Loss of a Furry Love

Loving car rides with his auntie and mumma to the park

This post is dedicated to all the lost pet family members of people out there, in particular to my Lincoln ♥. While this post may help others, I feel it is imperative on my grieving process to share about my baby.

A little bit about my furry best friend…Lincoln was my first dog and first pet as an adult on my own. Just before my previous marriage ended I went to the SPCA (now the Central Alberta Humane Society) and found this “stock in the back”. I say that with the most love as I went and checked out potential babes I just didn’t see any that clicked with me and while speaking to one of the ladies about a couple she mentioned that they had “Granger” (aka Lincoln) in the back who had just come off his medical hold. They brought him out and it was love. He was curious, quiet, and well mannered. I immediately filled out the info and came back the next day to do the formal meet and greet with the SPCA worker. He was so sweet, it was first thing in the morning because I have zero chill about things, and he hadn’t been out yet. Poor little guy peed on the couch and you could tell he immediately felt guilty and he came over to me and hopped on my lap.. I think my heart exploded right there. I knew he was my baby and I would be his protector, I would eventually come to see how he was mine as well.

I was so excited to go pick him up after the 24 hour waiting period, in my case 48 because of the holiday *fist shaking*. I went to pick him up by myself as my then partner was working. I was so excited and couldn’t wait.

My skinny little guy shortly after I picked him up

He was the sweetest boy and was so relaxed. He loved his walks, his mom snuggles, and being an “only child” dog. He would be okay with friends for awhile but you could tell he had his moments of “okay when are you leaving?” lol he was silly that way but it was just him and I for most of our time together.

As my marriage ended, him and I started anew in a house all our own. I remember the day we got the keys to our Lincoln and Mumma home. I brought his blanket and we sat on the floor in the living room and I had a little cry with my baby by my side. While he was never one of those dogs that was on you when you were sad, he was always there, within reach to comfort.

He had a million beds and blankets

We had our traditions and things just our way. Like I said it was him and I for so long, just us buddies. I miss his little smiling face at the top of the stairs when I would come home and say “where is my buddy” and then he would come running down to see me. I miss his silly runs, when he thought he was super fast but beside many other dogs I realized how slow he was but it just made me giggle. I will miss his crazy snow rolls, sometimes starting with a slide and roll. That will forever make me smile. I will miss his goofy sleeping with his teeth out and you knew he was having a good snooze. There are a million things I will miss and look back on fondly. I could write a book I’m sure.

Lincoln was my best friend, my baby, my little man, my big guy, and a million other names I called him – to which he responded because he was super smart. He was the best friend I could have asked for in a tough part of my life and I will be forever grateful for the time we had together, just me and my little buddy. I have never had so much sadness in my heart as the day we had to say goodbye to him, but it was his time and we could tell he was scared and didn’t know what was happening as he had DM, the equivalent of doggy ALS. I miss him so much every day, no one could ever replace him. Goodbye my sweet baby, mummy misses you and loves you so much, forever and always.

Favorite hello/ Hardest Goodbye (With images) | Pet picture frame

Stuck at home? Try Cooking!

While I’m on a roll of writing and with people being stuck at home I thought I would share some of my favourite recipes as of late. So here we go!

One of the things I like to do, and shared with some of my students that are moving out next year, is make a pinterest board called “This weeks meals” or if you are super ambitious you could do it for a month…I however am not that organized, nor can I predict my cravings that far in advance!

I found this super helpful because I don’t have to search through my hoards of pins to find exactly what I am looking for to make for dinner. It also eliminates the need for the question “what am I going to make tonight?” I always have a couple recipes to choose from and can rearrange if necessary.

Ribs

Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs | Southern Living
#girlheartfood – Easy Fall-off-the-bone Ribs Recipe (click the image for link)
*note: image is a public use image, not one I took, cause lord knows I am horrible at photos*

I have always been afraid to make ribs because I made them once, forever ago, and they did not turn out well. Needless to say I don’t think I ever made them again. While trying to differentiate my menu a bit I came across Girl Heart Food blog post and she is not lying that they are easy, fall off the bone, delicious ribs. You guys this woman is a genius and I highly recommend her ribs!

