loss

Missing "Woo" -- Family/Pet Remembrance Thread

Crossposted to DailyKos. Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2010-11-07 10:50:39 -0500. -- GH

Missy the Malamute -- aka "Missy Woo" aka "Missydog" aka "Woo" aka "Woo-woo Girl" -- has been gone several years now, but we miss her presence every day. When I came across this tearjerker story about a dedicated dog who, 5 months after his owner died, still waits by the side of the road for his return, my memories of Missy and her phenomenal level of both dedication and intelligence came flooding back even more strongly.Hat-tip JRichards33 of DelphiForums Below the fold is one story of Missy's loyalty, and how -- in spite of that -- she was still an outspoken dog. Feel free to share your own story of dedication, loyalty and love in comments.

This remembrance is dedicated to all who have known, loved and lost special pooties and woozles, as well as those who still have their amazing pets to learn from, grow with and share their lives with.

Musical Deconstruction of a Life's Worth of Memories

Music and memory are both powerful influences on life; it's not surprising, therefore, that we can often find music and memories mixed throughout human history. In Part I: Stir of Echoes, I reflected upon the passing of my mother-in-law in light of several strange happenings around our house that suggest to us her continued presence and apparent intention to watch over us. I ended by describing how I'd assembled a playlist of music that helped me keep my memories of Mumsie alive by evoking that special stir of echoes that manifest within my heart whenever I hear certain music and melodies. This piece delves into the elements of the playlist and the memories each one embodies. By sharing it, I hope to further share the unique experience of knowing Mumsie as I had come to know her during the twilight of her years.

Stir of Echoes

Sometimes within the brain's old
ghostly house,
I hear, far off, at some forgotten
door,
A music and an eerie faint carouse
And stir of echoes down the
creaking floor.

      --   Archibald Macleish, "Chambers of Imagery"1

Hawkwife's mother -- my mother-in-law -- passed away December 19th, 2007, at the nursing home where she had lived for less than a year. I affectionately referred to her as "Mumsie" and had served as her primary caretaker from the day Wifey and I married until the time we moved her into the nursing home. Truth to tell, I continued the role even afterward, working to ensure due diligence in her care and facilitate understanding and communications between Mumsie, the staff and us.

The house felt quiet, somewhat empty, when we moved Mumsie to the nursing home. I felt somewhat empty, somewhat relieved, and a little as though I had betrayed not just a friend but a person who had grown to depend upon me to be there to help her.

There are so many ways to second guess the decisions one makes in life, regardless of whether it pertains to something major or minor. With major decisions -- those which impact not just your life but the lives of others -- the tendency to second-guess can explode exponentially into a multitude of "what-ifs" and "if onlys" until the mind and spirit strain under the weight.

We were spared some of this.

Some of it.

We missed Mumsie, but were no longer able to care for her at home without assistance, and we didn't qualify for the assistance we needed.2 It was the best thing we could do to ensure the high level of care we'd established for her, albeit at a cost of a level of interaction that I still regret today.

In the aftermath of her passing, as days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months, we've come to believe that she gently lingers with us in both memories unbidden and incidents of awkward recognition -- her life spirit, echoing through the halls of body, mind and abode. It is a reassuring feeling, comforting on several levels even while a touch spooky and otherworldly.

A Loss of Innocence: In Memory of "The Mayor"

Today, my nephew "TJ" would have celebrated his seventh birthday, surrounded by his family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He would be seven -- a lucky number -- if he had lived.

He died on February 20, 2003, two days before his second birthday.

After several years of uncertainty about how to post a story I'd written in his memory, I finally posted it last June.1

Now, as the anniversary of TJ's death passed two days ago and the anniversary of his birth dawns today, I feel that it is only right and fitting to repost the piece here, on the newly redesigned ePluribus Media community page, to both honor my nephew and to further remind folks just how precious the young ones are in our lives. They are the hope for our future; we are their best, last hope that there will be a future for them to inherit. The legacy we have left so far, within the first decade of a new century, is not exactly promising.

The significance of this was driven home, ironically, by Melody Townsel's scary encounter which she originally posted on DailyKos on February 20th.2 Her 8 year old child, playing in front of their home, was asked by a stranger to help look for his lost dog. The person could have been innocent, might have really been looking for a dog, and the flyers he claimed to have put up -- which were never found by the police checking into the matter -- may have been pulled down. The person may have shown bad judgement. However, the "lost dog" ruse has become popular of late, and it is also quite possible that the man intended harm.

It wasn't up to Melody to decide that -- it was up to her to respond to the situation in a manner that she felt was appropriate. She did, and then posted about it in order to remind parents of a very important lesson that parents should pass along to their children. It wasn't a cry out for a legacy of fear and distrust but a call for parents to ensure that they've instilled an important lesson for their children's safety.

No matter the reason, the loss of a child is as tragic and terrible as the birth of a child is wonderful and miraculous. We have, through our children, the direct potential for imparting our wisdom (such as it is) and hope for the future through sharing of our experiences, informing them about our past and educating them to the best of our ability to provide them with the tools they'll need to navigate through life's challenges successfully.

The story of my nephew's passing is sad, but the hope, love and laughter he still inspires is wonderful.

Please keep that in mind as you read the piece that follows.

Namaste.

Loss Of Innocence: Children, Strangers, Sickness and Death

It's now an hour into the new day.

I am still up, although soon to retire for the evening. My last online task tonight is to provide a comment, a reference and a reprint for parents, uncles and aunts everywhere.

Today, a very scary event occurred in the life of Melody Townsel, a blogger at DailyKos and a mother. She relates it here; I've asked her to crosspost it and offered to do so for her if she wishes. If she is gracious enough to provide it or permit it, I will then front page her piece -- it is that important.

The event that occurred will raise the hackles and form a ball of nausea in the pit of anyone's stomach.

A stranger approached her young daughter in front of their house today, and sought to entice the little girl to accompany him in search of "his lost dog." The child had the presence of mind to go inside and tell her mother that she was going to help find the man's dog.

Go read the story. Hug your own children; look in on them if they are already asleep, and kiss them gently on the head.

###

This story would have had a strong impact on me if it was any other day. Time-wise, "today" has become "tomorrow" -- but for me it's still "today," February 20th.

Today, the story hit me even harder.

February 20th is the anniversary of the death of a young nephew, two days before his second birthday. He died in 2003 from an undiagnosed viral infection.

The loss of a child is difficult -- horrible, in and of itself, regardless of reason. Losing the child to an unknown disease, unexpectedly, sucks massively more. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose a child to a predator.

I don't want to.

I tried to fathom it and failed. I can't try again, and I never wish to know.

Melody must be still be freaking, and yet thankful that her child came in to tell her what was going on. I'm thankful for that, too.

Please read her story. We'll bring it to folks here, too, as soon as it's possible. Regardless, share the story with your friends and family, and let them know that they ~must~ talk to their children about strangers -- help them, if necessary, if they have trouble explaining.

It's too important not to.

"As I Lay Dying..." -- A Farewell to Mumsie

The following is a stream-of-consciousness text that began next to Mumsie's bedside in the nursing home as she slowly passed from this mortal coil we know as life. My wife ("HawkWife") and I are the sole narrators.

There are no further pictures in the main content.