Farewell to 2014 and our last year together

I almost don’t know what to say … me, speechless? How is that possible? I cannot believe that 2014 is almost over. I cannot believe that I am going to wake up tomorrow and start a new year without you by my side. It doesn’t seem real. I don’t want this year to end because then it really means I do have to move on. I don’t know what year without you looks like. I held on to 2014 for sooooo long because it was still our time together.

You were my date on New Years for the longest time. I hate NYE – so much pressure to be something you’re not, go something expensive and be with people you don’t really want to be with. You always snuggled with me, maybe we shared a pizza, I always drank wine and bubbles. But at the end of the night – it was YOU that was there. And it was your face that I snuggled first thing of the new year.

The tears feel like they will never end today. I have tried so hard to be so strong (your kind of strong) but I can’t today. I am scared for the first time. I do not want to enter 2015 without you. I want to live and stay in the past. I can’t “be more dog” or “live in the moment” because those moments don’t include you.

I don’t do well with finality. I don’t move forward easily. I grieve for you, my baby girl. I grieve for what we had and the memories that the months ahead will bring as I relive those last days, weeks that we had. When you lost your leg. Your residence in my bathroom. The discovery of your mets. The holding my breath non-stop daily. I would forget to breathe. The seizures you had that would terrify me but no one thought anything of it – you were anemic. There was always something. The long hours spent at ACC. Their number on speed-dial.

If we have to go into 2015, can we just fast forward to April so I don’t have to relive those moments again? They are truly too painful to even think about.

I miss you, Shelby Lynne. So tonight, as I say farewell to your last year on earth, I hope that you will send me some strength to wake up tomorrow and be strong, be grateful and feel fresh with the new year. A new year with so many possibilities … I will try and channel your amazing spirit and remember that you live on in me in everything I do. I will remember this quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. – Dr. Seuss

NYE 2013
NYE 2012
New Years 2012
” The Love of My Life”

Merry Christmas Shelby Lynne!

Christmas will not be the same this year without you. My heart forever aches for you, your velvet ears, your little face, the way you would play (gentle) “bite the hand”. I spent the other night looking at old videos of you opening your gifts, playing! Oh how I wish I had more videos but even if I had a million, it would never be enough.

I’ll miss our annual “walk on the beach” with your festive attire. I never dressed up. It was all you – you were the show! You always made me so proud; such a good sport.

There is hole in my heart that will never be filled but each day I feel more and more confident that your spirit WILL live on forever. And you will not be forgotten. I come back to these forums daily. Because I need to be a support to those in this journey and because I need to keep your story alive. I have not and can not let go.

Till the day I take my last breath I will talk about you, remember you, love you with my whole heart.

The void is a little less. You sent me Jasper earlier this year and as much as I tried to put up a wall to protect myself, she broke that down. I do care deeply for her. Not in the same way I love and feel love for you but different. You knew that it would take me some time. You knew that I had a lot of barriers to overcome so that is why you sent her early so that by Christmas, my heart would be receptive to love and I would be able to try and enjoy the holidays a little bit. Always thinking, my best girl… always~ You knew Christmas would be even harder than it usually is so you were proactive. I love you for that.

This is the hardest Christmas since the one right after I lost my father. The lights don’t sparkle as bright. My heart feels a lot empty. And every time I hear “Silent Night”, I burst into tears! But I think because I have felt such significant loss in my young life (the loss of a parent), I am better equipped to handle the pain. People tell me I am strong. I guess I am. I am just feel sad. And I am OK with that. Because I know that eventually the sadness will pass and the happy memories we shared will come back.

Merry Christmas my sweet angel… thank you for watching out for me – always. I love you. To the moon and back and for all eternity.

Montage of our Christmas walks on the beach

Shelby’s spirit lives on in holiday cookies

Shelby, my love, the holidays have been wicked hard for me this year. You know that. You’ve been visiting (I assume). You saw me cry most of Saturday and Sunday I was useless. BUT I did bake the holiday treats I planned to take to your vets and nurses to close up the year. I wanted (needed) closure on this hard year. I needed them to see that I was OK (I assume they actually think about us). I needed them to meet little Jasper Lily … in case, heaven forbid she ever need their services. And most of all, I needed to thank them, from us, for ALL they did for you and us.

Dr. Turner, your oncologist wasn’t in today (how could I forget she doesn’t work Mondays). But the nurses recognized me and remembered you. Of course they did. You were SO happy all the time.

I walked next door to Advanced Critical Care – the place I spent hours, in the lobby, in waiting rooms with you, on the phone with. The first face I saw was dear Andrea. You loved her. And she loved you so much. She was SOOOO happy to see me (and to meet little JL). She said she still has your photo on the wall by her desk! You were so loved by them. They all remembered you and believed that you had a paw in sending me little Jasper. It was a lot for Jasper to take in; but she took it like a champ. She has very big paws to fill (they told her) but she was great. She was friendly and not scared. You were guiding us both.

As I drove up, it was eerily familiar yet I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be. It wasn’t as hard. It was as though you were right beside me, giving me your strength, guiding me, helping me. You are with me. Always. I know that. I know you will always come when I need you the most.

I feel a sense of peace. I feel calm. I feel content. I still miss you so much every single day. I look at your photos daily. I talk to you daily. I tell you I love you daily. But I know that I can and will go one. Not to say I won’t still have horrible days but I feel your strength and the message you are sending me to be #shelbystrong.

As we wind down 2014, the hardest year since I lost my father in 1997, I know that I will be able to go on. I know we will be together again and I can wait. You will wait for me. You are always with me but you will wait until we are in the same space again. And I know you will be the first to greet me when I cross over.

