Sending your Furever Friend Over the Rainbow Bridge


This is a hard post to write but many will relate. Our pets are our family and for those of us without children, our Fur Babies. We love them. They love us and more importantly, unconditionally.

Just over 16-years ago, I was newly separated from my (now ex) husband. I was renting a little house in Calgary. It was Spring. I volunteered at an organization called the Meow Foundation. It was/still is, a cat rescue place; I came in on Saturdays and cleaned.

That place was sterilized from top to bottom, every single day. It was a fair-sized house with many rooms so at any given time there had to be at least 200+ cats and kittens there. That said, it was extremely well-managed and organized. Feral cats had their room, new mothers, kittens and expectant mothers had their area. There was a spot for sick cats, and we had to walk through some sort of antiseptic so there was no cross-contamination.

In the living room, were all the friendly cats who got along with everyone. Down stairs, were several more rooms with new intakes (a few who were injured and had to be kept in cages for their own good) while others roamed around and became acquainted with the place.

When I first started seriously thinking about adopting one for myself, I took a good look around. I spotted him lounging on one of the cat trees, just taking it all in. He seemed to be just coming out of kittenhood and knocking on the door of being an adult male cat. He’d been brought in with his sister; she was waiting for her spay and was in another room. He’d already had his neuter.

Both were wandering around a neighbourhood, seemingly lost or abandoned. They ended up wandering right up to someone’s front door and she took them in. The next day, the kind lady called the Meow Foundation. No one ever claimed them.

They were named Smartie and Skittles because of their sweet nature. Smartie was the male. Both were grey and white with Smartie being a long-haired cat and his sister, not.

I ended up adopting Smartie a few weeks later and renaming him Zephyr. He was the sweetest, most easy-going and definitely the handsomest cat I’d ever had the pleasure of sharing my life with.

I’d never had a cat quite like him and I doubt I ever will again. He had just enough quirks to make him interesting and adorable. He also had the temperament of a Saint. That cat never bit, hissed or scratched me out of anger or fear, in his entire life. You could do anything to him and if it bothered him, he’d either complain about it or leave.

He had his naughty moments, too, but he was just being a cat. One certainly can’t fault him for that. There are simply far too many cute Zephyr stories to list them all, here. But I will say that when he was young, he was a kleptomaniac. He also loved to invent games to play, and we had many. One involved a red bucket and an ex-boyfriend. I still have that red bucket.

He was a lover not a fighter. Whenever his path crossed another animal’s, he’d always try and make friends. Just because I know you’re wondering…he made 2 doggie friends and 0 cat friends, although he did try very hard (Xanadu, you nasty little thing, he was SO in love with you…your loss, honey). I could include Sabrina, but I really think he tolerated her more than anything.

I got to share his life for just over 16-years. He was 17 and had been battling kidney failure for the last 4 of them. On June 1st, he’d had enough. For 2 and a half days I did everything I could to make him better, but he wasn’t having it.

It was his time. So, with a heavy heart, Pete and I sent my best friend home. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but one that I simply had to. I made him a promise that I’d never let him suffer. He was suffering. It had to stop.

It was quick. Pete and I cried. I then cried some more and every day since then, but it was the right thing to do. There is no question in my heart.

I was Z’s mommy and I’m pretty sure he thought that, too. He listened. He came when he was called. He took up half of my queen-sized bed for more years than I care to admit. He was kind of a  big’ish cat. 17 lbs in his prime.

I’ll miss him until I see him again on the other side. I love him dearly. He was one in a million and a huge part of my life. If he didn’t like you (and he liked just about anybody once he got over being shy) you weren’t to be trusted. He had a sense about people. He also never forgot anyone. It could be months or even a year in-between visits, but he’d always remember you.

Zephyr was the best pet I’d ever had; I’d also had him longer than any other animal. 16-years is a long time to have anyone in your life. It’s longer than any man has ever lasted, I’ll say that!

At least…so far.

I love you, big guy; you were the bestest kitty EVER. And that red bucket! How you made us laugh, brought us joy and shone a bright light into everyone’s life you touched.

Really.

Best. Kitty. EVER.

unconditional_by_musingcalliope-d2erd4r

Four Years Later (The Continuing Aftermath of Suicide)


I want to say that it’s a little better with each passing year, and it is…but marginally. I still get taken aback by the rush of grief that spills into my daily routine, unannounced and unwelcomed.

