A Year of Firsts…

26 Nov


One year ago tonight, I sat with my Mom for the last time.  I didn’t want to leave that night, but I did about 9:00.  I came home, fed the dogs and pretended I was tired.  I went to bed but I had the gut feeling that I should go back, but I didn’t.  About 1:40AM, I woke up for a brief moment, looked at the clock and rolled back over.  Less than 30 minutes later, I got the call that she was gone.  I’m pretty sure that she let me know that she was leaving at the moment I woke up…

I still kick myself for not going back that night…more and more in the last couple days.  When I left, I told her that it was ok to go and that I would make sure Dad is ok.  Not sure if she waited until we were gone or not, but it still eats at me.

Thanksgiving marks the last of the firsts without Mom.  It started with Christmas last year, her birthday, what would have been Mom and Dad’s 50th Anniversary, my birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day and the list goes on.

Once again I went up to the mall on Thanksgiving evening…not really for the sales, but just to escape.  I held it together more than a couple years ago, but it’s still hard to see families so excited about the upcoming holidays.  Holidays just aren’t what they used to be.  I walked, people watched, bought a couple things and went home to the dogs.

Mom’s been back to visit 3 times that I have realized in the past year.  You may or may not believe in it, but when it happens…it’s really real.  Last Sunday when I was conducting  “The Four Royal Dances” which happens to be a piece I’ve conducted many times before.  During the second movement “The Lady”, an image came to me of my mother in a white dress dancing and smiling.  I smiled, held back some tears and continued conducting knowing my Mom was at the concert that evening.


The dogs have been my savior this year.  After loosing my special Noodle the 1st week of January,  Bria and the two springers (Sghetti and Gnocchi) and I took a couple of long road trips.  There’s a lot of time to think when you’re driving!  The first was to Florida for some beach time before heading back up to Georgia for AKC Nationals.

The second was out to Portland to see a good friend.  The ocean and the mountains are my friends.  I got to see both on that trip.   The mountains are my great escape, I just wish I could have spent more time out there.

The stages of grief are real, the daily struggles are real.  To have real good intentions to get something done and then coming home and doing nothing is real.  The mess on the dining room table is real, it will get done at some point.

In October, a little angel came my way…Vino!

I wasn’t looking for a puppy, I wasn’t even thinking of a puppy but sometimes things happen in mysterious ways.  As soon as I saw the picture of him on the slide, I thought…I want that puppy, but I’m not ready for a puppy.  I sent Stacy a message saying just that.  As soon as I sent that, tears started flowing uncontrollably from my eyes.  I guess I was ready for a puppy.  Less than 48 hours of seeing that picture, I was on a plane to Arizona to bring back my little angel.


Photo by Kathleen Riley – Riley Photography

The pack is back to 4 and tomorrow starts year two…


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