Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reflections on love, loss, and lessons learned...

I came across this photo today... a bittersweet reminder of how quickly things can change...

(click any photos to enlarge)

This photo was taken on a warm September day several years ago. Life was good... the sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing in through the open window, the house was clean (heck, there were even fresh flowers in the vase, and that doesn't happen often in this house!)... But most of all, these three sweet fur babies were still with us. I love this photo of the three of them together... Little Ms. Giz on the sofa, my Mr. B curled up in the wing chair, and our handsome gentleman, Mr. Malley, in the foreground. I never imagined when I snapped this photo that we would lose all three of them within six months of each other...

(The "please give me a bellyrub" pose)
Our handsome Mr. O'Malley was the first to leave us in September of 2007.

(The "is there anything better than sunning oneself?" pose)
Three months later, in December of 2007, my handsome Mr. B left us...

(The "Mommy, will I ever grow into my ears?" pose)
And three months after that, in March of 2008, we lost our precious Ms. Gizmo...

I know that most of you who read this blog are animal lovers, just like me... I know that each of you have most likely experienced the tremendous heartache that accompanies the loss of a pet... And like me, I'm sure that the incredible bond of love between human and fur baby, and the incredible joy they brought to our homes and our lives is what sustains us during that loss... Countless tears were shed by our family over the loss of each of these beautiful creatures. We speak of them often and miss them terribly. But they gave us so much during their time with us.

And they taught us so much throughout their short time here on earth.

Animals truly enjoy life in the here and now - they don't fret about the past or worry about the future - they enjoy the present, and the gift that it truly is. They don't complain or grumble. They'd love nothing more than to spend 24-7 with their humans, but even when that's not always possible, they're still so grateful for even the quick pat on the head or the small treat tossed their way because they appreciate every gesture, big or small...

I want to be a better person this year - less complaining, more grateful and appreciative. I want to be more like my wonderful friends pictured above..



Joanne Kennedy said...

Darn you Donna! Now I'm crying like a baby!

Those are such wonderful pictures. I can't even think about having to say good bye to my two boys without crying.

I never have gotten over losing my cat three years ago. I still think of her daily! I even had a dream about her last night.

I'm so sorry you had to lose them all and so close to each other.

But, you are so right...humans should all learn a lesson or two from our pets.


Amber said...

Wow, I am so sorry!! That very same thing happened to us a few years ago. We lost three dogs within a few months of eachother. Then a couple years ago, we lost two cats within a few weeks of one another {but we suspect coyotes with them}. It is very sad, and I am so sorry for your loss!!

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I can't imagine losing three precious pets in such a short time! It is clear that they were well loved during the time that they were with you!

Just wanted to let you know that I FINALLY posted about the giveaway that I won back in November. You can also see the pretty things I got from the Rose Cottage! I really do appreciate being the recipient of such a wonderful prize!


tam said...

Our little fur babies are sent here to fulfill a very special mission and are great blessings!
If we could take a lesson or two from them!

TattingChic said...

Gosh, that sure is a lot of pet loss in a very short time! How sad!

ElementalGrace said...

Lovely post, Donna. I can so sympathise ... we lost our collie six years ago and still miss him even now.

I saw a lovely quote in the paper a few weeks ago, where a local vicar said that he saw God more often when he looked into the eyes of his dog than when he looked into the eyes of his flock. Sadly so true.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I cannot imagine loosing three in that short time. I just lost my beloved cat and am still very emotional. Your post reminds me of Lord Byron's inscription on his dogs grave.

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.


laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Donna, this is a wonderful post. The fact that it made me cry doesn't even bother me. How horrible that your family lost all 3 in one month. I lost 3 within a year, and I thought that was too much to bear. This was so well written and thought provoking. Thank you. laurie

cargol said...

Your pets were so lucky to be able to spend their lives with you. May the special memories continue to comfort you.

Susan S. said...

Bless your heart.....I feel your pain. However, I like that you are taking the positive outlook to lead your life more like the animials. They really have this "living life" thing down don't they? They are joyful, appreciative and live in the moment. They ALWAYS put a smile on our face and treat us like royalty. You were lucky to have had all those sweet babies. Hugs to you!

Kathleen said...

Oh Donna, such a devastaating loss. I am in tears. Like you I have lost both cats & dogs. Their photos still grace my home in frames here and there. Like Joanne, I have dreamt of lost pets, and woken up in tears. My Mr. Ming is 4 years old, and I hope to have him many more. Our pets love us no matter what....we all should be more like them. Hugs, Kathleen

Susie Q said...

