Two Years Gone

On this, the eve of the two year anniversary of my dear friend’s passing, I’m re-posting the story I wrote about her, about us, the day after she left this mortal coil.

Before you read this, please call or text that one person you’ve been meaning to reach out to. Take that time. Even if it’s been a while and you think it will be awkward, use me as an excuse– tell them Denise, your favorite blogger, told you to call.

Then, come back and read this.

Goodbye, dear friend.

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What Wouldn’t You Do?

2016 is nothing but consistent.  It has been tough for many people in many realms.  The loses of loved ones, furry and non, world-famous and family-famous, continue.  The heartbreak is palpable.

Last December, a colleague of mine from the elusive day job adopted a rabbit from us.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure how this would all go down; I didn’t know her well and didn’t know her family at all.  I stayed out of her adoption process in my continual quest to keep day job and rescue life separate.  From the day she took our Andy home, she and her family became the perfect bunny family.  I was overjoyed.  I guess from the number of abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits we deal with, I’m apt to expect the worst from people.  Andy’s new family immediately poured on the love.  They renamed him Buddy.

Every day at work, Buddy’s mom would show me pictures and videos and regale me with stories of Buddy’s adorable mischief.  My favorite story, which came with pictures as well, was when Buddy’s human sister was packing to go off to college—Buddy let himself into her room and unpacked her bag of shoes, tossing each boot, shoe and slipper across the room.  He clearly wanted her to stay home with him!

Yesterday, I was in a class when I noticed a missed call and voicemail from Buddy’s mom.  I didn’t need to check the message; I knew something was wrong.  Since I couldn’t talk, I tapped my mentor and rescue director M to contact Buddy’s mom.  Buddy didn’t jump for his breakfast or treat (he’s normally a food monster!) that morning so his mom had already brought him to Catnip and Carrots (yet another reason I love having a vet that is open 7 days a week and takes emergencies 24/7 for clients).  They were keeping Buddy and suspected something was up with his liver.  Something just like sweet Sylvia faced a few months ago.

By the time I got out of class, it was determined that Buddy was facing liver torsion, usually fatal, only possibly fixed by a very risky and VERY expensive surgery.  If you know me, you know I always come from a mind state of abundance.  When the cost of this surgery was being discussed, I paused.  Money would not be a deciding factor here.  Money can always be made or raised or scraped together.  If there was a chance to save Buddy, I would figure out the finances.  His family was not looking for someone else to pay the bill—but I totally understand how someone may hesitate to plunk down thousands of dollars for a surgery with such a low success rate.  For me, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my boys.  So I told M to tell Buddy’s mom to forget the price tag, if that was something she was considering, and to follow her instinct and the advice of the doctors to make this decision.  They went ahead with emergency liver surgery late last night at another rabbit-savvy veterinary hospital, due to the day, time and nature of the surgery.

I awoke in the middle of the night to a text saying Buddy made it through surgery—a miracle for sure.  Another text soon followed.  Buddy had a stroke after surgery and passed away.  Buddy’s family is devastated.  A rabbit we rescued from a residential backyard just 15 months ago, fostered and loved, found a loving home then hopped over the bridge way too soon.  But I’m damn happy they tried the surgery.  Yes, it’s horrible that his family has a huge bill to pay and an empty litter box in their living room right now.  But what wouldn’t you do to potentially save your family member?

Binky free, Buddy. xo

andyadoption

Goodbye, dear friend.

Omitting names to veil the identities…

I became friends with J. during the summer of 2014.  Timing is everything, right?  A few years prior, when I was in search of an acupuncturist, L. gave me J.’s card… but I never called.  I don’t know why.  Then, in the summer of 2014, I started practicing yoga at the studio which was in the same building as L.’s massage/Reiki space.  There, I befriended D. and J.  Besides adoring them both in a professional capacity, D. a vivacious teacher of yoga and meditation and J. a skilled, attentive acupuncturist, we bonded in a sisterly way—my spiritual sisters.  J. is the one who also introduced me to Young Living, the oils that have at some times saved and at all times enhanced my life; D. and I are Reiki sisters, training under the same master.

Last summer, J. and her husband adopted two wonderful rabbits from the Long Island Rabbit Rescue.  They couldn’t have picked two more different rabbits.  Lilah, now Laila, is a diminutive white rabbit, tiniest ears I’ve ever stroked.  Rupert, now Rufus, is large in size and personality, brown in color.  They were to be bonded, but J. stopped bonding sessions early last fall.  I didn’t know why.  Sessions were going great.  Inconsequential now.  Rufus and Laila happily live side-by-side.  They are healthy.  They are gorgeous.

