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07 August 2005


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Some of us are still here.

Love ya,

P.S. -- one of those journal people? Hmmph. ;)


A friend from England sent me these words after Ben died. She says they were from the service for the Queen Mother:

"You can shed tears that she is gone or you can smile because she has lived.

"You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back or you can open your eyes and see all she's left behind.

"Your heart can be empty because you can't see her or you can be full of the love you shared.

"You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

"You can remember her and only that she's gone or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

"You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on."


Christie, I have not had the challenges or the losses you have had. I have not had to watch young friends die, and my dogs have left predictably, at respectable ages. But I have always felt that those I loved were leaving me in this life only, and that they would always be with me, and that I would see them again.

My hardest losses are ahead of me, so maybe I don't know a thing yet. But I hope I do, and the faith lives on.

Hang in there, Christie.


Christie, I find that no matter how stoic I try to be, no matter how brave or philosophical, sometimes life just makes a time or space where I will have to feel all of the loss, the pain, the memories... it's a bittersweet moment where one is profoundly sad yet intensely alive. Thanks for sharing that moment here, you gave a gift to those of us who read you and follow your journey.


Well, this is why I have given my heart and time to rescue. Perhaps Kippling's poem will at least let you realize you are not alone.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie -
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find - it's your own affair -'ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long -
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


I'm so glad you wrote this. I've only lost one friend, to cancer, and I remember not crying for three weeks, and then I was at a luncheon at a huge writers' conference and I started bawling and couldn't stop. Huge, earthshaking sobs.

It's taken you a while to get your brain adjusted, but I'm glad you're working through it, and glad you shared it with us.

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