The tears still sting and the ache in my heart really isn’t any less. It’s just less often. There are daily reminders of his existence on earth and in my life; I’m grateful for them and accept them with grace. He still is and always will be: the one that got away. Only his ‘away’ was pretty horrific.

I’ve built up my life around softness, empathy and understanding.  Yes, I still have a wonderful (forever) man in my life. He’s not going anywhere and for that, I’m so, so, happy. He’s my rock and grounds me to this earth when my spirit wants nothing more than to fly away.

In a month, it will be THAT day. That terrible, horrid, worst-day-of-my-life, day – and, once again, it will all come crashing down around me. It’s okay; I always prepare. The lead-up, however, is easier, this year. I don’t go over old emails and texts from him, still looking for some clue that I should have known this would happen.

Thankfully, I’ve stopped that. It’s pointless, really. A little torturous, too.

I was so inexperienced with his mental illness, so new in our relationship, so in-love and so terrified. I don’t think there was anything different I could have done, given the tools (and lack of) that I had at the time. I simply didn’t know how or what to do – other than to do everything in my power to be there, be present, love him, do what I could to keep him safe and then…have faith that he’d stay.

He didn’t. But we all know our story didn’t end well.

I want to tell it. REALLY tell it; it’s quite a love story, after all. A tragic, messy, funny, sad – love story. I’m almost ready, but not quite.

I still miss him, and I know that we all do – all of us that he touched. There were many. I’m not the only one grieving and I know, out there, there are others. Others like us who understand the depths of suicide grief and it’s never ending dark and deep hole in our lives. It really feels like a part of you died with that person. And as you constantly struggle with trying to understand…

Somewhere.

Somewhere in a gentle and loving stillness, there is forgiveness. Not just for them, but for us. For not being able to save them, for not being there, for being angry, for so many things, I’ve lost count.

Forgive yourself. You, who travel this road of sorrow, with me. You did all you could; they know that. HE knows that. A choice was made that wasn’t ours to make or judge.

My story has carried on, but I can still tell his in the best and most loving way that I can. We can still honour their lives here and in the Afterlife.

I’ve learned SO much and continue to grow with this experience. It will walk with me, until I walk into the light. I’ll always advocate for understanding and to end the stigma, the secrecy and the embarrassment. The finger-pointing, the judgement and the ignorance that comes attached to suicide – both for those who’ve taken their lives and for us who are still on Earth; it has to stop.

Let’s replace them with: Love, Compassion, Understanding, Openness, Communication & Kindness.

Right here. Right now.

In love & Light,

Carrie ~

 

HOPE

A Very Merry Christmas to You


Can you believe it? Nearly another year has passed. 2018 will soon, slide into 2019 in a silent hush, and humans will pause in the moment, then brace for another rally with themselves. Aren’t we a funny species? So much fear amid so much love for our very own. I hope I live to see the day when the realization sets in that we are all one; the differences we fight about are pointless and non-valid.

I think this will be the last Christmas for some in my life; notably my nearly 17-year old cat who has been battling renal failure for years. That’s going to be a hard one but a necessary one. No animal should suffer.

I also know that I have friends who are missing dear family members for the first time, this Christmas, and it’s hard to celebrate knowing they’re not on Earth with them. It’s painful and difficult, yet they smile and keep it together for everyone else. My heart goes out to you.

Christmas is a funny thing to me because I’m not religious. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to celebrate with friends and family and GIVE. We need to focus more on those that we love, and we need to focus more on those that need our help.

Maybe everyday should be Christmas.

It’s been an interesting month, health-wise, for me, too. I’ve had sciatica, before, but NEVER this bad. I’ve been in near constant pain for almost a month. Although I’m amused that I’ve grown calluses on my hands from using a walker. Me! At 52, using a walker!! Don’t fret, it’s temporary and I’m so very grateful to my mother-in-law for letting me borrow it. Xo

I’ve had to postpone appointments with my Coaching clients and say no to others who have wanted to book Reiki sessions. I just can’t do it. At least, not at this time. For that, I’m sorry.

I’ve had friends wanting to visit and although they know I’m struggling to get around and get ready for Christmas, they’re offended when I tell them that I just can’t entertain at this point. For that, I’m truly sorry, as well. It’s not that I don’t care about you, it’s just too difficult to give you what I believe you should deserve – which is my very best hospitality and complete undivided attention.

