Coincidence or Not?

It was at 3:45 am exactly six months ago today – even the number day of the month fell on the same day of the week – that I received the call from the attending physician at the hospital saying Sam (my hubby) had passed in his sleep twelve minutes earlier.

Is it a coincidence that today is also Good Friday, a holy day in the Christian Church? Our savior was crucified, died, and was buried. Sam wasn’t crucified, but he did die on that morning exactly six months ago. And he’s been my chief guardian angel ever since, with help from our six furry angels.

I’m not looking for any sympathy. I’m just expressing my thoughts. I’m adjusting fairly well all things considered. I’ve been missing the man I married for quite some time due to his dementia; but his physical absence has been hard on me at times. If I hadn’t had Zen – and added Zoey a month after Sam’s passing – I’d have had to go into therapy for certain; but these two have been the best therapists I could ask for. I’ve been able to accept that his passing was the best thing for Sam. He no longer has to fight his dementia demons. He is healthy, and blissfully free of the demons.

So, on this Good Friday, 2023, I will continue loving and missing the man I married. And I will share with you one of my favorite photos of Sam. It was taken on his birthday last year. It’s one of my favorites because he was wearing a big smile; because he was himself most of that day – unencumbered by his dementia demons.

Sam’s 72nd Birthday, 2-9-2022

I will always be thankful for Sam, for his presence in my life. We had more good times over our years together than I can count. And the rough times were smoothed out by the unconditional love we shared, will always share. We were – and always will be – each other’s soulmate.

HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY ZEN!!! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

Today my big boy is one year old!! My leprechaun, my personal pot ‘o’ gold was born on St. Patrick’s Day 2022. My sunshine, the light of my life, was born in the midst of what turned out to be the worst year of my life. And he remains my sunshine boy.

Zen’s in there somewhere.

Zen’s mama, Sunny, is also celebrating her birthday today! She is a sweet girl! What a present to give yourself on your birthday! Nine beautiful, healthy puppies! She is a wonderful mother to her puppies!

Zen’s Daddy, Tater
Sam with Zen when Zen was about 4 weeks old
At 4 Weeks Old He Was Already My Boy ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ€

Zen was my little Smudge Muzzle at 4 weeks; and he still has a bit of the smudge around that precious muzzle.

We brought him home on May 14th, when he was just past eight weeks old. I chose the 14th because I needed a happy event to balance the awful monthly anniversary of Bogie’s accident.

Zen’s Going Home Day

Zen spent a great deal of time of the first five months of his life at his Grandpa’s house with his mama Sunny, Aunt Bailey, and cousins Stormy, Charlie, and Skye because of Sam’s dementia. It broke my heart to not have him here with me; but Sam’s dementia demons were taking over more frequently and making poor Zen very nervous. It was better for the poor little guy to be in a stable environment. Two weeks after Sam went into the hospital last July my sweet little Zen puppy came home. He’s been with me ever since, healing my broken heart one day at a time.

I can’t believe how fast and BIG he’s grown over the past year! When Sam and I first brought him home he weighed about 12 pounds. Just ten days ago, when I had to get a weight check for his heartworm preventive, he weighed in at 81.5 pounds!! And it’s all muscle!! This boy is strong!!

Taking a short play break a few days ago

This boy is such a love! He gives me hugs that are as much from Sam as from himself; he gives me kisses “just because” and when my memories are leaking from my eyes; and he adores his little sister, Zoey (who will be six months old tomorrow).

๐Ÿ˜‡ My angels disguised as puppies ๐Ÿถ

Happy First Birthday my Smudge Muzzle/Leprechaun/Sunshine Boy!! Mama loves you more than I could ever put into words!! I hope I will always be deserving of your unconditional love!! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽˆโ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿฆด๐Ÿฆด๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‰

We Took A Little Break

A few weeks ago I had to have the air duct system under the house replaced. The old one was originally installed, I think, around 1988 or 89 after Sam moved in. (Before we knew each other.)

The air quality inside the house was, well let’s just say, poor. And the dust just. would. not. go away. I’d dust one room; and before I even moved on to the next room, the dust would be right back where it had been. It was frustrating to say the least.

So along with having the system replaced, I bought some air purifiers from Amazon and have had them running at various speeds all day long every day. I could tell the difference almost immediately.

I also did a “spring cleaning” of sorts of the main part of the house. Being the only human in the house, I could only reach so far even standing on the step stool or laying on the floor with the dust mop; but I got about 95% of the dust. I let my little robot vacuum do the rest of the reachable areas.

I still have to do the big room downstairs, but that’s going to take a week at least. First I have to get rid of some most of the clutter that’s accumulated over the 28 years since we closed in the carport and made it into my office and laundry area. That job alone could easily take a week, especially since I still can’t bring myself to part with some dog toys, clothes, collars, etc. from as far back as Kissy. (For those of you who don’t know, Kissy was my own first dog as an adult. She was a small miniature poodle who came with me when I moved down here in 1993 – from Long Island, NY – to marry Sam.)

