TRIPAWDS: Home to 14171 Members and 1267 Blogs.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » FACEBOOK » TWITTER » RANDOM BLOG
Mom2Shelby

East Coast Tripawds Party

I do not even know where to begin to gather my thoughts for one of the most emotional, happy, epic weekends of my life. I knew the gathering would be great. I knew we would all get along. I knew it would feel like we had known each other a lifetime.

But I did not expect to feel as rejuvenated and healed as I do. It has been over three years since Shelby went to the bridge. Some of the darkest days of my life are behind me but that pain still slightly nudges my heart. So on a huge leap of faith – and 100% out of my comfort zone – I bought a plane ticket to DC from Los Angeles over Memorial Day weekend. Others did the planning of where to stay, what to eat, where to go… but all I had was a rental car, little Jasper Lily and some new friends I met at the airport.

From the second I met Tina and Clare, I knew it would be an amazing weekend. We just clicked and instantly got along. I accepted the help of holding Jasper while I got the car (asking and accepting help are still so foreign to me). It was so much easier to get a car rented when you don’t have a dog pulling your arm out.

We drove hours to get to Richmond but it felt like nothing. The conversation was easy and comfortable. Meeting more friends once we arrive, we grabbed some food, checked into our house and then there were four (and one little curious dog). Of course no trip is without drama so Jasper found herself on the receiving end of a mousetrap and for an instant – I panicked. But she was fine, albeit a bit shaken up but like a trooper, she shook it off.

Gathering at the party the next day and meeting Sally is up there on that list of one of the top ten moments of my life. Hannah passed days after Shelby and I always felt our bond further connected us as I knew Hannah (like her mama) would look after Shelby (as her mama looks after me). To see the Tribute Leash in person was powerful, moving and healing. I added Shelby’s ribbon … purple and blingy … to the leash and tied the white ribbon on as she is an angel now.

And thus our day began … people arrived, pups made friends, memories were shared, bonds were made. But it was a day of joy and celebration. Yes, there were tears but it was so much more. It felt safe and I felt comfortable. In ways I didn’t know I would. I felt “at home” and at peace within my community. 

While I will always miss Shelby, my emotions about the day can be summed up as “grateful” and “gratitude”. Obviously, I never wanted Shelby to die or to lose a leg or to have cancer. Of course not. But had our journey not taken that trajectory, I would not have had the chance to meet these amazing souls. Those that comforted me, believed in me, lifted me up and have watched me grow. I have never felt judged in this community. I have always felt safe. I have felt protected and loved. ALL of which was all I could have hoped and done for Shelby in her last 8 months. I always told Shelby that she was safe and she was loved and she was protected and I would always fight for her.

As the weekend ended, Sally reminded us that this weekend is much like our relationship with our dogs … there is simply never enough time. But alas, we all had to go back to our homes, our real lives and reality. I was so hopeful I would be able to articulate in a blog how much this weekend meant for me and I simply don’t have the right words other than “thank you”.  My heart is full. My mind is open. I am ready for the next chapters of my life.

I wrote in our last blog about my return to running and racing and how that felt like a step in the right direction. This weekend pushed me even further onto the other side of grief. I felt at peace. I felt calm. I felt the guilt (that I still sometimes feel about Shelby’s journey) leaving my mind more and more. I felt … quite simply … like a dog! I was living in the moment – each and every moment. WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!

So with the angel riding shotgun in my heart and the sidekick at my side (who was brilliant and I’ll update her blog too)… I returned to LA with a full heart, a full belly and full of hope. That the best days are yet to come. That taking risks out of the comfort zone make life worth living. And as I stated at the beginning of 2017, I was really ready to start living again and living is what I am doing.

I had no idea how much this weekend would really mean to me. I had no idea the profound impact it would have. Adding Shelby’s ribbon wasn’t as sad as I thought it would be and I accept that. I accept that she will always be my heart dog and the love of my life but it is okay and it right to love and smile and be happy again.

So again, thank you to every soul that took a chance on me, has allowed me to be vulnerable and feel safe with my emotions, that has pushed me to grow and see the glass as half-full. And to Shelby … for being the best co-pilot in life a girl could ask for. She guided me through my 30s… much like a parent guides a child growing up. Shelby was always the alpha but she taught me well. She taught me to love. To trust. To live. And I am finally doing all of those things!

What a weekend … I love you all more than you will probably ever know.

Baby Shelby … her first day home.

Me and my best girl… at our favorite spot!

Always a happy girl! I love you Shelby Lynne!

 

Comments (12)

The Journey Back to Running

Last weekend I ran a half marathon again. 13.1 miles. For fun.

The last race I ran was a full marathon (26.2) in September 2013 while Shelby was at the vet recovering from having her spleen out and we were waiting to hear the diagnosis (it was hemangiosarcoma).

