MacEachern, Verified Amazon Canada Customer
Find Jack's Books and more Reviews by clicking HERE.

Click HERE for a Free Preview!  


Do You Love Me Enough to do This?

(reprinted with permission from Kate's Blog ...because it applies to all kinds of love) 

Letting Go doesn't mean you don't love them anymore. Letting Go doesn't mean you won't miss them anymore. You can never cut the ties that bind two souls together who truly love each other. What you DO need to cut is the Leash of Grief and Guilt that binds them to you and prevents them from doing what is best for them.

As They say, set something free and if it was yours to begin with, it will come back. It's natural law, in Heaven and on Earth and in all the spaces in between life and death and life. Your loved ones cannot come back from a place they have not yet arrived. 

If you are looking for Signs and not finding them, take a look at what you are doing. If your best friend is still on the leash of your grief, your best friend is not yet free to be everything he or she can be. 

Letting Go is the most important thing you can do for both of you. It is the ultimate act of faith... and you will be rewarded for it. 

Breathe. Then Let Go. It's time.
You say you love. Do you love them enough to let them go? 
Do you trust them enough to have the faith that they will never leave?  

"'Do not cling to me,' said Jesus, 'for I have not yet ascended to the Father.'"
John 20:17
(Jesus to Mary Magdalene) 


Special Sale for our Readers! Just $5.99 for a Limited Time!

We are re-releasing our original book, "Reflections on Life with my Master: A Dog's Memoir on Life After Death" with a new cover and updated Afterword information inside! We have reduced the price from $14.99 to just $5.99 during the re-launch period so that our readers can get an updated copy or buy extras for those who may be grieving. 

For less than the cost of a nice greeting card, you can give a great book that will heal the grief in a matter of hours. Jack is the best four-legged counselor in the universe, and he can do it in ways no one else can.  
Find us on Amazon Worldwide. 
Also available on Kindle and in Large Print.  


Unleash Me Let Me Go. It's Part of Our Healing. Yours & Mine.

Q: Dear Jack. You talk about letting them go. Not binding them to you with the grief. How do you know when you have cut the leash so that they can run free and have fun? 
A: When you are no longer clinging to them.

Q: How do you know when you are no longer clinging to them?
A: You are no longer clinging to them when you no longer have pain over them. When you no longer allow yourself to suffer. When you have peace and you can smile when you think of them. When you have accepted that they are now living in another dimension, but living nonetheless. You can still miss them, you can still have tender tears, but it's the pain and suffering about it that must be severed from your being. The pain and the suffering weave together to create the leash that binds.