As fall and winter 2015 chugged along, contact with J. was sporadic.  I sensed she was “going through something” but when I asked, offered an ear, a shoulder, whatever, I was quickly shut down.  So I minded my business outwardly and inwardly created some stories as to what was going on.  Bottom line though, we hadn’t known each other long.  Maybe this was just her way.  I’m used to people floating in and out of my journey.  I’m used to be the connector, the initiator, so this wasn’t all that alarming to me.

When the calendars turned to 2016, the disconnect ramped up.  D. and I would joke: “Is she mad at you? Is she mad at me?  Who pissed J. off and now she’s not calling us back?”  I still had my acupuncture appointments.  We would still talk during the whole treatment.  Sometimes, J. would cry.  But again, she would not let on, not even a morsel, of what was up.  I had no choice but to shake it off.  It wasn’t about me.  And no matter what angle I tried, she wasn’t letting me in.  I respected that and minded my own business.  I did, however, squint when she wouldn’t take pre-payment for treatments anymore.  But, as we often do in our egos, assumed it was something I did—maybe she was hoping I’d stop making appointments?

On June 29th, I got a message that changed the game here.  M., who manages the space where J.’s office is housed reached out to me, asking if I’d heard from J.  She hadn’t been at work for the entire month.  Now I knew for sure the lack of communication wasn’t anything I or D. or anyone said/did/whatever.  Something was up.  I called D.  We hatched a plan.  After D. taught her class that evening, we would show up on J.’s front steps.  And we did.  My heart was pounding so profoundly as D. rang the bell—I imagined it bouncing out of my chest, cartoon-style.  J.’s husband answered the door.  I held my breath.  D. did all the talking—I think.  Moments of silence until we heard J.’s voice from inside the house say, “Let them in.”

Turns out, J. was battling a recurrence of a cancer that she had a few years prior, before I knew her, over this year of slipping away from us.  By the time she let us in, which I firmly believe she had no intention of doing until we ambushed her, the cancer was winning.  She couldn’t walk, sit up or smile.  She was embarrassed, angry, tired.  She shared some of her journey with us that evening, as D. and I sat on her kitchen floor (after I checked on the bunnies, of course.  They are both doing wonderfully.  J.’s husband is a saint, for her and for their animal-family members).  No one knew what was going on.  It wasn’t just D. and I shut out.

I firmly respect that choice.  I saw glimmers, as people started to find out what was going on, of the “You have to try…” or “You should be…” well-intentioned input from others that J. and her husband simply did not want.  And I don’t blame them!  These are two smart, well-researched, capable people.  They knew what they were doing and choosing at this point.  And sure, there are some who think it was “wrong” for J. not to tell even siblings of hers what was going on.  But I think she was right, as long as that’s what she wanted.

As the summer bounced on, I saw J. a few times.  I texted her every other day but rarely got a response.  On Thursday, my text read, “Would you like a visitor today?”  On Friday, J.’s husband responded and we decided I would come visit on Saturday, yesterday.  I spent a nice chunk of my day there.  It was as lovely as it could be.  We laughed.  It wasn’t all laughs though, but I’ll respect my ultra-private friend and keep those details to myself.  While we were on the couch, J.’s husband mentioned that the rabbits needed their nails cut.  My outstanding mentor and rescue director dropped everything she was doing and drove the 45 minutes there to give Rufus and Laila a little spa day, nails, grooming, snuggles.

I left, saying I love you and I’ll see you soon—all intentions to drop by Sunday or Monday.  An hour or so after I left, I got incredibly tired.  I attributed that to being drained from the day, an energy dump from an emotionally-trying afternoon.  Shortly after that, I got a phone call from M.  J. passed away.  Somewhere over the rainbow…

We shared dinners, lunches, yoga classes, Young Living meetings and knowledge, bunny stuff, acupuncture sessions… and above all this, love.  J. is a true trailblazer, an inspiration.  My lesson, one of my many treasured take-aways from our short, yet deep friendship: Follow your bliss.  If you aren’t happy at your job, in your relationship, in the chair you’re in, whatever, get up and change it.  Don’t wait.  Don’t “but what if…”  Don’t do what anyone else thinks you should do.  Do what makes you feel alive.  Do what makes your heart sing and your soul crave more of that thing.

I just love you J.

On Purpose

I thought I was going to write about something completely different today… But as I sat down, clicked the diffuser on and powered up the laptop, I realized I hadn’t tore off today’s calendar page.  I have a Dr. Wayne Dyer page-a-day calendar on the mess I call a desk.  I usually tear the page in the morning, but I didn’t today.  I did it just now.  And it says: “Purpose is about giving to yourself unconditionally and accepting what comes back with love, even if what comes back is not what you anticipated.”