The tears are flowing now...bittersweet ones. For you, for me and for all the wonderful memories of our fur babies.
I am so sorry for your losses. Our pets are such a part of us, such a warm and special part of us.
To lose 3 in such a short time is so hard...my heart goes out to you.


Deb said...

Hi Donna
How adorable is your photo of Ms Giz, B and beautiful Mr Malley! And such beautiful memories. Loosing all three within months of each other must have been devistating and I understand the tears shed! Not a day goes by that I don't think of my Ben. He would have turned 12 on January 1st. It really is amazing how much they teach us in such a short amount of time.

Suzanne said...

Donna, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you must be going through. Loosing all three in such a short time. We must NEVER take life for granted. Love and Prayers, Suzanne

Gina @ Six in the Country said...

As if I wasn't sad enough today! I know you miss them dearly.

HUGS -- cause I think we both need one.

Nicole ~ said...

I am so sad for you, I know that it takes years to get over the loss of a pet. Your babies looked so sweet.

I lost my cat many years ago, and he was the love of my life. I did not think I would ever get over that loss. I could not even talk about him for about a year and a half without tearing up.

I now have a dog, and two cats. They are my children. Especially my dog Bentley, he is so human like!! It is truely amazing how much love an animal can bring into a home.

Nicole ~ said...

I am so sad for you, I know that it takes years to get over the loss of a pet. Your babies looked so sweet.

I lost my cat many years ago, and he was the love of my life. I did not think I would ever get over that loss. I could not even talk about him for about a year and a half without tearing up.

I now have a dog, and two cats. They are my children. Especially my dog Bentley, he is so human like!! It is truely amazing how much love an animal can bring into a home.

Liz said...

Oh Donna, One of our sweet fur babies has been terribly ill over the holidays. It has really been a tough Christmas because of it. We are still nursing him through it and will know in a couple of days if we are in the clear. Your post is a reminder that their days are numbered. We need to appreciate everyone we have with them.


~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

What a sweet tribute to your Fur Friends. Bless them all.
I have a beautiful black cat that looks so much like yours. He is a light in my life.

Claudie said...

Dear Donna
I always said I would rather have my animals unconditional love than no love at all. I also rescue fur babies and have 3 dogs and a new adopted "Kat" that has fit so comfortably into our lives this season. We also rescue little birds & have a beautiful singing canary from it. Our other love is our little degus. They were also rescues oh, and bunnies, and on and on.
I cannot imagine loosing 3 close to each other . We have a little pet cemetery in our garden. I know they are safe and always get a greeting from one of us as we pass by.
Love your outlook.
Claudie from Canada

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

While I know it's so hard to say goodbye to a furbaby, we can always reflect (as you did) on all the wonderful moments and memories they gave us. I don't know if you know, but I recently lost my "old gal" Bailey just three weeks ago and it was so appropriate for me to read today's post because I just said the almost the same things to my hubbs just this past week. I too, am going to strive to be better this year.
Hugs and know you are being thought of today.

Claudia said...

Oh Donna, I am with you totally. We never stop missing our animal children, do we? I know that if I see an unexpected photo of our dear Winston, I start crying. Something will remind me of him, and I will be consumed with emotion - crying and sometimes laughing.

Animals are our teachers, I truly believe that. They do live totally in the moment, never hold grudges, always forgive.

Bless you.

caren said...

Losing our little dog was one of the hardest things ever. We finally have a new dog and she is a delight! Your words were so right about our pets - why can't we be more like them?

Anonymous said...

Oh Donna, I had no idea that you lost three babies so close together. When we lost our first dog three years I ago, I didn't think I was ever going to stop crying. He was so much a part of the family. We then got Jackson six weeks later and I am so crazy about him. They sure work their way into your heart fast! He lights up my world!!


Rue said...

That was a beautiful post Donna. My mom lost her 3 dogs within 6 months of each other too. It was heart breaking, but like you said "they gave us so much during their time with us". :)


Jean said...

Hi Donna, I know how you feel! I have lost some very loved pets in the past and they will always have a very special place in my heart. My little Dusty is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. The amount of love that he gives me every day is many times more than I could have hoped for. Today when I came home from work, he is sitting in the front window waiting for me to come home. Then he is so happy. WOW! Look out!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I too lost two of my beloved dogs 4 months apart last year. One was 12 and the other
14. She had serious health issues that need constant monitoring and he was badly abused and brought to us for "forever homing" and we earned his trust over years. I still cry for them both. I still miss them emensely. And yet, I took in two more and gave them forever homes. Both resuces. And, we took in two cats as well. mind you, i'm NOT a cat person. Never have been. But i'm now a feline companion.

To all the paw kids we've ever loved... We'll see you over the rainbow one day.