H.O.P.E. – Hold On, Pain Ends (Memories DON’T)

Hmmm. Long-time, yet again, since I wrote here. It’s not that I’m not full of things to write about, brimming with thoughts and points of view! No, the problem is not my resolve to write but that naughty thing called Time which doesn’t afford me much of itself, to indulge in the satisfaction of writing about the odd concoctions of my social and personal ponderings and memoirs, throwing in some old myths, new metaphors and a smattering of science for accuracy, and somehow mysteriously making that whole mishmash into something readable!

The last time I wrote on here, it was early Autumn. Now, nearly a year on, it is late Autumn and reading my last post, It is fair to say that, although my intentions are honest, I still have much to do on my journey, fuelled by the world’s negative energy, to keep me believing that change is possible. My inability to leave the comfort zone of my family and house and my (nearly!) 45-year-old energy are still huge barriers for me to overcome to achieve my potential for doing and maintaining something worthy and enduring.

I seem to have started many charitable projects in 2016 with genuine hopes. I am yet to see any of them through further than a few weeks so certainly haven’t made a real difference in that respect and can’t base this post around any difference I have made there………

But this post was never going to be about my philosophical musings …This post is based on Facts.

It is about, both the Wonderful addition who has brought so much Unity and Joy, and the devastating losses that have brought so much Heartbreak, Pain and utter Devastation to our families.

Have Courage for the great sorrows of life and Patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks, Go to sleep in Peace.

Victor Hugo

I have been wanting to write about each of these individual subjects as a separate post but that time thing has got in the way. However, the utter heartache of the last seventy-two hours means I need to write and time is irrelevant. Nothing is more important than processing the agony of this past weekend and the past month, the sadness that overwhelmed me in June and the complete Joy and Celebration that has consumed me all year, but never more so than for two weeks in September.

So perhaps I should start here, now, with my feelings so raw from a past three days of utter agony watching our Beautiful Girl, My Old Lady, My Gorgeous Greyhound, Our Miracle Marvel deteriorate as her organs shut down in her old 13-year-old body and her suffering ended as quickly as it had begun.

In death, the consciousness of a Sentient Being moves out of their body back to its’ complete whole existence again. This process is described as the soul going back home. Our Best Friends never die. They continue to exist as Pure Energy and it’s that Pure Energy of the Animal we connect with when we communicate with them.

Orla, Our Rescue Greyhound who “chose us” with those huge dark pools of eyes that you felt you could jump in to, was and always shall remain a brightest light in our hearts.

She came to us from a place of pure awfulness. We had heard of a plea for people to rehome greyhounds who were being housed in a warehouse that was being demolished. We had lost our Handsome Boy, Eddie earlier that year in June after only six weeks’ privilege of being given the honour of adopting him, having found him at a local Greyhound Rescue Centre.

Walking into the dark, damp and cheerless warehouse, I looked around in despair at the many graceful dogs stuck in bare and gloomy cages and knew I could not choose. Then I saw these big brown eyes looking at me, pleading with me, and I knew that “we” had been chosen.

We brought her home covered in sores, lumps and bumps and still lactating after being used to breed her second litter of pups. The Vet was appalled at her condition and we nursed her back to full health with Love, Devotion and Gentle Care. That was twelve years ago and she was eighteen months old.

Twelve years later, we nursed her 24/7 as she entered the last days of life in her physical form and started her journey toward Rainbow Bridge. As it was when I lost Bingo, Eddie, Magik and Brucie, the Pain is unbearable and the Heartache Heavy. She is missed so greatly and the house is missing much of its’ soul. Gypsy and Stormby are confused and subdued, reflecting the feelings of us all.

Over the past twenty-four hours that she has been gone, we have been looking at photos and reminiscing almost non-stop and now I am writing about her.

Looking at pictures from over the years has brought back so many memories. We had to take a breath when we looked at those first photos. We had forgotten how young she had once looked. She was a “Brindle”. In her later years, she was almost white with faint light brown stripes but looking back at the photos, her colouring was so defined and she was not just Beautiful but Handsome! We remembered how she would always get comments about her colouring. “Apricot” and “Tiger” were two such observations. With such admiring comments, I was aware at times that certain people (who I would call unscrupulous) were looking at her, not as a companion pet, but as a “commodity” and I guarded her well when we were out and about, realising one time, on holiday in Machynlleth that she was being “eyed up” and choosing not to tie her and Brucie outside the shop suspecting that she wouldn’t be there when I came out.

