I kid you not

I don’t think I’ve ever told the story of Douglas and Mac, my son and my dog.

Douglas died from cancer on September 22, 1998.

My then-husband, seeing my grief, adopted a dog for me to care for during my recovery.

We named him MacLeod after the Highlander and called him “Mac” and before long, Mac and I were inseperable.

That’s a love story in itself, Mac and I.

We camped together.

When I fell in love with a man, so did Mac.

We trusted the same people.

Loved the same children.

Then one day, while returning from a camping trip at the Yuba River, Mac fell out of the cab of my truck on the freeway and was struck and killed before we could get him off the road.

The date was September 22, 2008.

The 10 year anniversary of my son Douglas’ death.

I’m not making this up.

Furthermore, when I checked the pictures I’d taken of us playing in the river a mere HOURS before the accident that took his life, THIS is the last one I took of Mac:

At the time, I was devastated by his loss.

Now in hindsight, I’ve found some comfort in the circularity of my time with Mac.

He will always be my first amazing dog and an extension of the child I lost.

Just Because

When my son Douglas died, I was devastated.

I searched all over for things to do to comfort myself.

I adopted a rescue dog from the shelter, named him Mac and poured all the love I had for Douglas into that furry baby of mine.

I also donated all my milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank.

I can’t tell you how heartening it was to get Christmas cards from all the families who received my donations.

And I made up little business cards to pass out with random acts of kindness.

Once, I bought breakfast for the couple next to me in the diner and gave them the card that read “This random act of kindness done in loving memory of Douglas.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about random acts of kindness.

Mostly because Burning Man is flush with these kinds of gestures.

Someone following you on their bike for two city blocks to return an item you accidentally dropped on the playa.

Shared chapstick on a hot, dusty day (pre-covid, of course).

And someone stopping what they were doing to help you fix your broken bike.

Little miracles, is what I think of them.

Random acts of kindness and caring.

If you ask me, the world could use a little more care and a little less apathy.

Which is why I’m so excited that my work has launched a site to record random acts of kindness.

I’m reminded of those little business cards I passed out and am thinking I may resurrect them and log a few of my own random acts of kindness.

Just because.

A time for everything under heaven

IMG_4717 22 years ago today, my heart tore in half when my son Douglas died of cancer – a teratoma, not unlike what Gavin had removed about two years ago.

The hospital room was so quiet and it smelled of tears. Tears that fell from my eyes like endless rivers of sorrow.

I thought I’d never stop crying.

I stopped believing in God. Stopped singing.

My ex husband got me a dog, Mac, to get over my grief and having that dog to pour all my love into brought me back to life.

He was a four legged replacement for the son I lost.

Sadly, 12 years ago today (on the 10 year anniversary of Douglas’ death), Mac’s life ended in a freak freeway accident on Highway 80.

So you COULD say that September 22 is my least favorite day of the year.

You could say that but you’d be wrong.

Because instead of spending the day grieving, I spend the day having fun and feeling alive.

Last year was rough because my nephew’s birthday party fell on what would have been Douglas’ 21st birthday and NO ONE REMEMBERED.

This year I’m going to celebrate my nephew’s birthday again.

It’s an opportunity to HONOR my loved ones and CELEBRATE everything that is wonderful and beautiful in my life – like wonderful friends, close knit families, and LOVE.

And I’ll celebrate the lives of the two kids that I have.

So happy September 22nd to all my friends. I hope it’s a happy one for you too.

Nostalgia

As you all know, I’ve been slowly cleaning my room and going through things I haven’t touched since I got divorced in 2005.

I basically threw things in boxes, stacked the boxes on bookshelves and called it a day.

I’ve come across some lovely old photos in the process, two of which I’ll share here:

Me and friends in 7th grade (circa 1986) – believe it or not, I’m still in touch with seven of them!

One even became my sister-in-law!

Me with friends from my first year of college (circa 1992):

I’ll say this, it was a fun year in the dorms at UCSB.

But the one thing I came across which I was not expecting was a book of photos which I put together for my then-boyfriend Jay.

All the pictures were taken in August of 2008 and capture us at what I think was our happiest together.

What a trip down memory lane.

Camping trips with the kids, beach dates with my dog Mac.

You name it, it’s in there.

Especially PDAs.

