JinglesMom
Dear Jingles,

Hi my sweet boy. Well it looks as though it is finally happening, and I will be moving into my own place next week. I am trying so hard to make this major life event a good and positive one, but is just so bittersweet. I want so badly to bring your little carrier with you in it when I walk through the doors for the first time. I want us to experience this together, just like we always did. Wherever I would go, there you would be. You know how the outside world is at times, they cannot always understand this grief journey with which often times feels like being swept out to sea when the tide comes in. It is so hard to just keep your head above water, and even though you may know how to swim, are you strong enough to find your way back to shore, and do you even want to?

It all comes down to these very sad and poignant words, you were supposed to come with me. My darling little tabby boy, my snuggle buddy, my sweet baby who would always make everything better. I fear that I am not entering this stage of my life with enthusiasm or even with the gratefulness I should. If you were here, it would be so different, this move would be our exciting adventure, now it is just something I have to endure without you. It is just so hard to be happy when I miss you with every ounce of my being. It is just so hard to be happy when we were supposed to do this together. God only knows how much I miss you my dear little one.

My tiny bit of hope is going to be how I am going to decorate my bedroom. It is going to be all about you, Jasper, and Pootie Tang. I am going to buy a really nice bookcase and fill it with sweet little figurines, two tabby cats and a black and white little kitty. I am going to buy ceramic figurines of angels and kitties with angel wings, and little houses with green grass and flowers, and sparkling rainbows. I am so looking forward to putting this all together, and maybe it will help some of these broken pieces of my heart to come together again. I want to be able to walk into my room and feel  nothing but you. Of course your little cedar boxes with your ashes will be displayed alongside your pictures, those photos with your eyes seemingly looking right into mine still.

Perhaps creating this little space all about you with trinkets, music boxes, figurines, and even the ethereal sounds of wind chimes, maybe this is what I need to do to feel you once again. You were all three supposed to come with me, my Jingles, my Jasper, and my Pootie Tang. Well maybe by creating this sweet little rainbow bridge on earth, maybe I can bring you with me. This is all I want, this is all I need, this is so important to me. You were supposed to come with me, maybe you still can. Take care of each other up there at the bridge my beautiful babies and I hope you know that I love you more than life itself.

I would walk through the valley to find you, and I would give up everything I own for just one more moment in time...with you. I know we are not supposed to ask for signs, but I need one more than ever before. I need you my darling tabby boy Jingles, my amazing and indomitable Jasper, and my sweet little baby girl Pootie Tang. I am calling out your name, please just let me know you are still close, let me know that I will be bringing you with me to our new home. Sending hugs and kisses on the wind, and sparkles of hope on the stars to you my precious little ones. You are so missed, you are so loved, Mommy

Pamela Lynne Crawford
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BorderCollieLover
Pam:

  That was a beautifully composed letter to your beloved Jingles. I ws really moved when I read it. I hope that you find some comfort  with letter writing. Please share some more with us when you are able to. Thank You.

Jim
Jim Miller
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JinglesMom
Dear Jim,

Thank you so much for your very kind words about my letter to Jingles. I have found that writing to and about my dear little ones really does help to keep our connection strong, and it seems to be such a good way to make all of these broken pieces of my heart begin to come back together again. The bond cannot be broken, no stopping of a sweet little heartbeat could ever keep me apart from my babies. The veil is so thin for those of us who love with such depth and intensity. I miss my sweet angels more than mere words could ever convey, but sometimes I can still feel them as close to me as when they were physically here. I may not be able to see them with my eyes, but I will always be able to feel them with my heart. I cannot help but hope and pray that somehow, someway, they can feel my special love for them shine through every word of my tributes to them. I just want to let them and the whole world know just how much they mattered, and the difference they made in my life. They truly did make me who I am today, and who I will become tomorrow. Their legacy is one of sweetness, light, and a love that knows no bounds. 

I was able to read some of your beautiful and heartfelt letters about your beloved girl Shelby. She sounds so very sweet and so very special, and your love for her is so evident in every single word you wrote. I am so very sorry for your loss, this grief journey is not for the faint of heart, and it is one that should never be traveled alone. I am so glad that you joined this forum, there are so many wonderful, compassionate people here who really do understand the pain and the sadness. They have walked through the fire so to speak, and many have been able to come out the other side, with a new and heightened perception of just how fleeting life really is. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and when we lose the little loves of our life, well it just makes such an impact, and you learn not to hold anything back. You learn to say "I love you, I'm sorry, you mean the world to me". That is one thing I have learned from losing my three little angel kitties in a span of five years, no matter what, you always say what you feel, and you never hold back. We need to love them while we have them, and then we need to carry that love over, past the shadows, past the sunbeams, and clear across the most beautiful rainbow ever.

