If you’ve loved and lost a dog and are feeling the pangs of hurt a bit extra hard this time of year, I walk this road with you. Every now and again, though, I believe the dogs we have loved and lost send us a message from the Rainbow Bridge.
Some may call it coincidence, others may deem it “wishful thinking,” but in my heart and to the deepest core of who I am, I know I received a message from my beloved Brandy Noel, who passed away October 11, 2008.
This holiday season, Fidose of Reality launched a dog advent calendar with a twist. Instead of turning over a page to count down the days until Christmas, we featured a new dog in need every day during the Advent Countdown. Readers were asked to donate $10—even if one person took the time to donate $10, at the end of the Advent Countdown, dogs in need received $240, which we are happy to report we exceeded. The $10 amount can buy a dog a bag of food, contribute to a much-needed surgery, or provide some treats to a dog in need.
On December 24th, I decided to feature Brandy Noel as the $10 Dog of the Day—for anyone who loved and lost a dog—to donate in their dog’s memory. As I’ve written before, I view my grief as a suitcase. Some days it’s a cosmetics bag full and others it’s Samsonite gorilla sized. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a carousel in the airport waiting for the form my grief will take. Do I wait days or weeks before I tear up and ache so very much or is today a carry on kind of day where I just take it with me? In any event, I know my luggage always arrives and never gets lost. I’ve learned losing a loved one means gaining a new identity. Victim of grief, survivor of hurt, and eventually carrier of pain.
Do you ever wonder if somehow a deceased loved one can see you, hear you, or give you a message they are okay? Regardless of one’s religious and/or spiritual beliefs, someday we all will reunite with our deceased loved ones; for some, Heaven is a place, for others life ends with death. If you think about it though, you someday will “be” where your love ones are and in that same state of being or the lack thereof. Call that “state” or “place” what you wish, or deny that one exists, but I received a message from the bridge.
Some folks believe in the magic of “Pennies from Heaven,” that whenever they find a penny on the ground, this is the sign of a loved one communicating with them from beyond. I’ve never had this happen to me and I never prescribed to that line of hopeful belief. I would, but it just never resonated with me.
This past Saturday, December 29, I was telling a family member how I wish Brandy Noel could let me know she is happy with what I am doing, that she is okay and she knows how much I miss her. At some point, anyone who has loved and lost someone—animal or human—thinks these things.
And then it arrived. A little piece of heaven come to Earth.
A $10 bill in an origami form from a PR Agency arrived in my snail mail box. “What would $10 buy you today,” the postcard beckoned. “To someone in need, this $10 can mean a hot meal, a blanket, or a ride home.”
Ten dollars. My final $10 dog of the day was Brandy Noel. I asked for a message and wondered if she was okay and proud of her mama and all I am doing in the name of dog. $10 and I felt so very rich. My little girl spoke to me and crossed heaven and earth to do so.
Am I inferring? Maybe. Is this wishful thinking for a vulnerable broken heart? Perhaps. Highly coincidental? Indeed. Does my heart beat dog? Without a doubt.
Do I believe Brandy Noel sent me $10 guised as an origami bird as a message loud and clear from the bridge? You bet your bottom dollar I know this much is true.
So now Citizen Relations, the company who sent me the $10, asks what I will do with this money. I immediately knew: Paw it forward. My friend, June Myers, lost her Cocker Spaniel, Ziggy, much too soon this year, at the age of 10. In Ziggy’s name and so he can feel the love and another dog can be helped, I’ll be adding to the $10 and making a donation in Ziggy’s name to Moore Pawsabilities in Oklahoma City.
As I close out 2012 and look to 2013, I carry my little girl and her message with me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying through these keystrokes. I will, however, know that miracles do happen and sometimes they come to us in the most unique forms possible. It’s up to us to open our eyes, believe deeply, and embrace them.
As we close a year out, paw it forward. Take $10 or 10 minutes of your time and do something, no matter how small it seems to someone. It will make a difference. Be well, be positive, and be happy.