Pot Pie-ish

A baking dish with turkey pot pie and a towel and small dishes filled with herbs and salt
Just a taste – Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

This is a recipe I often repeat when I have leftover turkey or chicken. To me it seems easier than making crust and is super flavourful. It seriously delicious and heats up well the next day, there are only 2 of us in our house so we always end up with an excellent lunch the next day.

Wraps

The Londoner – Starlit spicy lemon chicken wraps

Alright people, these wraps are super quick and easy to make and are super delicious. If you don’t like spice that much I would recommend a bit less hot sauce as they tend to be on the spicy side but the creme fraiche and guac smooth it out. Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with IBS and my body hates me so I can’t use the guac anymore, yes tears of sadness. Regardless, it is still amazing. It is hard for us to find creme fraiche and watercress up here so we end up using sour cream and whatever greenery we can get. I have found watercress in the past and if you can get it, use it for sure! I highly recommend this for a quick weeknight dinner.

Crockpot Chicken

A simple way to cook whole chicken in the crock pot by using lots of fresh herbs and butter for an extra tender and delicious chicken with very little hands on prep time.
#blessthismess – Garlic & Herb Crock Pot Whole Chicken

So Costco had this 3 pack of whole chickens for $27ish dollars and how do you pass that up, really. So in my hunt for what to make with them I came across this little beauty. TRY IT, TRY IT NOW. Holy smokes was this ever easy and soooooo delicious. It was actually falling apart as I tried to take it out of the crockpot, and that my friends is this foodies dream. It was so tasty and so easy to make. I had actually forgot to deal with it in the morning before work but it probably took me 15 minutes to throw together and we had an awesome meal that night.

Cinnamon Buns – Gluten Free

ultimate gluten free cinnamon roll on plate with fork
Let them eat gluten free cake – Ultimate Gluten Free Cinnamon Buns

Just like my issues with ribs, I have shied away from making cinnamon buns because they never turned out well for me. This recipe however worked out lovely. In COVID days it is hard to come by regular flour and with my IBS I have been dabbling in the realm of gluten free more often. These are a definite a winner!

I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets 😉

Peace, love, and light
A.

COVID-itis 2020

I find myself longing to write again after quite a hiatus. Especially, in such a tumultuous time. It has been a crazy experience that we are all living through, together. I am trying to remain positive in the time of great distress and am grateful to live in a world where there is so much kindness.

I have seen so many people reaching out and offering supports in so many ways. Free at home fitness guides, free online support for student resources, drive by family photography, and so much more. In a time where people can be critical, blaming, and harsh, so many others have chosen kindness and it is beautiful to see. It makes me think of this quote:

In a world where you can be anything, be kind Poster by sampedler ...

I hope we come out the other side of this with more kindness to each other in general. More consciousness of the connections with people we have in our lives. When those things you take for granted are taken away you tend to understand how much they mean to you and how grateful you are for them. So when all is safe again remember to love a little harder, hug a little longer, and connect a little more often. In a busy, busy world it is time to slow down and understand how important connection truly is to us.

A single moment can change a life. Often... - Dr. Jody Carrington ...

Connection always make me think of the great Dr. Jody Carrington and her always inspiring talks and snippets of wisdom. She is arguable one of the best, if not the best, speakers I have heard in my time as an educator. She makes amazing points that we all need connection and I think that really makes a difference right now. As people are separated physically we are reaching out, now more than ever. People are video conferencing with friends, calling family, and connecting on every platform available. It is the connection that gets us through these times, not the stuff in our cupboards, the toys we have, or the money in our accounts. It is the ability to connect with someone you care about. I know I am going to strive to connect more with my people once this is all over because I know it makes a difference. Also, if you haven’t read her book “Kids these days” you absolutely must if you are an educator or important person in a child’s life, it is stellar.

Another thing getting me through is the ability to work out from home. A few years ago I made the commitment to myself to be more active, yes some days are easier than other. Hell some months are easier than others but I am forever grateful to one Claire P. Thomas, you guys she is absolutely amazing! I happened upon her instagram awhile ago and she has excellent workouts and fitness guides, I HIGHLY recommend her work. She seems like a genuine person who cares for people, which I wholeheartedly admire about her. Check out her website here.

