Happy Labor Day Weekend to my friends in the USA. For many, it is a three day weekend that marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, but here in the South high temperatures will endure long in to the fall season and local kids returned to school weeks ago.
I have just returned from New York State to spend time with family followed by a trip to New Hampshire to visit lifelong friends. It is always bittersweet as Rich enjoyed our travels North spending time with friends and family. At one point hiking in Fanconia State Park in New Hampshire I was compelled to look down and saw this “R + L” inscription on a bridge. Wow. Always with us, no doubt.
I did end up catching an earlier flight home to Jacksonville, FL due to Tropical Storm Warnings in our area. Being part of a very large New England-based family, I loved it when the TSA folks said, stand over “They-a” or over “Hee-ah”. Makes me nostalgic and makes me really miss my dad who passed 4 months ago.
When we prepared to land, the plane’s Captain announced we would have to circle the airport in a Holding Pattern due to “weather” and assured us he had plenty of gas. Upon landing an hour later, relieved and safe, I was grateful to be home and although some places have experienced catastrophic events, my community fared well. As someone who personally witnessed the wrath of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey in 2012, I do understand the despair and devastation in the wake of a horrific weather event.
Just six weeks ago I was attending Camp Widow in San Diego. It was such an overwhelming and gratifying experience and I thank all of those who make that event possible four times a year. While there, I had the opportunity to meet some sweet Grief Support dogs and their handlers. When I’d mentioned that to my colleague, Merrie Meyers, the editor of Ruff Drafts, the official newsletter of the Dog Writers Association of America, she asked if I could write an article about my experience for the next issue.
Waiting for my flight, I wrote. It was very satisfying to recall my days in San Diego and especially my visits with those comforting canines and a good distraction from my upcoming flights and the unknown factors of a powerful weather event.
It is good to write again as my emotional energy allows. I sent in that article yesterday and not only was I happy to share about the therapeutic role of dogs in healing of all kinds, but to share Soaring Spirits International and Camp Widow on a broader level, especially with those who’ve found themselves newly widowed. I will reprint that article here after it appears in Ruff Drafts.
Within two weeks after returning from San Diego, I packed up my car on a whim and took Quint for a two hour ride to a town I’d never been where I ended up taking the road less traveled (literally) and making an important and spontaneous decision with only my best friend snuggled in my arms.
Me and Quint were singing…
It was a defining moment on many levels and I promise to share when the time is right for several very good and personal reasons. With my two year Widowed Anniversary looming next month, I am still processing the events of the past two years. But I realize that having a caring, strong and authentic support base, in “real life” and on-line has made all the difference in the world. But at the end of the day, it is important for us to “keep your own counsel” (a quality Rich said I possessed and that he admired), and to take all of your “little” and not so small steps grounded in the knowledge and experience of the life you’ve led, and will continue to lead, with all its twists and turns.
I feel so good, like anything is possible…
Rest in Peace Jimmy Buffett. Rich was a big fan of his music and of course they shared a love of the Florida Keys, which by-the-way goes way beyond Key West. They both enjoyed life on this planet for 76 years…still gone too soon.
Have a good Labor Day Weekend.