But let’s backtrack a bit. The summer of 2013 was tough on both of us us. Shelby broke her leg. I lost my job. I was trying to re-train for a marathon that would hopefully re-qualify to me to get back to the Boston Marathon that I had completed in April of that year that ended with the bombs going off in a terrorist attack on our country. I had sought out a race that would give me an edge (downhill) and hopefully get me there. But when Shelby broke her leg, my training came to a halt. Despite having an entire summer off because I was out of work; my heart wasn’t in the training. I didn’t put in the miles or the speed work or anything I had done prior to get me to a qualifying time.

The weekend before I left for the race, Shelby had her emergency spleen-ectomy. I really didn’t want to leave town and run this race but her surgeon assured me Shelby was in good hands and safe at the ER vet. My friend went to sit with Shelby while I was away but obviously, my mind was no longer on this race.

I didn’t re-qualify. I didn’t give a shit. I finished but don’t remember the time. It was a miserable race.

I got home and got Shelby from the vet and started my new job. Shelby was fine from her surgery. Eating like a champ, being “Shelby”. The new job was amazing and I loved my new team. High on all that and thinking we dodged another bullet, I recall calling my mom and saying, it is all going to be okay.

Until I got the call that evening. Shelby has hemangiosarcoma. “She has – at most – 1 to 3 months to live. You can try chemo. It might extend up to 8 months”. – the vet told me.

From happy to hysterical tears – the kind where you cannot breathe – in minutes. And I had to put on a happy and normal face at work the next day. I could not bring drama or sadness into a new job. I had to go at this alone.

So I did. Shelby started chemo. I stopped running. She was my life and my focus for the next 8 months. We went to Santa Barbara one last time (deep down, I knew it would be the last). She was not feeling great. She was limping still and we hadn’t taken her leg off yet. So in a matter of 8 months, my dog started chemo, lost her leg, fought cancer and then we had to say goodbye. Everyone knows how the story ends.

And the runner in me … well I basically ran to not get fat. I ran to escape reality. I ran to feel something. But they weren’t good runs. They weren’t strategic runs. They were chaotic, and rushed and probably not safe for my body. I didn’t fuel for them. I didn’t stretch for them. I didn’t give a crap.

After Shelby died … I could not run. Weeks went by. I could spin because I forced myself to be with my friends but I was dialing it in. Then I started to run again (again for fitness not for fun). I would run to burn the calories I would eat. That was it.

But running – the one things I loved to do most – was no longer fun for me. It was heartbreaking. I would stop mid-run and literally lose my shit and not know how I was going to get home because I would be crying SO hard that I could not breathe.

Slowly, as my heart started to heal, I tried and tried to re-claim my life. I looked up half marathons to train for. I figured I had lost most of my distance fitness and I wanted to run a half and then maybe consider a full. I made spreadsheet after spreadsheet with training schedules. I quit them all. I had a half-dozen races picked out and none happened.

Last fall, I started at a new spin studio. I met a teacher / coach who immediately saw in me what I didn’t see in me anymore. That I was an athlete. I told him, I don’t race anymore. He said you could run a 3:25 full marathon. You have the strength and fitness. I laughed.

I went to him at the end of last year and said, can I do a 1:40 half marathon in 8 weeks? He said no. But in 6 months, maybe. The truth hurts. But he was right. So we started training. He gave me drills and I did them. He had me run a 5K, a 10K and hills and track and spin classes that were hard as F. He pushed me to limits I didn’t know I had. He rarely told me good job. He always told me go harder.

Going into Saturday’s race, I knew I wasn’t going to get my 1:40 so we adjusted the goal. He wanted to push the race back but I needed to do this race. To prove to myself this wasn’t another thing I didn’t complete. There was a lot riding on this race that he didn’t even know. Even I didn’t know it at the time. It wasn’t about racing but about completing to get to the next journey of my healing.

I ran a 1:50 half marathon. Not my best – not my worst – right in the middle. There will be weeks to figure out what went astray but I am 100% sure it was a mind over matter thing. It got hard and I couldn’t push past that. I learned a lot about me in this race.

Am I happy with my time? Not really.

Am I happy that I finished? Hell yeah!

Because this race took me over the hump. For me – to continue to dwell on what my life was in the past (pre-cancer), is for me to not let it go. And to fully let it go,  will allow me to fully realize my greatness and my potential. So last Saturday, I say goodbye to the pain. Goodbye to the past. Hello to the future. Shelby’s spirit is with me daily.

As I recover from the race and plan my next one … I am keenly focused on pushing through the tough. There will be bumps in the road but when push comes to shove, I need to push a little harder. In running, racing and in life. A lot of that requires me to “stop talking about the past” because by talking about it, I am still living it. It is a bold next step for me. Someone who likes to define anniversaries, milestones, past memories … but I need to push forward. Like training for a race, I am training my mindset to be open to the greatness that is to come.

No doubt about it … Shelby’s loss profoundly changed me but last week was a huge step in reclaiming a pastime that I used to love. I cannot wait to try again. I will see my 1:40 goal. I will run another marathon. And then … I will run Boston and there will be no drama at the end.