We on this forum are kindred spirits, belonging to a club that we never, ever wanted to join, united in grief and sadness, but also gaining a deeper understanding and an empathy that we did not even think was possible. I do not know what I would have done without this site. It has truly been a Godsend and my saving grace, because when the world did not understand what I was going through, I could always come here and I would feel so cared about and so understood.  No one here would ever put a timetable on how long I should mourn these three little loves of my life, but the outside world certainly does. I will grieve for them forever, I will miss them forever, I will love them forever, and even though the pain of losing them may ease ever so slightly over the years, it will never go away. So I suppose I have learned that this journey of grief never gets easier, it just gets different, and you learn to incorporate it into your life, and it truly does become a part of you. I often quote this phrase when I remember the last moments when I was saying such a sad goodbye to my Jingles, my Jasper, and my Pootie Tang, "Love knows not it's own depth until the hour of separation". Those words always bring tears to my eyes, and how true those words are.

Thank you again Jim for writing, and for your sweet words about my letter to my boy, that truly means so very much to me. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers for comfort, peace, and healing. I know how much you miss your Shelby, and I know how much this hurts, and I only wish I had the words that would make it better, softer, gentler, but there are none. Sometimes we have to feel broken in order for the light to come shining back in, but the light will always break through the darkness, and the love that knows no bounds will always and forever overcome. My faith in God has always brought me through every single storm, and when I did not think I could hold my head above water even one more moment, He gave me strength to swim. I love the  picture of a hummingbird sitting on the edge of a steep cliff with the words "When you are on the edge, God will either catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly." He has lifted me up time and time again when I have forgotten how to fly, and I am beyond grateful.

May the light and love of your beautiful Shelby guide your path, and may the sweet memories you share keep your precious girl always and forever close to your heart. The love never ends, it just keeps getting stronger. We will see them again in a kinder, gentler place, of this I have no doubt. She is still so close, as close as you calling out her name. Hugs to you and your sweet girl at the bridge, Pamela
Pamela Lynne Crawford
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BorderCollieLover
Pam:

  Thanks very much for your reply. As you so eloquently wrote, "Jingles was your little Boy and the love of your life." I like that. Yes, you are right, grieving is not for the faint of heart and is very taxing to those of us left behind. I have been down this road before and it's never easy. I did survive the loss of my other beloved dogs but for whatever reason, I am taking the loss of my Shelby so very hard. I think part of it is that I had her so long. Got her as a puppy ( 8 months old when she came to live with me back in May 2002) and had a truly incredible journey with her up through her 18th Birthday. I must confess that I am having a hard time with some anger issues in the aftermath of her death with my former next door neighbors. Let me explain. My former neighbors were there the day that Shelby came to live with me. Their dogs (Kona, Lacey and Billie) used to hang out with Shelby. They were good friends. My neighbors were always nurturing with Shelby. I know they loved her. The feeling was mutual. So what's my issue with them? When Shelby passed earlier this month I sent a notification to my former neighbors (they moved in 2018) to let them know what had happened. Several weeks have passed now and they've never sent me any type of reply to acknowledge Shelby's passing. I feel completely betrayed that they couldn't even extend me the courtesy of acknowledging her death. Given that we had such a great neighborly relationship. Thus my anger. I know this is petty and I shouldn't feel this way - but I do. Can and will I forgive my former neighbors? Of course, I will. They are good people. I know my feelings are displaced and a sure sign that I am in the throes of the grieving process. My emotions are all over the place and this shouldn't even be a consideration. I just feel so slighted. I will get a handle on this. Just had to throw that out there. 