However, I was especially touched by how much Mac featured in the album.

Page after page chronicling my affection for my sweet, loving, loyal dog Mac.

And just because I still love that dog more than some people I know, I’m gonna post some wonderful photos which make me smile:

A time for everything under heaven

IMG_4717 21 years ago today, my heart tore in half when my son Douglas died of cancer – a teratoma, not unlike what Gavin had removed about a year ago.

The hospital room was so quiet and it smelled of tears. Tears that fell from my eyes like endless rivers of sorrow.

I thought I’d never stop crying.

I stopped believing in God. Stopped singing.

My ex husband got me a dog, Mac, to get over my grief and having that dog to pour all my love into brought me back to life.

He was a four legged replacement for the son I lost.

Sadly, 11 years ago today (on the 10 year anniversary of Douglas’ death), Mac’s life ended in a freak freeway accident on Highway 80.

So you COULD say that September 22 is my least favorite day of the year.

You could say that but you’d be wrong.

Because instead of spending the day grieving, I spend the day having fun and feeling alive.

This year I’m going to be at a birthday party for my 6-year old nephew, celebrating his birthday.

It’s a great opportunity to HONOR my loved ones and CELEBRATE everything that is wonderful and beautiful in my life – like wonderful friends, close knit families, and LOVE.

And I’ll celebrate the lives of the two sons that I have.

So happy September 22nd to all my friends. I hope it’s a happy one for you too.

I need a dog

Pints and Pups was this weekend.

I dragged myself out of bed, picked up Barbara, and headed over to Golden State Brewery in Santa Clara for some snuzzles with doggies and BEER!

It was fun to see old friends and to hang out with Barbara.

Drinking beer.

Barbara, in case you didn’t know it, is my “sister.”

We look so much alike people mistake us for sisters.

I got to check out the rescued dogs brought to the event by Thulani Senior German Shepherd Dog Rescue.

They rescue senior German shepherds that have been abandoned by their owners in their old age.

It’s heartbreaking.

I got the feeling like these dogs were searching the crowd for their person and not finding him or her.

They kept looking off into the distance.

Oblivious of my attempts to garner their attention.

But I loved on the doggies anyway and perhaps even signed myself up to volunteer with Thulani next weekend.

Of course, you MUST know that my favorite breed of dog is German shepherd, on account of I’ve had two and they were THE BEST DOGS.

I miss them terribly.

So I was incredibly pleased when friends took it upon themselves to paint an image of my Wendy girl from a picture I gave them.

It’s stunning!

Warms my poor little heart to see her again, in a painting.

This is actually a picture of Wendy around 3 years old, taken when I was rescuing her from the Tri-Valley Animal Shelter.

She somehow managed to sit long enough for me to snap a photo.

Wendy was never the sort to sit still for any length of time, so I was especially pleased I managed to get that photo of her.

And just like this picture of Mac (below), my first white German shepherd, it has become my quintessential photo of Wendy.

I need a dog.

 

 

A time for everything under heaven

IMG_4717 20 years ago today, my heart tore in half when my son Douglas died of cancer – a teratoma, not unlike what Gavin just had removed.

The hospital room was so quiet and it smelled of tears. Tears that fell from my eyes like endless rivers of sorrow.

I thought I’d never stop crying.

I stopped believing in God. Stopped singing.

My ex husband got me a dog, Mac, to get over my grief and having that dog to pour all my love into brought me back to life.

He was a four legged replacement for the son I lost.

Sadly, 10 years ago today (on the 10 year anniversary of Douglas’ death), Mac’s life ended in a freak freeway accident on Highway 80.

So you COULD say that September 22 is my least favorite day of the year.

You could say that but you’d be wrong.

Because instead of spending the day grieving, I spend the day having fun and feeling alive.

This year I’m going to be at a local birthday party, celebrating my burner friends’ birthdays.

It’s a great opportunity to HONOR my loved ones and CELEBRATE everything that is wonderful and beautiful in my life – like wonderful friends, close knit families, and LOVE.

And I’ll celebrate the lives of the two sons that I have.

So happy September 22nd to all my friends. I hope it’s a happy one for you too.

A time for everything under heaven

IMG_471719 years ago today, my heart tore in half when my son Douglas died of cancer.

The hospital room was so quiet and it smelled of tears. Tears that fell from my eyes like endless rivers of sorrow.