She wasn’t always a good Doggy and much to my distress and anguish, she caught and killed too many smaller animals, even catching a Muntjac deer; A morning I will never forget was when I sat in the middle of a field at 5.30 am on a Summers morning, trying to unclench Orla’s jaw from the Muntjac’s leg as it bit me on my leg! I succeeded and it went bounding off while I held onto Orla scolding her and shaking. I hope the deer survived. It took me a while to get over that experience!

Poor Orla suffered an attack by a dog five years ago in September 2011. I won’t go into the details but it was a vicious attack and for those minutes, I felt that I was in horror movie. We were so lucky that she recovered physically from that but I am not sure that she ever completely recovered emotionally as she was always scared of brown dogs after that.

She was a total wimp too! She only had to bump into something or another Pooch bump into her, and she would  howl with pain!

In January of this year, in the space of a few hours, she went from coming for a walk with me to being completely lifeless. By the time Robbie got her to the vet she was seconds away from Rainbow Bridge. However, after a miracle injection, an X-ray, the draining of puss from her lung cavity and a weeks worth of  recovery, she bounced back, much to the amazement of all of us, especially the Vet who simply couldn’t believe it! Hence, she became known as My Miracle Marvel!

She was Brucie’s Best Friend and Aunty Orla to Gypsy and Stormby. She somehow abstained from terrorising Magik, our Feline Friend who was here before her and only chased her on the odd occasion! Poor Magik!

Most of All, she was my Angel. My Girl. My Old Lady. She was Orla to Robbie and the kids, but to me she was So much more than that. She was part of me. She is part of me as are all the other souls I have mentioned above. Brucie and Orla however, were with me for the longest time and I never could scatter Brucie’s ashes, keeping them beside me on the sofa so I know where he is.

Robbie and I have now decided that we will take Orla and Brucie, those Best Beautiful Buddies, for one last walk and scatter their ashes in our local woodland, a place they both loved and where we ran every morning. It is a Peaceful and Tranquil Oasis where they can run and play together, chase the squirrels and rabbits (but please Don’t catch them I whispered to Orla before she passed!) and live together while they wait for the rest of us to join them.



Gone from Our Lives but NEVER Absent from our Hearts.

When A Human Dies, there is a bridge they must cross to enter into Heaven. At the head of the bridge waits every animal that human encountered during their lifetime. The animals, based on how that person treated them, decides which humans may cross the bridge…and which are turned away

Indian Legend

This past emotionally stressful and tragic weekend came only 3 weeks after another terrible weekend. On Friday 30th September, we were all devastated when we lost the Remarkable Richard, Robbie, Jane and Sara’s Wonderful Dad and Gillian’s Adoring Husband.

After a long battle with Cancer, fought with Grace and Fortitude, Richard passed away peacefully surrounded by his Loving children and Wife. I have lost a Truly Lovely Father-in-Law and Bleu and her five Gorgeous cousins have lost a Doting Grandfather. October has not been a happy month.

Richard was a Wonderfully Delightful and Engaging individual. He was always smiling and laughing, clearly valuing and enjoying life. He enjoyed board games, a game of cards, a long walk, a good debate and just being around his family whatever they were doing.  At his funeral on Tuesday 11th October, Robbie read his beloved Dad’s eulogy which he wrote. Robbie’s goal was to convey to Richard’s family and friends the kind of person his Dad had been, the adventures he had embarked on, his travels around the world with his family and his Contentment and Love of Life and family. Afterwards, so many of those friends and family (including his brother!) who had known Richard well, said they hadn’t realised all he had accomplished and the places he had been. So, Robbie totally did his Dad proud in his Eulogy to him and I am very proud of him for finding the strength to read it.

Richard left a Deep and  Impressive Impression on All those who came into contact with him. At our “JoyFest”, Richard made a point of talking to All our Friends and Family (of which there were quite a few!) and it said So Much about him that he made that time to get to know our Friends. His Magnetic Charm and Presence drew people to him. He was so easy to talk to, and you knew he was really listening and was genuinely interested in what you had to say.

For that reason, So many of our Friends and my Family have been so Very Sorry to hear of the Sad Passing of a Man they met only Once over a Weekend of Celebration five years ago when our worlds seemed  Gentler and Kinder.

The Complimentary words in the Sympathy Cards that piled onto Gillian’s mat were so very Touching and True. Memories of a Work Colleague who brought Spirit and Joie De Vivre to the Office. A Friend who was always there to Listen and didn’t impose his own views. An Uncle and Brother who was Dearly Loved and Father-in-Law who was Always guaranteed to Cheer you up and help you see the Positive in any situation.