Jim
Jim Miller
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JinglesMom
Hi Jim,

I know what a profound and deep loss you have been through in having to say such a sad goodbye to your sweet Shelby. She was such a huge part of your life and your world for 18 years, and that in itself is incredible. It is just so hard when they are not here anymore, and the silence can certainly be deafening. I had my Jingles for 17 wonderful years, and all I could think of when I watched him take his last breath was, how in the world am I going to be able to face another day? How am I going to be able to exist in a world where he does not? I was not thinking long term, I was just trying to make it through the night, and it was unbelievably painful. The tossing and the turning, the being so mentally and physically, exhausted but not wanting to close my eyes, because I knew I would have to wake up without him. Even now, after eight months have passed, I still struggle with going to sleep, as he would always be right beside me in my bed, and it just feels so wrong without him beside me, and nothing will ever make it right.

I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with your former neighbor's lack of empathy in not replying to your notification that you had lost your beautiful girl. I know that it must feel like a betrayal to you, and so many times the outside world just does not understand this grief journey, but how nice it would have been if they had called you and sent you a sweet little sympathy card or note. It takes such a little bit of effort to show someone we care, and to let them know that their beloved one mattered, and that just knowing them made such a difference in their world also. When my Jasper crossed over, I received a card from his veterinarian and a card from my daughter, how very much those endearing cards meant to me. It validated my feelings in a manner of speaking, someone else knew how much I was hurting, someone else knew how much my boy was loved, someone else knew and acknowledged my sadness and despair. So many times, people can not see the forest for the trees, and they just don't know what to say, so they say absolutely nothing, and that is the worst thing they could ever do. Unfortunately that is the way of the world, and even though we cannot do anything about it, we can make sure that we do things differently, because we understand, and we get it.

Are your feelings petty? Absolutely not. You have the right to feel sad, angry, and hurt. I remember after losing my Jasper five years ago, one of my so called friends told me that I needed to move on, and that I was way too consumed with his loss. Really? Too consumed, and this was just a month after his untimely death at just seven years old ... time to move on? Well needless to say, I do not have any more contact with this person. The hurt inside of me from those insensitive words just would not go away, and this was my sweet boy we were talking about, and my protective mama's instinct kicked in, and there was no way I was going to let someone treat my precious boy like that. He was and always will be my whole life and my whole world, but some people just do not understand how a dear little pet could so completely wrap themselves around your very heart and your soul. and they never will. I have forgiven her completely, but I choose to spend my time with those who love their little ones as much as I do, and who will not place a timetable on grief, because there is none.

So I really do understand how you feel Bill, and it is really surprising to me that your neighbors did not contact you when they found out about your tragic loss, especially because both they and their dogs seemed to have loved your Shelby so much. I can imagine that you would feel slighted, but it is so good to know that you will forgive them, and I am sure that they are really good people who just do not understand and maybe do not know what to say, but still there is really no excuse for not reaching out to you in this time of sadness. We here on this forum, we get it, we live with it every day, we wake up to the emptiness of them not being there, and we go to sleep or try to with them not being there. We cry, we remember and then we cry some more, but we never, ever forget. Although our dear pets would not ever want us to live our lives in despair, I do think they want to be remembered with the incredible sweetness, light, and love that they brought into our lives.

I do believe that their beautiful spirit surrounds us still. One thing is for certain, your Shelby knew how much she was loved and she can feel that love you have for her even now, and that is the most important thing of all. When they cross that bridge, they really do take such a big part of us with them, but they leave so much more behind. Thank you so much for writing, and I hope that you know you are in my thoughts and prayers for happier days ahead, filled with the sweet memories of your dear girl. Please try to face each new day with hope in your heart and faith for the future, hold onto the light, hold onto the love, your special little girl would not want it any other way. Take care and please let me know how you are doing. Pamela
Pamela Lynne Crawford
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BorderCollieLover
Hi Pam:

  I just read your latest post and wanted to say that I was really moved by your ability to handle the insensitive comments made by your former friend who thought that you were "too consumed" and "needed to move on" after the passing of your beloved Jasper (5) years ago. You handled it very well. Her lack of empathy and consideration for your feelings were completely uncalled for and you had every right to phase out of the friendship. I don't blame you one bit. The idea that you have forgiven her is wonderful. You didn't let her off the hook - you let yourself off the hook. I'm wondering if she is even aware of how well you handled that situation. Maybe, maybe not. Like you said, many people just don't get it and probably never will. I, too, have chosen to forgive my neighbors, Yes, I still feel anger towards them but I know that will subside over time. You are right that letting go is often the best solution. 
I'm just trying to take one day at a time as I mourn my beloved Shelby. She was such a big part of my life for many years and I miss her dearly.

Jim
Jim Miller
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