Purpose

Yesterday, I spent part of my afternoon covering an extra shift of “bunny chores” at our main foster home.  Clean, vacuum, feed, love, repeat. Another volunteer, Nicole, who is beyond generous with her time on a regular basis, joined me for some extra help.  We both have typical “day jobs” with the standard Saturday and Sunday off.  We both have significant others, significant families and significant relaxing to do.  Now, I can’t speak for Nicole, but I felt more alive, more in my truth for those 2 hours yesterday than in most moments I have at “work.”  Tending the rabbits is my Purpose.  Sometimes I get gentle bunny kisses out of it and of course, I relish in the amazing feeling when we help make a family complete through adoptions, but what I really “get” out of what I do through Rescue isn’t in this dimension.  At all.  Nicole and I haven’t talked about it, but I can sense that she “gets” it too.  She’s an Earth Angel, whether she knows it yet or not.

After those chores wrapped up, I headed over to set up an education visit.  A family contacted us about their rabbit, whom they perceived to be “aggressive.”  Note: unless you are Romaine lettuce, a rabbit is not aggressive toward you.  The family thought they needed to rehome him, but I sensed from their email that they were open to trying to make things work—this wasn’t the typical “We don’t want this thing in our house anymore” dumper email.  I offered to have volunteers visit the family, check out their set up and offer some care and handling advice.  When I put out the call for help on our end, Lisa and Jo were amongst the ones who offered.  Lisa and Jo successfully rehabbed the “aggressive” Captain so I knew they were the right volunteers for this visit.  I am ever so grateful that I was able to get this education visit started and leave Lisa and Jo to do their magic.  Sometimes, Rescue can feel like a one-woman-show (with NO disrespect to my fellow volunteers!  You know there are far more tasks to do than there are volunteers to accomplish them!).  From what I hear, the visit went well; the family is relieved and armed with techniques to care for their bunny boy.

If you would have told me that this is what I would do with my free time in my adult life, I would have recommended you seek help for your crazy thoughts.  But even just writing about this stuff awakens my heart, uplifts my energies, makes every cell in this 5’4’’ frame shake with power.  I feel so blessed to have found my Purpose.  I’m proud of myself for being open to it, for taking the opportunities afforded to me, for saying yes whenever I can.  Yours is out there, I promise.  I didn’t invent mine; I didn’t seek it out.  It found me and I let it fill my soul.  Hop your path, binky into your truth… on Purpose.

And I just realized, that’s Magnify Your Purpose wafting from the diffuser.  Powerfully delicious.  Have a fulfilling week, darlings.

Magnify

It’s a Celebration…

I love my birthday.  As cheesy as that may sound, I just love celebrating me.  And I always have.  I am proud of myself for embracing my gifts (meaning my abilities… not the adorable bracelets I got last night!).  I embrace getting older, too.  I never feel anything but great about the advancing numbers.  I have my mother to thank for that.  She turns 60 this year.  Her unpretentious confidence is an inspiration to women of all ages!

When I celebrate me, it just comes naturally that I celebrate those who are hopping this path with me.  I was born on March 30, 1982, my uncle’s 16th birthday.  I consider him my best friend, my guide, my brother.  Besides my parents, he and his other half spent more time with me than any other person growing up, so I credit them with raising me just as much as I do my parents.  We always celebrate our birthdays together.  Even this year, as Stephen turned 50, we shared a cake with both names on it.  In some ways, we feel like twins, 16 years removed.

cake

Happy 50th Stephen… Happy 34th me.

Every year, I coordinate some sort of celebration for my day with my friends– some years with more classic revelry than others but always uplifting.  Last night, I was blessed to sit at the head of a table, flanked by the most beautiful souls.  Thank you ladies, and the Chris’s who love them, for being there with me.  When I sat in meditative reflection this morning, I saw our table from last night.  My mind’s journey took me around the table where I handed each of my friends in attendance a yellow rose, that classic symbol of friendship.  I treasure you ladies, boundlessly.

I carry my Kindle with me almost everywhere and I often glide through the electronic pages of Doreen Virtue’s Angel Numbers 101, the reference book for numbers we see and numbers that resonate with us.  So before I sat to write this morning, I looked up Virtue’s “translation” of the number 34, the age number that I earned last Wednesday and celebrated thoroughly for the last 8 days:  “34 Your prayers are heard and answered by the angels and ascended masters, who are with you right now.”

Damn right.  Cheers to my 34th and to my earth angels, those with furry tails and those without!

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