🤭 Face With Hand Over Mouth Emoji

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy out there. Care about your people and take care of each other…. from a safe distance

Peace, Love, and Light
A.

A Childless Mother

I dread mothers day. Every year for the last 11 years. While people are posting their photos of them and their children I sit at home avoiding social media and the world at large.

It hurts. It hurts because I have been a mother 3 times over to babies I never got the chance to meet. I remember everything about those times so vividly, and while my long term memory is weak at the best of times those imprinted on my soul.

I always picture who you would have been my sweet ones.

And while I do not blame people for wanting to share their lovely mothers days, it is still a hard pill to swallow. It hurts my heart in a way I never thought it would hurt.

A friend and I were having a conversation today about how hard it is out there and how people seem to be so insensitive about the subject. And while I am thrilled for the people I care about that are lucky enough to have babies and to not have to struggle to conceive, I am acutely aware that there are women (and men) out there who are suffering in silence. Who so desperately want to hold their babies in their arms, and how their hearts break a little every time they see or hear an announcement.

As time has passed I have heard more and more stories about loss and struggles. Why do we hide this? Why do we suffer alone? As a 22 year old who was very introverted I dealt with my first loss alone, without the support of my spouse, who just didn’t get it. What I would have done to have been able to reach out and know that many others are going through the same thing. To not have felt completely alone and utterly destroyed from the hurt.

We, as a society, so desperately need to let others know that it happens, that it is okay to feel what you feel, and to know there is support. Part of that is being educated on what to do if it happens to someone you know. If you have ever been through something like this the “It wasn’t the right time”, “Everything happens for a reason”, “At least you know you can get pregnant”, “You can always have another one” are less than helpful. While it stems from love, it likely isn’t what that person needs. Empathy, an ear, a hug, letting them cry, ask what they need for support and be willing to sit in the discomfort to support your people. It sucks and it’s hard but they will be so appreciative.

If you are struggling, know you are not alone, you matter, and it is okay to feel what you feel. No matter how long after your loss, no matter how far you were along. Loss is loss. That is something I always struggled with, and still do, is that it was always an early term loss. I felt guilty for feeling so sad when there are women out there losing later term, having still born babies, or losing children they knew. It’s important to know that how you feel is how you feel.

One page I follow on social media is Callum’s Cause. She is absolutely amazing. I highly suggest you follow, even if aren’t from Alberta.

I think we all need to be a bit more sensitive around this topic. The incessant “when are you having kids”. “how many do you want”, “are you trying”, “do you want kids” can be overwhelming for someone who has suffered loss, is trying without success, or would love to have a family but things just haven’t worked out that way. Next time you go to ask someone, consider the story you might not know.

Connection & Kindness

A few things have been on my mind lately. The more I ruminate on them the more it comes to my attention that I am thinking about connection. Connection with loved ones, connection with strangers, connection with self.

First off Sean and I did a bit of travelling over the “spring” break. I have always been frustrated by the lack of respect/care/acknowledgement? of strangers. I am not really sure the best way to encompass it but I feel like as a society we are so engaged in ourselves that we forget we belong to the community at large. It seems that we have forgotten how to be good people to those around us.

I’m not sure whether that stems from the fact that we are perpetually in a state of “business” that we forget about others. I always think about the quote “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. I for one try very hard not to let the world at large know that I am having a hard time when it happens and a bit of compassion or kindness from a stranger can go a long way.

One thing that drives me nuts is when people do not do the courtesy wave when someone lets them into traffic . Something so simple to say thank you to a stranger for helping you out has so easily gone by the wayside. Why? Are we really in THAT much of a hurry that we forget our manners and basic decency to someone that helped us out?

All I ask is that if you are reading this, you make an effort to remember that a simple gesture of kindness and thanks can be very meaningful to someone.

Image result for be kind to others everyone is fighting a battle

With Sean leaving for RCMP training at depot on Sunday I have had a lot of personal emotion. In talking with my therapist today I realized that I struggle with feeling like I am not allowed to feel the way I feel. I get stuck in the “I should” instead of “I am”. Why do we do that? Why do we not let ourselves feel how we feel?