There are times when you just can’t be there for others, as much as you’d like to because you need to be there for yourself. And, that’s okay.

So, let me be here, now. Let me tell you how dear you are to me and how I know you’re struggling, too. Let me tell you that you’re loved and that you matter. You matter to me and to so many others. This year will fade into the next and it’s up to you begin again. You have everything you need to move forward and design your life.

You’ve got this!

I believe in you. Please believe in yourself. Put yourself, first. Love yourself and heal. This time carve out a new path instead of the same one you’ve been tripping on.

Don’t wait for life to change. Be the change.

You’re creating your own experience, moment to moment. Let’s make those moments count!

Be present. Listen to your inner guidance. Take one step at a time. Know it’s okay to fail! Failing is the learning process to success. It’s your guidebook of ‘what not to do’ and how can you even know that if you don’t try and see what works and what doesn’t?

Learn from every Thing and every One.

Your life is yours to live, no one else’s. Your experiences are unique and oh-so-beautiful as they are only yours. Know you can create whatever you want and isn’t that incredible?!

Be the creator of your own destiny but also understand that if situations keep repeating themselves, it’s because you still have something of value to learn from them. Maybe spend some time on figuring that out. All of your questions can be answered from within.

Life is precious, confusing, painful and beautiful – all at the same time.

Be grateful for everything. Even the shitty stuff, in fact, especially the shitty stuff, because those are the lessons most worthy.

Remember I love you and all of you are never far away from my thoughts. You live in my heart, always.

Have a wonderful, beautiful, CRAZY and fun Christmas/Holiday!

~Carrie xox

Zephyr Christmas tie

Succeeding Through Failure


Think of the last time you failed at something. I’m going to bet you can recall it in great detail. In fact, I know you play the entire scenario in your mind, over and over; a mini movie that you pause at certain intervals to capture and digest all of the littlest details.

We analyse our failures with incredible precision to see how/why we didn’t make better choices. We do a lot of: If onlys and what ifs.

  • If only I didn’t do that, this other thing wouldn’t have happened.

  • If only I did do that thing, the event/relationship/solution/insert-anything-here, would have gone better.

  • What if I had been there/what if I hadn’t shown up…that thing wouldn’t have gone as badly.

What if, instead of looking at past events as failures, we decided to view the offending incident as a valuable opportunity to grow and move into a different life direction, one that serves us better? How about taking on a broader scope of understanding and exiting with the experience as something that brought you to a higher place thus realizing that your failure was actually a planned success.

Let’s take a deeper dive into that: planned success. Every big experience that changes us in some way is actually designed to help us succeed. What we see as failures is really a path of events to show us we have alternatives and that we can act on them if we so choose to do so.

Have you ever found yourself repeating the same mistake over and over? Maybe you’re drawn to a certain personality type in your love life and the relationship always ends up in a big disaster. From the inside you can perceive yourself as always failing. From the outside, there is a much bigger message. And that is: this personality type has lessons for you and until you learn them, you will be repeating the same sequence throughout your life.

Your repetitious theme could be something as simple as self-respect or restraint. Only you will recognize the pattern that you’ve created. Maybe your mother was controlling so you have always dated controlling women. Can you see where I’m going with this?

Once we can recognize the pattern, we can break it. Once it’s broken, we can heal and move forward. This is success. If you can take away something of value from your past failures, this is success. If you can learn and grow; move a painful incident into greater awareness – then you’ve succeeded.

Instill your success in everything, even if you think you’ve failed. You haven’t; you’re just learning how not to do something or learned that you can do it better or differently to yield more favourable results.

There is always a better/different path waiting for you if you choose to take it. Don’t be afraid to mess things up because through this you’ll reveal your greatest triumphs.

Motivational and inspirational life quotes - Failure is success in progress.jpg Blurry background (1)

The Letter


A while ago, I took a little writing course. One of the exercises I had to do was write a letter to myself (from my future self), one that I’d read, back in time. Of course, I had to choose the most difficult day of my entire life to send this letter to: the day after Brian took his life. 
I found this exercise most powerful and healing. I will incorporate this into my Coaching sessions as I think it’s valuable to people. 
Feel free to give it a try. 