So, with all the cleaning I had to do, I had to take a break so I could give Zen and Zoey some quality time. I’ll take another break while I’m (finally) doing the room downstairs. But Zen, Zoey, and I will return! And I’ll probably be posting pix and videos on Facebook of my two hooligans.

The pups’ monthly Gotcha Day is coming up in less than two weeks; and Zen’s first yearly birthday is two weeks from today so you know I’ll be doing a post for that! And Zoey will have her first half-year birthday the very next day. ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

Playtime in the yard.

Thankful for So Much

To start with, I’m thankful that Heavenly Birthdays Week is over. And that Ducky’s first year in Heaven is complete as of last night. It was a rough nine days, but I got through it intact.

Sanctuary Flowers 2/12/2023

Those are the flowers I had put in the sanctuary of our church on Sunday morning in honor of my three newest guardian angels on their birthdays.

I’m thankful, too, for my earth angels, Zen and Zoey. Thankful that they love me unconditionally, and that they love each other too.

My Snuggle Buddies

I’m thankful for all my friends in the pet blogosphere who have “been there” for me over the years and with whom I’ve shared the joys and sorrows of pet parenthood. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

And I’m thankful for my genetic family, my church family, my Golden (Retriever) family, my family of friends and neighbors, the roof over my and my pups’ heads, food on my table and in my pups’ bowls, and so much more that I can’t enumerate.

Happy Heavenly Birthday Sweet Ducky

โค๏ธ๐Ÿพ My Sweet Ducky ๐Ÿพโค๏ธ

My sweet, loving, sassy soulmate. You would be starting your 11th year on earth today if you were still here physically. Instead, you’ll be starting your second year as a winged furry angel on Wednesday night.

I know you’re always nearby, even if I can’t see you. You borrow Zoey’s earthly form to visit me. Quite often. I call Zoey by your name. A LOT.

I miss your physical presence, baby girl. I miss your sweet puppy kisses. I miss seeing that sweet smile, and loving gaze, that you reserved just for me. And I will until we are reunited.

Ducky, you and I will always have that special heart-and-soul connection. It transcends time and space. It keeps our spirits connected even though our physical selves are separated. All those years we spent working and playing together, trying to relieve your anxieties around strange, unfamiliar people, were the cement that strengthened our bond from one day to the next; from one year to the next.

I was devastated when you left your earthly form behind that night. My baby girl was “gone” in an instant. I hadn’t been able to tell you one last time how very much I love you. Or how very sorry I was for not being able to protect you well enough from Daddy’s dementia demons. I hadn’t been able to hold you lovingly as you left your body behind. It took a long time, and the help of a pet-loss psychologist, to forgive myself for all the times I felt I had failed you or disappointed you. Just writing this is bringing on the tears again. Zen keeps coming over to check on me. Zoey is here on the couch, curled up next to me, like Bogie used to do in the mornings.

Wednesday night will be a year since you joined your sisters and brothers in Heaven. I won’t ever “get over” losing your physical presence, your special smile, your sweet puppy kisses. But Zen and Zoey have been healing and expanding my shattered heart with their own ways of loving me. And I know you’ve been right here with us, helping us.

I will always love you, Ducky. And I know you will always love me, and be here with me. โค๏ธ๐Ÿพโค๏ธ๐Ÿพ. We will meet again, my sweet girl. Zen and Zoey send you puppy kisses. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฆฎ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿฆฎ๐Ÿ˜˜

Three Heavenly Birthdays

My three most recently departed loves have heavenly birthdays coming up this month. I will miss them all until the day we are reunited. And I’m sure many more memories will leak from my eyes between now and then; but this is a celebratory post, not a sad one.

In birthdate order, Bogie will be 2 years old on February 6th; Sam will be 73 on February 9th; and Ducky will be 11 years old on February 13th.

Sweet Bogie, our angel disguised as a dog

This boy’s time on earth was cut short through a tragic accident that took him from us. ๐Ÿ’” BUT during his time on earth, he filled our lives with so much joy, love, and laughter that we felt his loss perhaps more acutely than we might have otherwise. This boy was truly an angel on earth disguised as a dog. ๐Ÿ’™ He knew instinctively, even at such a young age, exactly when his (human) daddy needed him; and went to him without hesitation to give love and be loved upon. And in the mornings, while Ducky slept in my chair, Bogie snuggled with me on the couch. Most of the rest of his day was spent playing with the older sister he adored and who adored him in return.