My therapist is ah-mazing and I love her dearly for the support she has given me throughout the years of seeing her. She mentioned that people try to help in ways that are meant as kind but actually do not serve us. There is the “fixing” of it, the “oh it will go by in no time” or “it will get easier” and there are the “I’ve been there” people.

I know I have been both people before and have been striving to be a better support for people in my life. Mainly because I realize that neither of those things are helpful to me, so why would they be helpful to others.

All I really want is someone to tell me it is okay to be upset and that yeah it really does suck and I am here for you. I am trying to remind myself of that with people in my life who are struggling. A friendly reminder that just because something doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, does not mean it isn’t for someone else. Be there for the people you care about in the situations when they need you, not just the ones you deem valid.

Real relationship goals
I love this ♥

I would love to know what you do for self care. Drop a line on what helps you when you are feeling a mess!

Peace, love, and light

A.

Mental Health

On Bell’s Let’s Talk day I have been reflecting a substantial amount on mental health lately. While we are moving in the right direction I still feel like we have so far to go in our quest for ending stigma.

I believe people want to be supportive but when it comes down to it, if it causes an imposition sometimes it’s hard for people to be supportive. Mental health is not something we can necessarily perceive and thus is hard to wrap your brain around. It’s difficult to support because we don’t know what is wrong, we can’t see it, we can’t touch it, we just don’t know. A broken leg… hey let me get that for you, a sprained wrist…we can have someone write for you, depression…cheer up? Which many of us know is not helpful to someone dealing with depression or other mental health problems.

People get uncomfortable because they don’t know or don’t understand what the problem is so they shy away from it. For me something as simple as “how are you really doing” and being there to listen and actually truly care can make a huge difference. You don’t have to fix me, you don’t have to have the answers, just be there and care.

It'ss Not Your Job To Fix Me. It's your job to hold my hand, while I fix myself. - Unknown
I saw this on Pinterest and it really resonated with me. I don’t need a fixer, I need a supporter, a cheer leader. For me personally that is more helpful than trying to fix the current situation. I am usually the listener, the confidant, the supporter. Sometimes the supporter needs to become the supported.

People also need to be cognizant that mental health does not mean waiting until you are in dire need of support to get it. Mental health should be something we take care of regularly. Whether that is going for a walk, saying no to something when you are already stressed out, or seeing a therapist. We all have mental health, we all need to do things to take care of our mental health. Just like we do with physical health.

Image result for stop treating mental health as a...you wouldn't wait until every bone
I saw this the other day and audibly said “YES, THIS”. So thank you to Jodie Goodacre for putting it so clearly!

Don’t be afraid to stand up and say, “You know what, this is out of my realm of knowledge. I think I will seek help” We do it for so many things, why can’t we do it for this!

Wishing you all the best today and every day. Remember you don’t have to be perfect but you do need to do what is best for you.

Peace, love, and light

A. xoxo

A simple gesture

20190117_142233Today has been a good day. I am feeling better after a week of a cold and a couple weeks of migraines. As simple as it was when a student brought me a coffee during her lunch period it just made my day. It may not have seemed like much but in the midst of semester end, prepping students for exams, a cold, and a partner away at work it was a simple gesture that meant so much. A coffee to some, a “you matter and are important to me” to others.

I have had a challenging group of math 20’s this semester, academically speaking, but what I am sure will be a memorable group, relationship wise. I have made some great connections with students and have built bonds that, I hope, will endure long past graduation.

As a semester ends I look forward to meeting a new group of students but am also saddened by the going of a group that I have grown so fond of. A group that has gone through a loss of a friend, fellow student, a part of our community. The first group of students that I have cried in front of, while telling them that they are care for and need to be here every day because they are important to me. A group that has brought me coffees, small tokens of appreciation, company every day at lunch, and so much more.

After a lovely yoga video from Yoga with Adriene (you NEED to check out her youtube channel if you love yoga and haven’t been yet). I am feeling all the feels and want to send love to all the people out there that may need a simple “you matter” today.

I send a challenge to you to complete a simple gesture of gratitude, love, or whatever you want to label it as, for someone in your life tomorrow or this weekend. It may be simple and not much to you but may be just what someone else needs!

Peace, love, and light

A. xo

P.S. I would LOVE to hear about your simple gestures and how they went 🙂