My Wish For You. by Coleen Ellis

Throughout the year, everyone will experience a variety of emotions based on life events and life experiences. From smells to seasons, the entire year is full of stark reminders of good and pleasant memories, or harsh reminders of lost loves and broken- hearted moments. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh blooming tulips to

transport one immediately back to fond memories of Easter, a whiff of perfume for a beautiful reminder of someone special, the smell of fresh cut grass to say summer has arrived, or the smell of wheat to take an old farm girl right back to the fields. Or possibly it’s that first snowfall of the season, the time when

that silly Golden Retriever ran outside, laid on his back and wig- gled in delight, – creating the most beautiful doggie snow angel. Or the first time the Christmas boxes came out of the attic, only to find oneself in a heap of tears at the discovery of the grumpy, old, smelly cat’s ornaments, tenderly tucked away from a year ago, a time when the old normal was normal, and life’s book had not yet closed a chapter named Tiger. And then, there are just those “reminders.” It begins as a

normal day and for unknown reasons, the heart becomes heavy. With one glance at the calendar, the tears start as you are immedi- ately taken back to that day, one year ago or possibly many years ago, when you said good-bye to your special love. You remember the minutes like they just happened, you remember the smells, the air, the sounds. You remember it all like it was happening again. The depth of love for an animal can sometimes be as mysteri-

ous as the complexity of the grief felt when they die. And some- times, one doesn’t fully understand how much they loved that silly old dog or that crazy old cat, until the time comes when they are no longer physically present. All you know is you loved them; you loved everything about them. What is interesting about the animals that occupy a part of our

home and heart is the mere fact their whole purpose of being in our world is to love us. They won’t graduate from college and get good grades, solve world peace, or do anything more than love. They are only in our world to love us. Yes, their love can be mysterious, and the grief can be over-

whelming. But, here’s my wish for you throughout this entire new year. My wish for you is that you are kind to yourself;that you treat yourself like you would treat any good friend, with kindness, love, care, and compassion. Be kind to yourself and you allow yourself to fully love, and to fully grieve, for those amazing animals that have touched your human heart and soul. Allow yourself the time and space to honor those special loves that are now locked fully and for- ever into your heart. When you find yourself throwing your nose to the sky

because a smell sparks a memory, or you find a bit of hair that’s still hanging around all these weeks or months later, just smile. Honor the memory. Give yourself permission to shed a tear, and to remember. Stop for a minute, and be present to the beauty of that memory. Give yourself permission to remember, give yourself per- mission to feel, and give yourself permission to just “be” for a minute versus hurrying off to “do” your day.

it was all real. The life, the love and the chapter you shared. It was all real. Even in its amazing, glorious, mysterious way.

At the heart of all of this, is the permission to be reminded that U

People still ask about Cowboy, the beloved store dog at Fluffy Puppies Boutique & Grooming Salon in Clearwater. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2015. Photograph by Danette.

Coleen Ellis is a co-founder of The Pet Loss Center, growing across the country, now with three locations in Florida: Tampa, Miami and Melbourne. Offering pet cremation, pet burial and memorialization.

Winter 2018 THE NEW BARKER 67

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