Sam, the love of my life, my human soulmate

This photo was taken last year, at our favorite restaurant, Schwaben House, where we had his birthday lunch. It was a happy day for us both, as his dementia demons were leaving him alone. It is my favorite of more then-recent photos of the man I’d married 28 years earlier. He was more himself that day than he had been in many previous days. โค๏ธ More himself than he would ever be again after that day. I will always gratefully remember the way he was that day.

Ducky, my sweet, sassy soulmate, my heart dog.

Ducky came into my life while I was taking a course to become a dog obedience training instructor. I was in the externship stage; and I was volunteering at the animal shelter, with the mission of helping the dogs become more adoptable. Ducky was the second of my charges. (The first, a pittie mix named Honey, was adopted a few days earlier.) Sweet Ducky stole my heart the instant I first saw her in her puppy-room kennel. And the rest of her story is now history. She wrapped my heart around her little paw and decided that – one way or the other – I was going to be her new mama. A few months later, she got her wish. We spent the next nine plus years working and playing together to ease her reactivity. And her older sisters taught her how to be a family dog instead of a kennel-bound shelter dog. Our bond grew into a soul connection that has transcended time and space. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

So, on this Thankful Thursday, I wish my three loves a happy birth month. I am so thankful you were each a big part of my life. I miss your physical presence; but I know you are with me always.

A Bittersweet Weekend

Today – Saturday, January 14th – is the first “anniversary” of Bogie’s horrific, tragic, traumatic accident. A year has passed since my precious baby boy was taken from me, his daddy, his sister, and his uncle. The first of three traumatic losses in one year.

I spent some time yesterday morning reading my blog posts about Bogie – first to last – especially his trainer’s tribute, and tears rolled down my face. I will forever grieve for my precious baby boy. That grief, like the ocean, ebbs and flows with the tides.

Tomorrow – Sunday the 15th – will be 11 months since my beloved Ducky’s heart gave out on her after being shattered the month before by our loss of Bogie, and after many years of helping me deal with the stress of her beloved daddy’s dementia demons. As with Bogie, I will forever grieve for my precious little soulmate.

My precious angel babies

The “sweet” part of the “bittersweet,” though, is that today, Saturday the 14th, is also the Z Kids’ Gotcha Day. Zen came home to live with Sam and me on May 14th, so this is his 8-Month Gotcha Day. Zoey came home to live with Zen and me on November 14th, so this is her 2-Month Gotcha Day.

Zen has been my ray of sunshine, the bright spot in my life, since before he was even born (on St. Patrick’s Day) last year. Just knowing I was going to have another puppy in my life last year cheered me up most of the innumerable times that the grief over first Bogie and then Ducky overwhelmed me.

Once Zen came home after Sam had been hospitalized, he was often my reason for getting up in the morning. He became my best friend, my peaceful moments, my constant companion, my protector, my everything. And when I got the doctor’s unexpected yet somewhat relieving call that early October morning, Zen was my comforting, calming, peaceful zen puppy. He lived up to his name that morning as I cried into his fur. ๐Ÿ˜

When Ducky became a winged angel, I knew I had to have two pups in my life again – the boy who was due in another month and another female. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, especially if I had to deal with the dementia demons at the same time; but I was determined to have two puppies so the first one wouldn’t be lonely when we couldn’t have him with us away from home. So, once again, my sweet baby girl came through for me when Zoey was born.

As Zen is my ray of sunshine, so Zoey is the starlight in my eyes. Zoey is sweet and sassy, like Ducky was. She is my baby girl, and I am her person. And, like Ducky adored Bogie, Zoey adores Zen. Likewise, as Bogie adored Ducky, so Zen adores Zoey. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

My babies at play ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

This post is a “bit” long-winded. I apologize for that. I’m grateful for those of you who have read it to the end. I hope everyone has a great weekend! โค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

A Lot of Firsts this Christmas

Zen and Zoey enjoyed their first Christmas, it would appear. Santa brought them new toys and treats; and l gave them a scrambled egg with their breakfast.

They play so well together! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

And since Zoey’s been doing so much better with her “potty” training these last few weeks, I let her play on the carpeted living room floor with Zen most of the day.

Vying for the same toy. ๐Ÿคฃ

These two had us – my brother and me – laughing most of the day. And there weren’t any accidents on the carpet at all. (Though there were two on the linoleum kitchen floor that I blame myself for.)

On my first Christmas without him, I thought of Sam often throughout the day – missing his physical presence and wishing I could hear his laughter and see his smile as the puppies played with their toys. – I came close to tears a few times, but mostly just felt the hole in my space that Sam’s presence filled for most of the last 30 years. I know he was here in spirit, as were all our furry angels. It was that knowing they were here with us in spirit that mostly kept the tears away.

And on my first Christmas without sweet Ducky and darling Bogie, I called Zoey “Ducky” several times because of the stark similarities in their sweet natures. And once or twice I called Zen “Bogie” just because it came out of my mouth first. LOL. A fleeting thought of dear Bogie’s awful death brought tears to my eyes, but they dried quickly when I thought of how loving, sweet, and intuitive he was throughout his much-too-short life.

