More Grief, Where Will I Put It?

Anya, my dog, and I were out for our daily afternoon walk in the hills of our neighborhood. We usually take the same route as she likes the routine and often leads the way. As we walked by one of the houses set higher on the hill, we saw the ivy beneath the house move and heard a noise like something was hiding in the foliage. Rats are attracted to ivy and often live within so I didn’t think much of it other than the movement seemed bigger than that of a rodent. Anya and I kept walking.

A block away I saw one of my neighbors. She was very distraught. She said “did you see a black and white cat? He’s a house cat, eleven years old, and has never been out in the world on his own.” I said “No, but I saw and heard movement in the ivy of the front yard of a house around the corner. I remember exactly where it was. Let’s walk down there.”

This is the same neighbor that a week earlier got a cancer diagnosis on her beloved thirteen year old dog, Norman. She decided to make Norman as comfortable as possible with medication, but no cancer treatments. As we walked she had tears in her eyes and told me that the bad news of Norman and now the possibility of losing her cat were devastating.

We got to the house and she called for her cat in the voice she always uses when looking for him. All was quiet. We walked back up the hill and I said good-bye and promised to keep an eye out for the cat. My neighbor said if she didn’t find him by nightfall she never will as we live in coyote territory.

While walking home I thought that cat would never come out with me and my dog standing there. After getting home and getting Anya settled with her dinner I decided to walk back to the place where I heard and saw something moving in the foliage. If I was alone maybe the cat would come out. Before leaving the house I heard the ping of a new email coming through on my phone. I opened the email and it was from my neighbor. She went back, alone, to the exact spot I showed her and called and called for the cat. This sweet boy came running down the hill and jumped into his mother’s arms. She was emailing to thank me.

I called her and through her tears she said “there would have been no place to put any more grief if I lost my cat.”

Her dog, Norman, is terminally ill, and even though we are not in the middle of a hurricane, wildfire, or among the concert goers in Las Vegas dealing with lost loved ones and trauma, we are all grieving for those that are. A personal loss just adds to the grief we all carry.

Where do we put it? How do we make room for it?

Be for each other. We’re all in this together. When we help each other, we’re never alone.

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Be Memorable

bE unIquE—bE mEmOrAblE—this is what truly makes you human.

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Poetic Illustrations

When you read poetry don’t articulate, just experience. Same thing with poetic illustrations, let it happen to you and see what you will.

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Every Day

I create a simple ritual or routine to help me stay motivated…and do it…every day.

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KINDNESS, It’s Contagious

Kindness is not only contagious, it matters, and it makes a difference.

I had a different story prepared to tell you however after waking up to the news of another American horror story of one more senseless act of violence, my other story seemed trite and meaningless. I will save it for a slow news day.

Watching the news and hearing the stories of the Las Vegas concert goers, those that survived, I felt the pain for the friends and families of the victims. Although we have been here before this time it seemed worse as the number of victims was so much greater. I was touched by one man who told the story of his friend who had been shot at the concert. He decided not to wait any longer for an ambulance. He put his friend in the back of his pick-up truck along with two other injured people and headed to a hospital. They saw an ambulance on the way and got professional medical help immediately. One of the victims died while receiving medical attention. The man helping out didn’t know the victim, but wanted his family and friends to know that their son, brother, nephew, friend didn’t die alone. Someone was with him from the time he was shot until he passed.

Getting on with my day I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up some groceries. The checker helping me was a young man, I would guess between 25 and 30 years old. He asked how my day was going. Normally I would say just fine and return the question. Today I chose to be honest and say “upset by what happened in Las Vegas.” He asked me to sign the credit card receipt and said he would be right back. He came back with a bouquet of flowers and handed it to me, and said “I hope this makes you feel better.” I looked at him, smiled and put my sun glasses on so he wouldn’t see the tears in my eyes. I went to my car and remembered I had a gift card for a free frozen yogurt from a yogurt shop in the same complex as the Trader Joe’s. I grabbed it and went back to the store and gave it to the young man and said thank you. He smiled and seemed embarrassed, and went back to his next customer.

The shooter’s brother said his brother was unremarkable. He lived a quiet, normal life and was just a “guy”. The first responders and the guy with the pick-up truck in Las Vegas and the checker at Trader Joe’s were likely just guys too, sensitive guys being kind. I find them remarkable.

I passed on the kindness in a small way, honoring the man in Las Vegas with this story and giving the gift card to the checker at Trader Joe’s.

One kind act at a time, it helps, it makes a difference, and it is contagious.

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Any worthwhile journey…

I accept challenges as part of any worthwhile journey.


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Is it: Kind? Necessary? True?

The other day I was walking my dog in the neighborhood hills where I live. A woman I didn’t know stopped me and said “I see you walking a lot, and I remember you had a different dog, a black and white one.” I said “yes, she passed away 20 months ago.” The woman said “you walked her to death, are you going to do the same to this one?” I smiled, sort of, I did the best I could and honestly what I thought and what I said are two different things. I said “she was 14 years old and lived a long, happy life with me.” Surprised, the woman said “That’s pretty good.”

 I didn’t pay attention to where she lived and have no idea if she has a furry friend. If she does, I surely would have seen her walking with the dog, or maybe she does and chooses not to walk her dog.

 Research shows that most dogs as they get older gain weight, mainly due to a lack of exercise. It also causes frustration and anxiety for the dog. It’s just like people; exercise is one of the great healers, stress relievers, and something we, as individuals, can do to keep the doctor away.

I could have reacted negatively to the woman and her unsolicited comment however I have trained myself to do three things when something upsets me or even when I am not feeling well physically.

  • Wait it out (don’t respond impulsively or negatively)
  • Exercise (in this case, keep walking)
  • Stay positive and optimistic (I believe most people wouldn’t make an insensitive comment like that, so I let it go)

 Try it; it will work for you too.

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A happy body generates happy thoughts. I keep moving.

Start_End 1

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It’s Your Time!

It’s your dream. It’s your time. Get started.

DoWhat you Love

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Grace, It’s Amazing and Everywhere!

By definition, grace is kindness, favor, goodwill, or fortune. What it’s not is luck.

I was visiting family in Milwaukee, WI over the 4th of July holiday. It’s a beautiful time in the Midwest with impromptu rain showers while the sun is shining. The effect of this is lush green grass, beautiful flowers, and balmy nights. I loved it!

Of course, spending time with family is always the high point of any visit. With the age range of my extended family being nine months to ninety years it’s fun all around with many cherished moments.

Within a few days it was time to head back to my life in Los Angeles. While my dad and his wife were driving me to the airport, they saw a yellow minivan driving next to us on the freeway. They recognized the driver as the man who has a small business as a personal driver that they use when they travel. They tried to get his attention to wave hello, but he was naturally focused on the road.

Suddenly my dad noticed his car was not accelerating while he kept his foot on the gas pedal. The engine was whining and a faint smell of burning gears became apparent. He put his hazard lights on and exited the freeway safely at 20 mph!

Now what? Call the dealership for an emergency service call? Get a cab to take me to the airport so I can make my flight? Wait a minute, they saw their driver on the road a few minutes earlier. Quick thinking and a call to the driver got the driver to turn around and pick me up at the side of the road and get me to the airport on time. My dad’s car, after resting for a few minutes, started and he drove directly to the dealership for service. The dealership gave them a loaner car and they headed home.

What are the chances of seeing their personal driver on the freeway just before an emergency? Was that luck? It’s grace, amazing grace. It’s all around me every day, all day, if I just notice it, be grateful for it and appreciate it. If I do that it keeps coming my way!

Try it. It will work for you too.

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