When they return to tell you it’s okay …

Some of you may remember that I lost my best friend last year on September 25th. My four-pawed baby lived to be 16. I’m grateful for that.

The grief and sorrow have lessened but I still miss him as much now as the day he died.

With each passing day, the house became larger in its emptiness. Sometimes I would hear Cole sigh or shift positions on his bed. Phantom sounds.

Dogs have been a constant in my life except for, you know, those in-between times.

I came into this world with a dog already in place. Mitzy lived to be 18. In elementary school, a friend gave me Buffy. She was barely an adult when I experienced the horror of her being run over. (But that’s another story. See Righting Disturbing Childhood Incidents in Our Novels here.)

Buffy would not have died if, at the age of ten, I would have known she could have lived with only three legs. I corrected that scenario by adding a three-legged dog in my up-coming novel, Distilling Lies.

Then there was “Bozo Barney Dee,” who I stole from the human society where I volunteered. She became my parents’ dog when I was of age to move out of the house.

Bozo was followed by Jesse, Lizzy and Luther, all who lived long, happy lives.

Lastly, there was my Cole “Pister.”

For the past seven months, my house has been still and quiet. So I began thinking about getting another dog. And felt guilty. Why? Would welcoming another dog in my house be a betrayal to Cole? I decided to ask him.

It had been a long time since I pulled out my pastels, but I did. The paper ready, the photo in place, I was ready for him to appear. And he did.

But here is what’s so divinely relevant. Immediately after I had placed the finished art on the kitchen counter and shown it to my husband, the photo I had used to paint him appeared on our Nixplay screen. Out of over one-hundred random circulating photos, there he was, a wink and a smile of “it’s okay.”

I’ve decided to get a puppy. Her name will be Frankie and I get to pick her up in two weeks from this writing.

Frankie will not replace Cole. But she will fill my house with joy and love and remind me that hearts can, and do, expand to let others in.

Internal Rewards

Each of my paintings is a time marked and stamped with a memory. There are so many canvases stacked in corners of my house and even the worst ones are difficult to part with. Throwing them away is like saying that moment didn’t count. But it did. The process filled me. Now, as I work on my manuscript, I visit them on occasion, blow a little dust off their corners.¬†

Beat your drum slowly

Pastel on paper ©Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

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Does everything change?

Love grows broader or thinner.

Hope blossoms or wains.

Despair peaks or evaporates.

Fear paralyzes or fades.

Does everything change?

No need to hurry.

Even change itself shifts its pace

But nuggets of moments tucked neatly,

a pocket filled of treasures preserved,

remain.

How Fragile the Eggshells?

When I am with you

how fragile are the eggshells beneath my feet?

Will they break with the slightest touch?

A mere cast of any eye?

Should I walk with feet bare

or can my soul and thoughts be bared and shared

without fear of injury

to you

or to me.

Mostly, to you. My back is strong.

Yet, I will not avoid the eggshells.

I will say they are as strong as Ostrich eggs

and stand on them without hesitation

without burden of breakage

with hearts in tact

communication an easy commute

to connection.

CD-W ©