I thought I’d never stop crying.

I stopped believing in God. Stopped singing.

My ex husband got me a dog, Mac, to get over my grief and having that dog to pour all my love into brought me back to life.

He was a four legged replacement for the son I lost.

Sadly, 9 years ago today (on the 10 year anniversary of Douglas’ death), Mac’s life ended in a freak freeway accident on Highway 80.

So you COULD say that September 22 is my least favorite day of the year.

You could say that but you’d be wrong.

Because instead of spending the day grieving, I spend the day having fun and feeling alive.

This year I’m going to be at the wedding of two good friends as they exchange their vows in Yosemite.

It’s a great opportunity to HONOR my loved ones and CELEBRATE everything that is wonderful and beautiful in my life – like wonderful friends, close knit families, and LOVE.

And I’ll celebrate the lives of the two sons that I have.

So happy September 22nd, to all my friends. I hope it’s a happy one for you too.

RIP Wendy

Well, it’s taken me a week to get to the point where I feel ready to blog about it.

My dog Wendy was put to sleep last Friday, May 19th.

I adopted her from the Tri Valley Animal Shelter when she was three years old and she was a TOTAL MESS OF A DOG.

She was crate trained but nothing else.

She was so wild that trainers advised me not to leave my two young boys alone with her.

I didn’t know what I was getting in to. All I knew was that I’d lost my precious Mac a few weeks earlier in a deadly car accident on Highway 80 and I needed to bring a new dog into my life.

Of course, Wendy looked JUST LIKE MAC.

I spent $25 buying Wendy from the shelter and $5000 training her.

The trainers at Cooperhaus Kennels worked wonders with her, to the point that I could recall her with just the sound of my voice.

Over the years, she mellowed but she still maintained a little wild streak.

She never learned how to kiss until the very end, she always wanted to nibble.

Her favorite game was keep away, she never learned to fetch.

On a hot, sunny day in California, Wendy was laid to rest surrounded by her loved ones.

Birds chirped overhead and you could practically see the smile on Wendy’s face as she soaked in all the attention she was getting.

She was so enthralled with all the love bestowed on her, she refused to go to sleep after the vet gave her the sedative.

After waiting patiently for 10 minutes, the vet gave Wendy another shot to make her fall asleep.

Wendy got 10 extra minutes of love due to her stubbornness and her enjoyment of all the attention she was getting.

With two shots of sedative in her Wendy fell fast asleep.

And then the last shot was administered which stopped her fierce, beating heart.

Losing Wendy was difficult.

My dogs have always been an extension of the son I lost to cancer in 1998.

Their presence in my life symbolizes hope, unconditional love, and the bond between a parent and a “child.”

I have been blessed as Wendy’s caretaker, to have been given nearly 9 years with this AMAZING dog and I will hold onto all the precious memories I have of her.

I love you Wendy.

 

Mac

Some of you know the story of Mac, the incredible white German shepherd my ex-husband rescued for me when we lost our oldest son to cancer.

That dog brought me back to life and saved me when I was at my lowest, deepest point of suffering.

Mac died when he fell out my truck window onto Highway 80 when the boys and I were coming home from a camping trip.

I remember watching him fall in my rearview mirror and also seeing my 60 pound, 7 year old son desperately trying to hold on to him.

I thought that perhaps my son was falling out the window too.

You can’t imagine the horror I experienced.

My son stayed safely in the car but sadly, Mac was killed while getting off the freeway (10 years to the day after my oldest son died).

We’d just finished up a LOVELY vacation at the Yuba River with my Uncle Donald, Aunt Stacey, and my cousins Jennifer, Travis, Bella, Matt, and Nick.

It was amazing.

Today, I was reminded that when it was my turn to swing on the rope and fall 8 feet into the water, I was chicken.

I didn’t want to jump.

And Mac stood by my side and waited with me while I worked up the courage. . .

And JUMPED!

And only after I jumped did he follow suit and jump in with me.

He was an amazing dog.

And I feel lucky that I somehow managed to take this picture of him THE VERY MORNING OF THE DAY HE DIED.

The last picture I ever took of him.

And I’d like to think that in the afterlife, he is playing in the water, in the sun, surrounded by family.

I love you Mac.  You are not forgotten!

Save