Because I am physically and emotionally stronger than I was six months ago. Because in the end … I will allow myself to feel and receive greatness. Because living life the fullest is all there is. And our spirit / angels are always with us … so for sweet Shelby … I love you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

Mother’s Love!

Baby Shelby!

Love that face … love those ears!

We loved to cuddle before work!

Just a pup and her alligator!

The long road home …

 

Comments (2)

4.8.14 – 4.8.16 Three Years An Angel

My darling Shelby … how is it even possible that it has been three years since you crossed the Rainbow Bridge? So much has happened and I feel like my life has moved on and I feel both happy and sad about that. The time we had together, the adventures, the experiences … they seem a million light years away and almost as if it never happened. But the love I have for you and the moments that I still turn around and expect to see you and your velvet ears is still very real to me.

I know the universe and experts say there is no time limit on grief. It’s what we tell people here when they first lose their pet and are forced to live on in the darkest of days where light seems hard to come by. And there really isn’t.

But if I were to calculate the time it took me to “really heal” … to really even consider starting to live again, it was over 2 1/2 years. It was really until January 1st of this year that I decided that I had to live again. That I had to find the Alison that was hiding under the umbrella of grief, the Alison that was slowly making this “grief” some sort of self-fulling prophecy and denying herself  LOVE, HAPPINESS and LIFE.

Because hiding was the easy choice. Running away from reality was the easy choice. Denying that this was what I was doing was the easy choice. But when I forced myself to look within my heart and my soul, I discovered this wasn’t what I wanted. This didn’t serve me. It was making life harder not easier. So I told myself to “let it go” and that that was not how my story was going to end.

It has not been easy. I miss my best girl every single day. I miss the chats we had, the cuddles and snuggles, the simplicity of a dog that just “got me”. Shelby was never a dog. She was a soul mate. Even though I raised her, it was really her that raised me. She came to me in my late 20s and left me in my early 40s. There was an entire decade of life and living that I did – all with her by my side. From New Orleans back to Seattle to Los Angeles … Shelby took it all in stride. It was so easy. I never had to worry if she would adapt because she just did. As long as she had me by her side.

Our life was not without drama or challenges. Shelby had a horrible fear of abandonment; I could never tie her up outside a coffee shop without her doing her “Shiba Scream”, alarming all guests that she was being horribly attacked. Yet as soon as someone sat down to pet her, she would calm her jets. Oh Shelby … I always said you would sell me out to the highest bidder!

And the chocolate incidents – yes, more than one. For a smart little dog, she could never really remember not to get on the counter, eat of of the trash or get her nose into something she should not. That dog had 9 lives for sure. Every bullet dodged until the last one… the one that we could not. The cancer.

Shelby was a fighter (much like her mama used to be). When she broke her leg, she healed like a champ. When we found the cancer in the spleen, she healed like a champ. Even when we took her leg, ultimately, she healed like champ. Shelby was an amazing Tripawd – she had spunk, she had personality, she had the best “tripawd stance”. She still loved her cookies, her toys, her cuddles. She found safety in my arms (after she eventually gave up residence of my tiny bathroom).

And three years ago, I made the hardest decision I had to make as an adult. I had to let her earthly journey end. I wanted to beat another battle, win another fight, find another life but Shelby was done. She was tired. She was ready. And so, on the beach by our home, the place we spent so many days and evenings sitting and feeling and smelling the ocean breeze, I said goodbye to my soulmate. My heart broke that day – in ways I never thought was possible. I knew I would heal because I was a fighter but I had no clue how much of me I would lose in the process. After one year, I thought I was healed. I was not. After two years and a full year with the new little dog, I thought “I’ve got this”. I did not.

But lots of other things changed in my life last year and I started to see that my destiny was not going through the motions and doing the same thing over and over again. There were challenges, there was a lot of self-doubt, there was hesitation. But there was also the glimmer of hope … for the first time in a really long time… I wanted to live.

What an amazing feeling!!! Why put off living? What is the purpose in that? Dogs don’t do that. Shelby (and the new little dog) woke up every morning thinking “life is great” and “what adventure will I have today”? Even if it means sniffing the same grass and eating the same food (the dogs – not me). But just to be awake is a gift.

So this spring, I will journey to meet so many wonderful people who helped me through this journey and experience of growth … a path I am still on daily. Those that never gave up on me even when I wanted to. And those that didn’t know my story but have come to know me through the new little dog that will serve as Shelby’s ambassador on our journey next month. To say she had some pretty big paws to fill was an understatement. But the love I have for her … despite all her weird quirks … just proves that everything in life happens for us – not to us. And for a reason; even if we don’t know the reason at the time.

Three years ago I said goodbye for now to my best friend but she has never left my heart. Her favorite bed has been reclaimed. Her toys are still nestled away and I can still smell her scent on them from time to time. I am still not ready to go to some of “our places” yet but I am also no longer ruling that out. I am open to the gifts and what life will throw at me.