May 11, 2017

Hello me,

It’s me…

You’re reading this the day after that really bad thing happened (May 12, 2015). That’s what we (as in- you and I) ended up calling it. Sometimes we simply can’t bear to speak it out loud. It’s been two years. In fact, today is the 2nd anniversary of his death.

I know you’re in shock. I know this is the very worst thing that has every happened in your life. We both know there have been a lot of very bad things – this one tops all of them. I believe with all my heart we will never have to deal with anything this terrible, ever again. That’s a good thing because I don’t think you/we could survive it.

Right this moment, you’re torn apart and your heart just went through a rusty shredder. It’s been hurled all over the place, bits and pieces of bleeding muscle and everything is soaked in your tears. The very sky is dripping with sadness in spite of it’s perfect spring-blue. The cherry trees are still blooming and a warm west wind blows in to ripple the Pacific, but all you see is black.

I want to explain a few things to you so that eventually, you can take back something that you had so strongly before this happened: Hope.

Our love for him was enormous, vividly deep and hope was our wings; we defied everything. We felt it would carry us and him through those dark and inky days. We were wrong about that because it was never our choice. It was always his.

I need you to know that hope lives on and that this pain will ebb back into that depthless sea from which it came. Like a shadow moving through the light, it will take on many forms, grow, recede and finally it will only follow you around, a ghost, catching your attention, now and then, instead of staring you right in the face as it’s doing now – screaming that this CAN’T be true, there MUST be some sort of mistake because Brian CAN NOT be dead.

You’ll eventually come to terms with this and please know that he is here, always with you, always sending you signs and he hasn’t stopped. He won’t unless you ask him to.

I want you to understand that we made it through the fire. Oh yes, we walked right on through the centre of agony and didn’t stop. We just kept on moving forward even though it was excruciating and when we emerged, black and scorched, we turned back to look but the fire was gone. We’d used it all up, consumed it in our grief. There was nothing left but our smoking footprints to show us where we’d been.

We’d made it.

YOU, will make it. You HAVE made it and even though there are moments when you are raw again, broken apart and the tears flow like muddy rivers…you never let go of that hope. It carries you, it cradles you and now it leads you to where you’ve always needed to be.

So, cry and sob and be angry. Scream, weep softly and know you loved like you’ve never loved in your life. Remember him. Speak his name, often. He’s around and you can feel him in the stillness of the morning, just before the birdsong, moments before the first rays of dawn and seconds after the darkest part of the night.

Hello me…it’s me. Today is the first day that he’s gone – really gone… you feel as if you, too, may leave this world from your torn apart heart. You won’t. You’re still here, better than ever. Hope, your love, his love, all that brought you here and all those days yet to be born, are waiting just for you.

So…what would you say to your past self if you could send a letter from the future? 
sad woman

When Someone Ignores You


I think I’ve written about this topic, before, but it was quite some time ago.

Recently, a friend of mine, asked me what to do or how to react if the man she’s currently dating doesn’t respond to her emails, texts, etc. I could tell this upset her and, why wouldn’t it?

NO ONE enjoys being ignored. No one.

So why do we do it? Why do we think it’s okay to be disrespectful when we typically hate it when it’s done to us? As I’ve been in the sales world for 30-years, I’m very used to people not getting back to me. It’s a priority thing – I’m trying to sell them something/pass along information, and they don’t always have the time or need to get back to me.

I get that, as annoying as it is, I get that. However, I make it a practice to always be polite and respectful of sales reps reaching out to me. No matter how cheesy they come across, how insistent they are, or how presumptuous, I can’t find it within myself to be mean. Mean/rude people, no matter how you want to justify it, are just that: mean and rude.

You can make whatever excuse you want to, explain yourself away by saying you’re teaching that person a lesson (how kind of you!) etc., etc…but there simply is no justification to be impolite to someone who is just trying to make a living.

Not everyone is lucky enough to not have to cold call or email strangers to make ends meet. It’s great that you make all your business through word of mouth but at some point, you will talk to someone out there and tell them about YOU and what you DO. That, my darlings, is selling. It’s relationship selling, but it’s selling.

All of this said, it’s often the ones closest to us, our friends and family, that think it’s perfectly okay to not get back to us, or take weeks to do it. We’ve heard it all.

I lost your text.

No, you didn’t. You purposefully deleted it and then forgot about that person or chose to not reply.

I thought I emailed you back.