Until we meet again, my love … I miss you. I hope you get lots of toys for the holidays. I hope you know that I am trying really hard to cry less and celebrate our amazing life together. We had so much fun!

Merry Christmas, Shelby Lynne! Your mama loves you – to the moon and back and for all eternity!

Christmas day 2013
Santa was very good to you this year – 2012
Your new bed and tons of toys – 2011
Christmas 2010

Shelby’s Annual Santa Paws photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll keep this brief and let the photos speak for themselves. Shelby was the world’s most patient, kind and loving dog. I put her in the most interesting (and probably uncomfortable outfits) but she took them all in stride.

I missed a couple of years but for the most part, Shelby always got her Santa photos. Oh to be in the mind of a dog and know what she was really thinking with the antlers, the dresses, the bows. The ones where she looks truly pissed are among my favorites since I don’t think Shelby had a mean bone in her body and she always got so excited when I would pull out her outfits.

It became my favorite time of year – the date I would mark on our calendar so we wouldn’t miss it. In 2011 I was traveling so much for work, I almost did miss it and begged my neighbor to take her. He declined and thankfully my work schedule permitted us our annual photo day.

Shelby and I started a new tradition a couple years after moving to the beach. What started off as a Christmas walk on the beach (you can’t beat 80 degrees at Christmas), became a tradition; another chance for her to wear her dress and spread some cheer. Even last year when her leg was bugging her, we made the trek to sit on the beach.

Oh Shelby … I miss you so much this time of year. We had the BEST holidays. Love of my life – it will never be the same but thankfully, the photos, the videos and the memories will forever warm and comfort my aching heart. I hope you are wearing a set of antlers just for me! Mommy loves you – to the moon and back and for all infinity.


Her first Santa photo! 2002
Her first Santa photo! 2002

















Rare sighting of Mrs. Claus too. 2003

















Santa, 2004












Santa 2006

















That face! Seriously - she wasn't that angry.
That face! Seriously – she wasn’t that angry. 2008





















Santa – 2009












Santa 2010
















We had to do it twice this year since we weren't happy with the first pics
We had to do it twice this year since we weren’t happy with the first pics (2010)
The face says it all…., 2011
Her pretty dress
Her pretty dress, 2012













We didn't know it would be our last Christmas but this truly was one of her best photos. Loved her plaid dress.
We didn’t know it would be our last Christmas but this truly was one of her best photos. Loved her plaid dress. 2013
Just a dog on the beach spreading holiday cheer, 2012













Velvet! Sparkles here too.
Velvet! Sparkles here too.













One of her favorite dresses
One of her favorite dresses













Home in Seattle 2004





















In New Orleans - the best set - ever!
In New Orleans – the best set – ever!














On the beach, 2011


On the beach, 2012


Eight months an angel

Oh my sweet baby … eight months since you earned your wings! I hope you are using them well! It is the holiday season here and you know much I detest the holidays! Grinch is an understatement! The month between Thanksgiving and the first of the year always brought me into a dark place and you were my ray of sunshine. Our annual Santa photos. Getting you presents and wrapping them up. Watching you unwrap your presents. Taking our Christmas walk on the beach while we watched you spread some cheer in your Christmas dress of the year! Just basking in life. You knew how to live life to the fullest and make each day a gift and recognize how special it was.

I cannot believe in one short month, on January 8th, it will be the month that you lost your leg. Such my brave girl. I’ve looked back on old videos from last December and you did walk with a limp, a little slow. I hope you know that I always put your best interests first and I didn’t realize how lame that leg had really come. I am sorry I didn’t notice it earlier.

I remember last holiday season, I spent every night with you. I asked “Santa” to make you healthy as we were already a few months into our cancer battle and you had gotten a couple treatments of chemo. We had gotten clear X-rays … no mets! The best gift ever. I felt that you were going to win this battle but looking back, you stayed strong and happy for ME to help get me through these horrible months that I hate so much.

You always – still – show up just when I need you. This weekend, I saw two pennies at the cash register at Petco … those were definitely from you! And last night, I saw a single gem on the floor … it had traveled really far from where it was so I knew you helped place it there so I would see it and feel you. You know how hard these anniversaries are on me and how with each month, I feel you slipping farther and farther from my grasp. I struggle to hold onto your spirit and your love because if I can’t feel it, it wasn’t real.

I have changed, Shelby Lynne. Definitely changed. Not good or bad just different. There will never be another love like ours. And there shouldn’t be. We had the greatest love of all time. You taught me to be a “mom” and I channel that every day. You taught me to love. Not just love for the sake of love but love in the way you let your walls down and allow your heart to be filled with all things good. You taught me to see the best in people. You taught me to trust. And trust that while I still feel tremendous sadness and pain, there are many more days that I celebrate the great things we did together. All the ‘firsts’ I had with you, have helped get to me the place I am now.

I am older, I am wiser, I am definitely more jaded. But I still believe in hope. And in love. And in positive thinking. I will reach for your strength over the next couple of weeks to get me into January … and then when I relive all our ‘firsts’ of that as we inch closer to that dreaded angelversary. I don’t cry as much for you … I hope you don’t mind. You are still the first thought I have when I wake up and the last before I go to bed. I still talk to you all the time. But my tears have tried up. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love or grieve any less … it MUST mean that your strength has fully entered my heart and my soul.

I am serious when I say I feel your strength and power every day… I love you, Miss Shelby Lynne. I miss you every day.  I cannot wait till we are together again. #loveofmylife #shelbystrong

Christmas Eve 2013. All I asked Santa for was a healthy and happy Shelby.
Present time!
Worlds. Most. Patient. Dog.


Love this face more than life!