I miss Shelby every day of my life and I always will. BUT I have learned to love again in the process and that is the gift that Shelby continues to give me. Because dogs live in the now. And if Shelby were here (or as she watches over me) she wants me to be happy. She doesn’t feel jealous or sad that she never got to ride on an airplane or a boat. She got to go to wineries and picnics and beaches! Shelby had the best possible life a dog could ever ask for. And knowing I played a small part in making her life amazing warms my heart and soul and helps ease my grief.

And for Shelby … mama loves you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

Baby Shelby!

On the dog beach at one of our favorite places!

Our last night together… a mother’s love… and her love for me.

This face … I miss her so much!

Happiest dog in the world! her first portrait in New Orleans!

Spoiled!

On the top of the world at the beach! Happiest dog ever! Shelby was always happy!

 

Comments (8)

34 Months an Angel and too many months my guardian angel

This is Shelby’s blog but today I want to write about my other angel – my original guardian angel. My daddy passed away 20 years ago today. Twenty years. I need to let that sink in for a little bit because it seems to surreal.

What was I doing 20 years ago? Well I was just 22 years old, having graduated from college the prior May, moving back to Seattle because my father was in ill health from the cancer. We didn’t know how much time he had left but I knew I had to be where he was.

The back story: 

My father was diagnosed with aggressive brain and lung cancers when I was 15 years old. I was in high school and scared to death. Teenagers didn’t deal with death or sick parents. My dad was only 48 years old. He was given one year to live. We started fighting the tumors and the cancer with with radiation and chemotherapy. Treatments back in the 90s were not as advanced as they are today so the memories I have of my father are being sick, tired, in pain. But my God he was a fighter. He was going to fight that cancer with everything he had. And he never, ever, complained.

And so I grew up pretty quickly. My mom, bless her heart, still had to raise me me (very strong-willed as I am today) and became an instant caregiver to her ailing husband. We were a family and we were ALL IN to fight. And we fought in some of the same ways I fought Shelby’s cancer – with positive energy, positive thoughts, and hope. In fact, I recall when going through Shelby’s treatments and vet visits, having flashbacks to what my father and our family went though – in and out of hospitals, doctors visits, medications on a schedule.

And that one year came and went and dad was still with us. He started to get better but the cancer never fully went into remission. We watched it and fought it was it came back in the esophagus.  That was removed and the treatments began – again. My daddy’s body was tired and he was aging but he was still fighting and had the same sense of humor he always had. And the same love for his family. The cancer was a bit dormant for several years and then a fall down the stairs (most likely triggered by a seizure) landed my father in the hospital unconscious. I don’t recall if it was a coma or not but it was serious enough for me to fly home from college.  It was the start of my last semester at college. My dad woke up to the sound of my voice and my touch but he was far from well. At the urging of my mom and family, I went back to college to finish. It was what my dad would have wanted.

My dad recovered – sort of – from the head trauma and while recovering, we discovered the lung and brain cancers were back. This part of the story is a bit fuzzy for my memory as I think my mom tried to shield me from the dark news in order to allow me to focus on my education. When graduation was coming up, it was apparent my father might not be able to travel to see me graduate. I didn’t want to walk at my own graduation. I just wanted to get home to my dad. But a friend of ours agreed to travel with my mom to assist with my father. For that I am forever grateful because my father, ill as he was, was able to see me get my college degree. Something he himself did not have even though he went on to be a high level executive. He was so proud of me. He was always SO proud of me! It would be the last milestone in my life that he would witness.

After graduation, I moved back to Seattle. My dad was still declining in health but fighting hard. But come January of 1997, days after his 55th birthday, things changed for the worse. Within weeks my father was in the hospital, then hospice (where I remained in constant denial about what was happening). And then, on February 7, 1997, my father took his last breaths surrounded by his family and his dog.

Life after death:

To say I was forever changed is an understatement. I was 22 years old – barely an adult. Barely a plan in the world for my life and I got thrown into adulthood really quickly. I had to make adult decisions. My mom did the bulk of the work but I still had to be present and aware. I spent days, weeks, months in a deep depression. I would cry. I was so angry. I turned my back on those close to me. Life was unfair. I wished, on more than one occasion, for the universe to take me too.

See, my dad was my hero. I was the quintessential “daddy’s girl”. I am an only child and I was the apple of his eye. I am of course very close my mom but there is nothing like a girl’s relationship with her daddy. My daddy and I had the best adventures, the private jokes, secrets shared. My dad wrote me notes and letters while I was at college telling me how proud he was of me, how much he loved me. I have all those letters saved.

I am going to be 43 years old at the end of this month. It is a very real reality that I am 5 years shy of how old my father was when he got sick. But I am also very aware that I have a very healthy mom and other longevity in my family. I work hard to be healthy – not only because I live in LA and it is what we do – but to live a long and healthy life. I don’t need to know what caused my dad’s cancer (was it the smoking, the time on a Navy boat with atomic waste, environmental factors???).