I will remember Richard as a man who was completely True to himself. He didn’t try to be anything other than who he was and that was a Charming and Charismatic man who was ALWAYS smiling and really did have the Widest Grin (Not unlike his Son!)  In his passing, he has inspired me to be a better person; to be honest with and to myself; to be Authentic and not feel the need to be anyone other than who I am; To have Integrity – something Richard had in bundles.

Richard – We Miss you so Terribly. Life will Never be the same without you in it. This quote by Mahatma Ghandi sums up completely the man you were.

Be Congruent. Be Authentic. Be your True Self.


We lost Richard as Summer gave way to Autumn and we lost my Aunty Anne as Spring turned gently into Summer on 12th June.

Aunty Anne had, in the words of my cousin, “fought the fight of her life with dignity, humour and the greatest courage”.

Aunty Anne was Irrepressible, Charismatic, Exuberant and Larger than Life. She was the Total Life and Soul of the Party and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED a good sing along!

One memory I have of Aunty Anne is when my cousin Kirsteen married Al. As they walked up the aisle after the ceremony, I can still see my Aunty Anne dancing up the aisle as she followed them!

When Robbie and I tied the knot and jumped the broomstick in 2011 and my Brother Peter and Amanda were married two years later, Aunty Anne made the parties that bit more vibrant and colourful with her limitless energy and sense of Fun and Mischievousness!

Aunty Anne could never quite get over the fact that Robbie had long hair! Every time she saw him, she would ask him when he was going to get it cut!

When I went to visit her shortly before she passed away, even though she was very ill and had very little energy to talk, she still asked me if Rob had cut his hair yet!

She really was a True Legend! And I don’t expect to ever attend a funeral with so many people coming to pay their respects. The church was positively spilling over with friends and family. I know I will never witness that out-pouring of Love again and it said everything about Aunty Anne. She was a Friend to all who knew her and all who knew her Loved her.

Aunty Anne, like Richard was someone who didn’t try to be anyone other than who she was. She didn’t need to. She was Loved as she was by So Very many Friends and Family and she was an Incredible and Unforgettable Lady.

Aunty Anne was Always Positive, Always Cheerful, Always Sincere, Always Honest and was True to herself and True to All who knew and Loved her. I am just sorry that I didn’t see her nearly as much as I would have wanted to.

Aunty Anne’s indomitable spirit, courage and unfailing good humour in the face of adversity was wondrous and humbling and her memory is a True Inspiration to me to make every effort possible to see so much more of my Scottish Family.


That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet

Emily Dickson (poet)

The Painful Losses of all these Precious Beings has taught me that Death adds so much intensity to our lives in bad ways but also good; Being grimly aware of mortality makes us steadfastly determined to enjoy life where it can be enjoyed, spending precious moments with Family and Friends, and there never was a fortnight more precious than the beginning of September when I set eyes on my Totally Scrummy, Yummy Nephew, Jimmy James for the first time since he was born in January!

Jimmy James and Pete and Amanda, his amazing and devoted parents have been through so much in the last nine months and it is testimony to their Strength, Hope and Love that their Son is the Most Adorable, Cute, Smiley, Happy and Content Baby I have ever laid eyes on!

I have fallen Completely in Love All Over Again. The first Love of my Life was my Granny. Then Robbie came along, followed by Matthew and Bleu. And now Jimmy James has come along and I am head over heels!

For the first time, I not only understand, but I positively Value the wonder of Facetime where I can see and almost touch that most Lovable, Endearing and Adorable of babies!

My Nephew has brought such Delight, Joy and Gladness to My life and the Lives of my Family.

He, as Richard and Aunty Anne have done, has taught me the most meaningful of lessons; The importance of Family and the pointlessness of holding grudges and resentment.

Jimmy James has been a Uniting Force for my Family as well as being Ultra Cute and Downright Sweet. He is, without question, the Most Perfect Baby!


2016 has deepened my certainty that our journeys are immense odysseys , generating astonishing experiences of consciousness and giving us the greatest gifts and the saddest losses.

If we can hold onto the Hope and Belief that the Sun will come out once again; the pain will become easier to wake up with; and we use our experiences to Positively shape our Compassionate selves; Life will continue to bless us with all her Gifts and Tragedies and we can Celebrate the Light and Use the Brightness to Guide Us through the Darkness.

 Peace to you All

Vegan Believer Jx


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