Tag: dogs

A Silver Lining

2020 has been the absolute worst year of my life.

I know, it probably has been for you as well. But my streak of bad started way before the corona virus and debating the usefulness of masks while hating each other. For me, the black cloud hovering over my head began last October when I lost my beloved dog, Doodle, three days before I turned 50. That single event set the wheels of gloom in motion.

It really began in early March of this year when my mother suffered a fatal stroke and, a week later, the Covid-19 lockdown officially began. I do writing on the side and was grateful to be able to continue to work from home with my real job in IT.

Unfortunately, one month after quarantine began, I was told that my position had been eliminated, effective immediately. My company offered to pay me until the end of the month. This was contingent upon them overnighting all the things at my desk along with a box for me to return my laptop and other company equipment.

I used those two weeks to secure a contract position at another company. The bummer of it was, the new job didn’t start for eighteen days and there would be no pay coming in. So, like thousands of other people, I applied for unemployment benefits to fill the gap and was accepted. I won’t go into great detail about my experience with the Department of Unemployment other than to say that as of this writing, I still have not received one single penny for the two-weeks unemployment they owe me. I tried calling, emailing, voicemails… all met with constant busy signals or completely ignored. I had to dig into savings in order to pay bills. The fact they still owe me for two-weeks unemployment is unsettling, but I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like for others who are going through a similar process and still haven’t found a job.

Just when I thought there might be a break in the storm, this past week I had to say goodbye to another one of my dogs. Ginger Snap, a senior pup we adopted after she was rescued from a kill shelter in 2011, and who had spent the next four years living a life filled with love and luxury, told me it was time. She had been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease a few weeks ago and I was giving her medication that was supposed to alleviate the symptoms that were ruining her quality of life. I came downstairs on Saturday morning to find her unable to get up. It will take me a long time to get over the thought that I failed her.

So, during a period of ten months, I’ve not only become mired in this pandemic but also lost my mother, two dogs and my job. Which kind of leads me to the title of this post – The Silver Lining.

The day after Ginger went to the rainbow bridge, I went to visit my brother, who had lived with my mom in the house we all grew up in. He had recently installed windows in places of the house where none previously existed. I marveled at the sun, gleaming through the new windows and showering the space that was once our childhood bedroom in bright, summer light.

As I admired his work, he mentioned how he should’ve installed the windows twenty-five years ago and how he wished our mom would’ve been alive to see them. I agreed.

After I left the house to go home, I walked past the huge blue spruce tree lumbering in the yard. Its towering branches reaching high to the heavens like it had always done even before I was born. I suddenly remembered how deathly afraid I was of that tree as a child, and how I would often have nightmares about it coming out of the ground at its roots to get me.

I decided I wanted to have a piece of that big tree to stick in my curio cabinet at home. It’s a place where I keep all of my childhood knickknacks of times gone by. I bravely reached for a low hanging limb and plucked off a tiny piece of branch. I held the small stem to my nose and breathed deeply, inhaling the faint scent of pine from something that forty-five years ago scared the living shit out of me.

That night as a lay in bed, I had a dream that I was back at my brother’s house. I can’t recall all the details, but I remember my brother and I were standing in the kitchen talking about something when in walked my mom. In the dream, she looked exactly as she did as when I was a boy, but in my heart, I knew she had died. You would think that I would be terrified at the sight of a ghost, but I wasn’t afraid to see her at all. Instead, there was something I wanted to know.

“Are you all right?” I asked. Meaning, is it ok when you die.

She nodded her head. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she said. “Everything is ok.”

The dream quietly transitioned into something else I can’t remember, but that revelation of seeing her still haunts me. It’s been years since I’d dreamt about my mother, and even when I did there was never a conversation that felt so visceral.

I’m not sure if what I experienced was the culmination of visiting my brother and all the things that have been happening to me in 2020, or that my mother really was trying to tell me that everything is going to be all right.

But if I had to make a choice, I like to think that it was the latter.

Guest Post: Why I Admire My Mom

My daughter Jillian, a ten year old aspiring writer herself, penned today’s post. Enjoy!

“Sweetheart, breakfast  is ready!” Mom would call from downstairs. “Be there in a second!” I would say. My mom is a great cook that’s why I admire her! My magnificent mom is lovable, glamorous, and helps me tell the truth!

My snugly bunny is very lovable! If I’m ever scared or sad she’ll snuggle with me and of course that makes me feel better! If were ever watching a scary movie, I’ll hide in her arms or under the blanket  and she’ll say “Why are you so scared?” I’ll try to tell her the reason and she’ll snuggle! She will always say sorry. Sometimes my mother and I play tickle monster/ fight. If she accidentally hurt me she’ll feel really bad and say sorry, I would never say I didn’t forgive her.

My mom is nice to everyone she meets, if somebody needs help she’ll offer to, once a person lost their dog by it running up the street. My mom saw the dog while she was driving and she slammed on the breaks and got the dog, put it in the car and drove away to its owner. The owner was so happy that my mom caught the dog! My mom was so proud!

Cameras the lights THE fashion! My mom is glamorous, she is like America’s Next Top Model, and she always matches! OH NO there’s green and brown, that doesn’t match, black and green (The perfect match) “Black goes with everything!” she says! When me and my mom are in a hurry or late for the bus, she always makes things match. Once it was 7:05 and she still needed to take a shower. She got a shower, dried her hair, put her make up on, and made the most nicest outfit. It was a nice pretty pink flower shirt with white Capri jeans and some nice sandals! My mom always picks the best style…EVERYDAY! She always has something to touch it up! I love her sense of style.

My mom influences me to stand strong settle arguments and be strong willed! One day when me and my mom went to the park, a bully came up and said “Hey give me your snack!” I ignored him and walked away!  Sometimes when somebody is being mean to me or my friend I’ll stand strong stick up for my friend and I will kill the bully with niceness. That’s what my mom told me to do. She settles my arguments.

“Well Mommy has to go to work now. Time to get in your pen”, she would say.  I put on my best sad face and walk in.  Sure I’m sad but I’ll see her when she comes home. I may live a dogs life, but I still admire my mom.