Twenty Years Later:

I would like to think my daddy is proud of the woman I have become. I fight for what is right. I fight for those that cannot speak. My father was nice to everyone – no matter who they were. He volunteered at a soup kitchen. He gave back to his church and his community. He was the dad that other girls wanted to be around because he was so inclusive. I would like to think that part of my dedication to a career in philanthropy stems from the examples I witnessed growing up.

I love my dog(s) with my entire heart. My daddy also loved his dogs … his dogs (and me) were his everything. I would like to think he kept Shelby as safe as he could for as long as he could before she went to join him. I like to think that he was there to greet her and help her find her new way. It was in the darkest times when I lost Shelby, I was able to find comfort in knowing in my heart they were together. But it was a familiar journey through grief and with age, I was better able to process and work through my grief. It was not easy. But I knew deep in my heart, I had done it before and I could do it again and I had two angels keeping an eye on me this time.

I will forever miss my father. Like I will forever miss my sweet Shelby. But I will always try and be grateful for what they brought into my life … how enriched my life was because they were in it. The memories fade … I don’t have all the details of our life together but I can always look at the below photos and I can feel and remember the connection.

Forever in my heart … Sam … 1941 – 1997. 

The 80s! A girl with her daddy and her dog!

Daddy with baby Misty (probably the 80s)

Family! 1991 or 1992

When Daddy drove out my new car to college (1994).

Our 2nd to last Christmas. 1995

Me and Dad at my college graduation in 1996

Me and Dad at my college graduation in 1996

 

 

Comments (6)

Shelby … the most unbarking dog – ever!!!

Oh Shelby … you never really found your voice OR you just made good choices and never used it but I do miss the silence of our life together. The new little one barks, barks and then barks some more. I remember when I used to have workers or the cleaning person come into my home and Shelby would greet them, tail wagging, eager for love and play  and then would go about her business. Not little Miss Jasper Lily … she barks and growls and no matter what – will not relax until she has a pig ear firmly in her mouth (yes, I do realize I am rewarding bad behavior but you try listening to barking for over an hour). It is what moms have to do. I totally get why moms reward kids with candy or toys at the store now. In a heartbeat!

Three years ago this month, Shelby lost her leg. It was the worst of times, the best of times, the hardest of times and I found that strength within that I didn’t know I had. I think the amputation was harder on me – not because I was scared to see what Shelby looked like without a leg – but because I was always worried I would hurt her. I put her in a bubble and carried her up and down the stairs, long after the time she needed to. I tried not to panic and freak the F out the first time she lost her footing and toppled over. I tried not to call the vet every 15 minutes once I brought her home (was definitely unsucessful in that endeavor). Tried to manage the line between tough love and real love. I still remember the 3rd or 4th night that she was home and neither of us had really slept and I had worked all day. I was running on fumes and I needed sleep more than I needed food. I was a single parent trying to do it all. So I shut her out of my bedroom – knowing there was nothing in the house she could hurt herself on, turned on some soothing tunes and prayed for sleep. And we both did. And it became our routine. And then she took over the bathroom as her ‘healing den’ and slowly, our new normal became safer, happier, calmer and more loved.

I miss that sweet girl every single day but I am filled with gratitude this new year … almost to her angelversary in April, the third one. I am struck by how time has moved so fast and so slow at the same time. I am struck by the person I am today and the person I was then. I am amazed by the strength that I have and it was probably always there.

When Shelby passed, my life stopped. Things that I loved seemed less important, friendships, running, eating healthy. I went through the motions in life … I existed to get by. And slowly, things came back into focus but not with the same passion. I started to eat healthier because it was what I had always done. I started to hang out with friends again but it always exhausted me – I preferred the solitude and even more so once I got Jasper. And I began to really run. Not just for fitness but for goals. For me. Because I am worth it. I found a new spin class, new spin studio, new teacher that has inspired, motivated, and challenged me in a matter of months. He has helped me find my value again. I am remember who “Alison” was and who she wants to be.

I am now eating for health. Spending time with friends because I really want to enjoy it. And running because I have a goal. Will I hit that goal this year? Maybe not. Will I run marathon #13? Yes. Because at the core of life … I am worth it. Because at the core of it all, my spirit is back. I have love to give. I have a life to live. And Shelby is never far from my side.

She has been tossing pennies right and left as she watches from over the bridge reminding me that she remains the first and best cheerleader of my life. The non-barking but toughest dog I have ever known. She destroyed countless pillows, curtains, shoes. She challenged my patience. She made me the person I am today.

I will never not miss Shelby. It is a part of my soul and part of who I am. You don’t go through your 20s, then 30s and enter your 40s the same person and not recall who was there the entire time. Friends and boyfriends have come and gone but Shelby’s love for me was always the same and always true. The truest love I’ll never know again but as my bond with Jasper grows, I see there is room in my heart for two great loves. Jasper is learning to love and trust more. Shelby seemed to have that down from day one. Jasper is cautious in her affection and her fun. Shelby gave lovies and always had fun. Jasper is reserved with her smiles and Shelby always had her mouth smiling broadly! Shelby had the best smile, the best snuggles, the best time. Jasper is getting there and I know that as our time grows, our love will as well.