If you have that many personal emails to respond to, make a list and set aside some time to respond to those who you mean something to. We’re all busy. We all have better things we can/should be doing and we can all set aside 30 min. to type out a few quick emails. Even if it’s just to say: “I’m super busy! I haven’t forgotten about you…and will respond when I’ve got some more time. Xox”

Now, if you know me and are reading this and think I may be talking about you (and you’re now upset) you very well may be guilty. If you are, put yourself in the place of someone who gets ignored, and think about how that makes you feel.

Pretty crappy, right?

When you ignore someone, you’re telling them that they don’t matter to you. This leads to hurt feelings, anger, resentment and confusion. The result of this is that this person thinks you don’t care.

Clearly you matter to them! If you have someone in your life who doesn’t matter to you, time to cut them loose and save them some hurt.

Back to my friend. As she was clearly upset by this man ignoring her, I asked her why she spent time engaging with someone who wasn’t engaging with her. If your love interest can’t be bothered with you…why are they still your love interest? I can tell you they are not so interested in you!

Your takeaway is to really think how it affects others when you consciously choose to not respond when they reach out to you or take an unreasonable amount of time. How much time is unreasonable? Ask yourself how long you think it should take others to get back to you…

youalso_large

 

Happy Father’s Day


I recall so much of my childhood and my father; a lot of it not so good. He became an alcoholic when I was still quite young – 5 or 6-years old, I think. I could have been younger. I remember the fights my parents used to have from a very early age and my mother crying. On one occasion I had the nerve to ask what was wrong in an innocent little-girl-way. She promptly turned to me and snapped at me coldly to shut up.

That was how it was; along with me, she had a toddler (my sister), an 11-year old son (my bro) and she, herself, was probably still in her 30’s. That’s a lot to handle with financial issues and an angry husband when he was drunk.

It wasn’t always bad, though. There were fleeting happy memories and today, I want to honour them.

Here goes:

I fondly remember all the mornings that dad got up, changed my underwear (I guess I’d occasionally wet the bed at night) and me telling him about my dreams. Keep in mind I was walking and talking like a 3-year old at the tender age of 1.5 years so these memories were probably from the age of around 2 and a half. I started to walk and talk at 9 months, never engaged in the typical ‘baby-talk’ and frequently embarrassed my mother in public by saying things no 1 and a half year old should be saying. I was a freaky kid.

I once told him about a dream of alligators attacking my little bum. I think he laughed and assured me it wasn’t real but just a dream. Odd how I still remember this.

My brother is 6-years older than me and when he was getting ready for school, during the week, I’d sit and watch cartoons with dad. Rocket Robin Hood, Batman and Robin and Spiderman played one after the other on our 20” black and white TV. Dad made me cinnamon toast and snuck me a tiny cup of well creamed and sugared coffee. I LOVED the stuff. I still do.

I don’t think my mom knew he gave her 3-year old coffee. Shhh.

We were camping at Christina Lake, one summer, and I’d wandered on to the sandy beach with bare feet. It was hotter than Hades on my tiny little feet and I screamed bloody murder until he came running over like a bat out of hell and saved my tender tootsies from the lava sand. I think I was 6-years.

He used to hold us by the ankles, upside down (there is a pic of this somewhere) until we laughed so hard we nearly peed ourselves.

He LOVED cartoons more than you can imagine and always knew when the best ones were on. He’s the only dad I know who’d sit and watch cartoons with his kids and made sure they didn’t miss their favourite ones.

My dad was a HUGE Star Trek fan. It’s because of him that I love Sci-Fi and am fascinated with space.

He gave me my first (and last) 12 long-stemmed red roses, for my graduation. They came in a beautiful white box filled with white tissue. He said there was one rose in there for every year of school. I think I cried.

Fathers are the first men little girls fall in love with. They are our heros and our champions. While some dads take a wrong turn, at times, and are not always the best they can be – they still teach us many valuable lessons about love, life, forgiveness and patience.

Dad died when I was 23. He had throat and mouth cancer and it was a very painful death. I remember him lying in the hospital bed in Lac La Biche, Alberta. He weighed about 65 lbs. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen, my once strong father – so helpless and drugged out on morphine.

All the bad things he did were forgiven and I am so, so grateful I got to be his ‘oldest’ (as he used to call me) daughter.

Thank you for all the lessons, the love and the brief life we shared, Dad

I love you. xox

H, Dad and I