Tag Archives: grief

Only A Dog: In Honor of Sheela


the manzanita trees,

wet with welcomed rain,

the earth in singing relief,

this spring,

the streams are full.


My sister goes hiking now,


her friend,

a dog named Sheela,

has left for other lands,

places we don’t always believe in.


Has she gone to the spirit world?

Her love and loyalty for my sister,

so clear,

so deep,

transcending death?


Will my sister’s heart,

so broken now,

ever find enough solace?


She was only a dog.


Only a dog,

whose friendship took my sister high,

into trails that lifted her soul,

when she needed it most.


This grief,

brings on others,

the power of its unleashed force,



There will be healing.

There has to be,

but it won’t come easily.

For my sister and Sheela

shared that mysterious bond,

that took them beyond


and definitions.


The streams are full.

My sister will go alone now.

And if she believes,

Sheela will be running alongside her,

among the manzanita trees,

wet with welcomed rain.


Run on, dear Sheela.


Run on.


Hugo and Sassafras


And there we were,

into the woods,

the brook,

the meadow,

our hearts overflowing into the open wild, 


 in search of nothing more,

than what we could discover,




I let them go,

to other hands and hearts,

as life does,

they went that way,

I went another.


In stories and visits,

I saw them thriving:

eight years of glory.


Two phone calls,

within months of each other, 

genetic balls of cells,

carrying them both away.


Buried now, 

near each other.


Those of us who loved them,


in deep,

gifted in that loving.


I see them still:


into the woods,

the brook,

the meadow,

and someday,

I will follow.


                                                        Hugo and SassafrasIMG_8716

Among Them

What I would have said to you,

is how magnificent,

your mind,

your heart,

the way you see,

the way you feel life,

laughter like raining crystals,

the way you narrow it down,

to an essence.


Your eyes,

keen and bright,

seeking nothing more,

than the purest of light,


leading to love.


Nothing wasted,

there wasn’t time,

never enough,

and when you died,

forty years ago today,

my heart grabbed hold

of what was left of you,

and now,

awake early again,

in the deep morning tide of bird song,

I stop to listen,

and imagine,

your voice among them.


My Sister’s Cat: In Memoriam: Smokey

11032008_1057867660931110_5827586296655254323_nJust a cat.


Long-haired and gray,

no markings of distinction,




And like his name,



and then slipping away,

but always there,



Just a cat.



in noble fashion,

as if called,

as if needed,

his smooth countenance,

softly reaching,




Just a cat.


And now,

really gone.


We don’t know why,

or how, 


find their way into

the tender holds

of vulnerable,


and intimate grace.

We open to them,

without thinking.

They enter,

without demanding.

They breath

alongside us,

and like smoke,

sweet smoke of sage,

or prairie grass,

their breath becomes,

part of the air we breathe.


What a cat…………….






My First Sister


I don’t remember

exactly how I felt

when Katie came.

Barely two,

I am sure,

that suspicion

mingled with joy,

joy winning out.


Ever since,

Katie stays close,

although she lives

too many miles away.


I was cruel,

when we were young,

the teasing I inflicted,

maybe normal,

as sister fare,

but I am still



We’ve come through

the deepest loss,

sharing grief

that sisters know,

daughters, too.

And when we say goodbye,

after yearly reunions,

I’m always blasted by

the void left

by her absence:

there’s never enough time

any more.



gives without glitter,

without noise,

her wisdom necessary.

As I rant,

she affirms.

As I cry,

she allows.

As I laugh,

she comes with me,

and that is when

I must be remembering,

in my bones,

being two,

discovering that,

(once past the suspicion),


was going to be,

my first sister.

IMG_0237Happy Birthday, Katie O!

Our Mother, Gone: Part II; Thank You, Julie Andrews

Our mother,




there she was:

a singing sister,

with spun gold hair,

tender blue eyes,


superior sewing skills.


Never depressed.

Never doubtful.

Never duplicitous.


Forever distant,

Forever perfect.


We sat and watched her sing

and smile,

from the huge screen,

over and over and over.

Dad obliged,

taking us to the movie theater,

a dozen times.

It was clear,

we needed some kind

of mother.


There were no photos

of mop-top boys

on my wall,



The void set by

your disability,

the one that

you would never


the one that

destroyed your

ability to love us,

had to be filled.


And it was.

Not entirely.

That perfect mother

would always be




I believe,

Julie Andrews,

helped us through,

to the other side


our longing.



The Stirring of Tears

I can not stop

the stirring of tears

that will come.

They are for her,

the one who is dying,

this little dog,

with brown eyes dimming.


And they are also for

all that has come before

this dying,

this goodbye.


My life,

crested with goodbyes.

The pattern of grief,

a map

that I have followed,

leading me here,


To this little dog,

with just a  flicker of time together.


our goodbye.


When the crying ends,

smiling  into the grief,

bright colors of love felt deeply,

for that little dog,

and everyone,

who has come before her.