It is a different time. I am older and wiser. I am not sure I would have had the patience for a “Jasper” in my 20s. She needed so much to come out of her shell and I was still a bit selfish. Shelby did right in sending her to me. She gave me a purpose and a focus till I could re-focus on me and remember to love myself.

To give love is to accept love. To love yourself – fully – is the greatest gift one can give themselves and yet one of the hardest ones. This year, 2017, is about love. And peace. And gratitude. Because life is a gift. Our time here is so short … not as short as our furry friends but short. We must continue to make it a life worth living and life that we love.

So thank you Shelby. I honor the greatest love story there ever was … the one that we shared. For 13 1/2 amazing years!!! I love you Shelby Lynne… to the moon and back and for all infinity.

Day 3 home from her amputation … she finally rests!

Carrying her has done amazing things for my biceps! 🙂

Please notice the shredded curtains (Shelby’s fine work).

Baby Shelby!!!

Snuggles .. the best .. ever!

Comments (3)

Happy Birthday over the Bridge

Shelby would have turned 16 today. Able to drive but we all know she was always the driver in our relationship!!! I miss that sweet girl so much. Last year I remember writing a blog about how in my mind, I always thought Shelby would make it to 15 and she did not (she passed at 13 1/2)… young and old at the same time. As I look back on her photos of her amazing life, her travels, her journeys… I can finally see how she aged. When we were together, time stood still. I never saw the grey in her face or the crows feet on my eyes. I never saw anything other than “just in the moment” until those moments became precious and I spent each day of her illness wondering “is today the day”?

And today, I can look back, finally and on most days, and remember the good (when I can remember anything at all – my brain seems use some coping mechanism to block out anything that it perceives as painful). But I am staring at Shelby photos today … willing her to be real again in my eyes.

I am hoping for a sign of some sort but I am sure she is being festive over the bridge with her new pals… those that joined before us and those after. I know Shelby is the welcome girl – with her tiara and always willing to sniff a butt to make a new friend.

Shelby was the kindest, most gentle dog you would ever meet. She loved people and dogs alike. She feared almost nothing. She radiated joy. She was always happy! From day one … when I met her at the shelter, she embraced me with a hug and a tail wag and begged me to bring her home. We had many adventures … not as many as I would like since we discovered the joy of traveling together later in life but we made those trips count. To the wineries, the beach, coffee shops, just out for dinner. I loved spending time with Shelby!

So happy birthday my best girl, the love of my life, my soul mate and heart dog … I will definitely toast in your honor later! I miss you forever and love you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

1910188_29693624056_4021_n

Our first outing … “Yappy Hour” … Shelby always let me hold her like a baby!

389118_10151699263634057_2071563753_n

Just love … at the dog beach! One of our favorite places!

Shelby Boa-05_2 (1)

Mommy … is green my color?!

577424_10150770972614057_1132130971_n

Oh mommy… but why? Why, why, why??

Baby Shelby ... her first day home.

Baby Shelby … her first day home.

552573_10151859011544057_1368899724_n

this face!!! This is the face I fell madly in love with over 17 years ago and who rescued me!

300

I can’t even tell if this is a Tripawd Shelby or not but either way … this was our life … toys, more toys and fluff!

Comments (7)

29 months an angel

WOW … it’s been a couple months since I’ve updated Shelby’s blog. And it’s not for not missing her but rather being worried about saying the same thing over and over. How much I miss those velvet ears. Miss that cute and curious face. Miss our snuggles, cuddles, adventures, laughter and tears. Shelby was the ultimate in what a soul-mate should be. She was always up for an adventure, she lived like a dog – truly in the moment, every day. She was SO happy. I swear she smiled and laughed. It was a simpler time when I adopted Shelby as a young 20-something. I never thought our story would ever end. Three years ago this month, Shelby got really sick. We got the diagnosis we didn’t want to get. Hemangiosarcoma. One of the ugliest and most aggressive cancers out there. One to two month survival. Chemo would maybe buy us a month.

We got EIGHT more amazing months together. My fighter girl. She took her chemo like a champ. And in the middle of all this, we finally amputated that broken leg that never seemed right again.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda… I work SO hard each day to not live with this in the back of my mind.  Some days are harder than others.

Lately, I have had a really hard time with not having Shelby in my world. The last couple of weeks have been really tough; maybe it is summer coming to an end, coming off the vacation with the sidekick and knowing how much Shelby would have loved that particular adventure, processing some underlying guilt about my life with Shelby and how we never did enough until it was too late. How I wasn’t always there for her in my desire to “hit the town” and “have a life” and she was always patiently waiting at home. I am beating myself up SO much and over-compensating with the sidekick in that I rarely go out so I don’t waste one precious minute of her life.