Sometime last night, as I was checking Facebook, I found this memory of Ducky from what should have been Radar’s first Christmas with us. I felt myself choke up a little remembering that sweet boy’s battle with heart worm disease in 2019. But at least he went ahead knowing he had a family who loved him dearly and would miss his love and presence in their life.

So, all in all, my first Christmas without my two cherished soulmates was a good one. Bittersweet memories of Christmases past mixed with new memories to treasure from Christmas present. Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of Christmas future didn’t visit me in my dreams so I have no idea what’s in store for me. And I’m not going to dwell on or worry about it.

So, in ending this post, I hope that all my family and friends had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. May we ALL look forward to a happy and fulfilling new year.

Happy Anniversary Sam

Today is our 29th Wedding Anniversary. Right now we should be enjoying our morning hug and first cup of coffee. We ought to be enjoying it together. We ought to be looking forward to celebrating with our dinner at Schwaben House later on, sharing our joy with Annette and Giorgio and the staff as we have for the last several years.

I miss you so much! I hear our favorite songs and they start the tears flowing. Or I go into Publix and avoid the ice cream shelves in the frozen food section – especially the Haagen Dasz bars that we always enjoyed together.

I never used to mind living without another human, as long as I had a canine companion. Now, after all our years together, I feel so empty and alone at times. Zen and Zoey are so sweet, and such good company … they make me smile and laugh and at times yell in frustration … but they’re not you. While you were in the hospital I could at least cling to the hope that a miracle would make you whole again and able to come home.

Sam, I know you’re up there in Heaven watching over me. You’re my Guardian Angel now; and along with Callie, Shadow, Ducky, Radar, and Bogie, you’re also watching over Zen and Zoey for me. I try to be my old cheerful, optimistic, sometimes silly self because I know that’s what you would want to see me being. Out in public I usually am. Here at home is another story.

I love you, Sam. I always have loved you. Our little squabbles and arguments were just that because we were soulmates from the start. Our connection goes much deeper than just our hearts. It joins our souls, and even though you’re not here physically, I know your spirit is here with me. I just miss our physical togetherness, our “us”, being able to feel your hand in mine or your arms around my waist. I know you whisper in Zen’s ear sometimes because he’ll stand on his hind legs and put his front legs against my chest and paws on my shoulders and give me a hug and a slobbery kiss. Don’t ever stop, please. I need those Zen hugs!

Zen Hugs

Happy Anniversary Sam! Have I Told You Lately that I love you, that there’s no one else above you? That was our wedding song and it will always be our song. I will miss you forever and always, until we meet again.

Missing My (Human) Soulmate

It is with very deep sadness that I must tell you my beloved husband, Sam, passed peacefully in his sleep early Friday morning, October 7th. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ข.

Remembering Sam’s better days.

Most – if not all – of my long time readers know (but may not remember) that Sam was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in June of 2018. Back then it was still mild enough that Sam could enjoy a sense of independence. As the years passed, however, his cognitive abilities became so impaired that the doctors insisted he not be allowed to drive any more. That loss of independence really bothered him. Then Bogie had his traumatic accident, and a month later we lost Ducky to the sudden heart failure. The two losses coming so close together devastated us both and really started Sam’s downward spiral.

Before the dementia took control of Sam’s mind, we had a soul-to-soul connection, an affinity with each other that carried us through many trivial arguments over this or that. And it helped me separate the Sam I love from the dementia-induced alter ego who angered me, disappointed me, and hurt my feelings so often.

The real Sam was a kind-hearted, loving, friendly soul who never met a stranger. The real Sam loved his family – including each one of our many fur babies – with his whole heart, and we all love him. Now Sam and the fur kids (except Zen obviously) are all together again. Sam is no longer being chased relentlessly by his dementia demons; and all the earthly anxieties that plagued Ducky when Sam’s demons were lurking about are gone. So now they can all relax and enjoy each other’s company while they wait for Zen and me to join them.

I miss the real Sam. I know his spirit is with me, but I miss his physical presence. I miss our morning hugs, sitting in his lap with my head against his shoulder when I was sad, our walks around the back yard. I miss our day trips to the mountains with the pups. I miss his smile, his laugh, his hand reaching for mine. I miss watching him interact with the dogs. And I will miss him and each of them until it’s my turn to join them.

Grief is the price we pay for love. I know the pain of this loss will ebb and flow. I’m prepared for that. So I’ll close this post with a simple requestโ€ฆprayers for anyone and everyone impacted in some way by dementia. It is a horribly cruel disease, worse than cancer in my opinion.

I don’t have the obituary quite ready yet; but I can tell you that we will have a simple memorial service for Sam at our church a week from Saturday. For anyone who wants more details, just send me a message or email.