Shelby tossed me a shiny new penny and dime a couple weeks ago on my run. It’s been a while since she has sent me a sign so I know she knows and feels how much I am missing her. They say the pain comes in waves and oh my goodness is that true. I haven’t felt this kind of pain in my heart since Shelby passed. It has been hard for me to be supportive and a valuable member of this community that I love so much because my grief is back and it is raw again.

I know this too shall pass… as well as I know that Shelby really comes to me when she knows or sees that I am struggling with something. It is the price we pay for loving so hard. I also feel memories of Shelby slipping away and that pains me as well. There are days I can stare deep into her eyes in the many photos I have or watch the limited videos I have of her and she feels like a stranger. It is hard to explain but I also have this same challenge with memories of my father that passed away almost 20 years ago. I guess it is how my brain and heart choose to cope with the pain but it seems truly unfair to me. I want to remember more of the good and less of the bad and for some reason, the bad is was pushes to the forefront. Perhaps because I truly am a “glass half empty” kind of girl!

All I know today … on her angelvesary day … is that I miss her SO terribly much. I miss a simple time. I miss the innocence of our youth. I miss who I was.

I love my little sidekick – more than I know what to do with – but I also fear for the day that she and I have to say goodbye and she gets to meet her big sister in heaven. But I know that love lives forever in my heart. That love never dies. That true love, the once in a lifetime love that I had with Shelby, is eternal. Still the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend. I miss you sweet Shelbs… don’t be a stranger! Mommy needs you!

Beach Girls Always!

My silly girl!

Who Dat!?! Geaux Saints!

Comments (6)

26 Months An Angel

And two years since Shelby broke her leg and our journey began …

Oh June … will I always hate you? Will I always hate the reminders and the guilt that I STILL sometimes feel about how Shelby broke her leg? How I go back and forth (STILL) second guessing the choices that I made about her leg (fix or keep, cancer or not cancer)? I don’t know. I do know that I will do my best to honor and celebrate her life on the 8th as I do every month since we are bound for infinity.

And I will try and reconcile that you don’t visit as often since you are busy playing, being healthy and strong, over the bridge. I know you keep an eye out on the little sidekick and probably roll over laughing at her antics. She is a silly one for sure.

I miss ALL the fun we had!  Shelby was always up for a good time; that smile of hers was infectious. She was always such a happy dog and loved riding in the car (I miss that… I really do – Jasper hates the car  no matter what). Shelby always wanted an adventure! And she got them. Beach trips. Road trips. Just because trips! We had the best time – always!

I miss how things were easy and we really did live in the moment until we had to stop and think about things and look forward into the future – the great unknown. Now all my days are spent thinking about the future and not living in the moment. What will tomorrow bring? Will it be good? Will it be bad? Constant state of chaos sometimes.

I miss the days of me and my BFF… my best girl, the love of my life. I miss those simpler times SO much. Sometimes more than others. As much as I miss Shelby (and I do – every day of my life) I also miss the life that I used to have. Grief changes you and while they say you can’t go backward, sometimes moving forward is just as hard. Because if you can stay right where you are – you can sometimes maintain that comfortable “numb” feeling. It becomes your new reality and your fear of moving past because things could be worse (or they could be better but it is not worth the risk) holds  you back.

But that is not a life and I try and channel my “inner Shelby” and work through the challenges … With my best girl as my angel co-pilot and the little sidekick that tries to make me smile (and always succeeds) daily. Over two years an angel and some days I feel like I have not moved an inch in the forward direction but I have. I allowed love back into my heart again (albeit only in canine form) and I try and get out of my comfort zone from time to time. I feel Shelby’s spirit guiding me.

Until we meet again my sweet angel … and I can kiss those velvet ears! I love you to the moon and back and for all infinity!

 

Comments (7)

25 months an angel

Dear Shelby,

Today is your angelversary. I was going to try and be brave and not do a blog but you’ve been on my mind – a lot – lately. I guess I’ve been missing you a lot.

As you know, Elvis crossed the bridge late last month. I know you were there to welcome him. His mama is having a really hard time (like I did) so make sure to tell Elvis to send her lots and lots of signs like you did for me.

Today is Mother’s Day. I was always ambivalent on being a mom to human kids but fur-babies … that I always knew would be part of my life. I guess I just never anticipated what my life would look like when you passed. That thought never occurred to me and I think our life was full of so much bliss, adventures, free-spiritness … We never thought our time would end. I never thought there would be a day when I wasn’t your mom with you by my side. I know I am fur-ever your mom and you will always be my “first born” but it’s different with the new dog. She tries SO hard and I do love her very much as she was a hand-picked gift from YOU but she isn’t you. And I know she will not outlive me. And that scares me. That I will have to go through that raw, unrelenting, forever pain… again.

Everything I learned about being a mom, I learned from you. You taught me to love unconditionally, play lots, laugh lots, smile lots and be selfless. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world – especially when your child can’t speak or tell you what hurts but you did your best to always communicate that to me and you trusted me with your life. For that I am forever grateful. I knew when you looked into my eyes, you knew how much I loved you and how I would always be there for you. My hope is that little Jasper gets there some day.

I miss you Shelby Lynne! I saw a penny at the store today and knew it was for me. Thank you for the signs … when I need them the most. There is nothing like a mothers love for her child … that is the gift you gave me … yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I love you Shelby Lynne!

Your mommy … always and forever!

Snuggles and kisses!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first outing as a family! Best day ever! I loved how Shelby would let me hold her like a baby!

My girl wasn’t feeling great here but she knew her mommy loved her and was there for her.

Paws and feet … together forever!

Comments (7)

4.8.14 – 4.8.16: Two Years An Angel

Two years. Twenty four months. Two winters, two springs, two summers, two falls. It just seems unfathomable to me. It is crazy how time moves so fast but moves so slow at the same time. I miss Shelby every day with every fiber of my being but life is less sad, less heartbreaking, less lonely. I do have the sidekick but I also have more peace.

Pam (Harmony’s mom) posted on the forums today about the chaos that cancer brings us and then the catastrophic stop to our journey when our fur-baby loses their cancer battle. I think that most accurately describes the journey with me and Shelby.

In the past two years, I have had plenty time to process, remember (more than I ever wanted to) every second of our cancer journey. It was indeed chaos. From the day Shelby broke her leg, our life really was forever changed even though we didn’t learn of the cancer for three more months. As a mom, I knew something was terribly wrong but since we  didn’t find the cancer then, I didn’t want to believe it. I have spent close to 2 years beating myself up for “shoulda, woulda, coulda” about that damn leg. Did I make the right decisions to plate not amputate? Did I wait too long once we found the cancer? Did I make a bad decision? Those questions can rock a person at their very core and cause the worst case of doubt and insecurity that filters into their normal life.

My life was on hold during our journey – I forgot how many events/ invitations / emails I turned down or ignored. My entire focus was Shelby and helping her heal while that evil cancer was fighting hard to take her from me.

And when she lost her battle – in what felt like a matter of 72 hours – we went from fine to not fine to really super not fine – I felt like I  had been hit by a train. And what was left was the dissolution of my former shell. Who was I without Shelby? What did that world look like? How could I go on?

How did I go on? I just did. I took each moment of each day by each second. I relearned to breathe. I still find myself holding my breath so hard as to not shake the balance of my life.

And then I was guided to the sidekick. And as we all know, love didn’t come easy for either of us. And I felt myself protecting her in ways I did with Shelby in the end. Putting her in a glass bubble as to try and make sure she was never injured, hurt, sick. The journey of cancer is never predictable and for someone who prides themselves on having a routine, that can throw a person’s whole world so out of whack, you think it will never level out again.

But here we are … two years have passed. While I cry less, I don’t love any less. I try and always remember the little things about Shelby that brought me so many smiles. We had such an easy love. There was never a question about our love story. It was just us. I find myself fiercely protective of her all the time but I defend our love less because I feel more secure. I know I did all that I could for her and she wants me to love and to smile and to be happy. That’s why she sent the sidekick.

Two years is a very long time but when I look back to where I was a year ago or even a month ago, I can see how far my grief process. I changed – 100% I changed. My appearance, my personality, my outlooks on life … but the core that is “ME” is still there. And the love and trust and compassion that I once had is coming out again. I know I will continue to heal. I know that my heart will continue to be open to give and receive love because I am guided by the spirit of Shelby.

In a perfect world, I would have the sidekick and Shelby by my side … but life is not perfect. Life is a process, a dance, a journey – not a destination. And when I get to that destination, that is the Rainbow Bridge where Shelby will leap and bound and jump into my arms and let me know that I am home. And I will hold her tight and never, ever let her go again.

So my darling Shelby … thank you for sending me love, light, energy every day for the last two years. I might update your blog a little less as my heart needs to open itself up for other things but know that I always love you and you are always with me. The 8th of each month will always be our day … because we are bounded by infinity. I love you, my sweet angel, my first baby, the love of my life, my best girl, forever in my heart and for all infinity.

My mom had this orb made for me. It was made with Shelby’s ashes in her signature purple!

Love this face so much! This was her “play with me mommy” face.

Mommy was injured and no running allowed but we could hike so we did!~ Taking a rest with my best girl. God I love that little face.

At this point, we had taken so many selfies… people started to think we looked the same! She was beautiful so I didn’t mind!

Beach girls .. always and forever!

Patient dog… she rocked the tiara – always!

Laughing girls~ Shelby was always smiling, always laughing, always happy!!!!

She loved all her toys! She was so spoiled and it showed.

Comments (11)

« Previous entries Next Page »

Mom2Shelby is brought to you by Tripawds.
HOME » NEWS » BLOGS » FORUMS » CHAT » FACEBOOK » TWITTER » RANDOM BLOG