What a beautiful time
of the year. The smell of pumpkin spice to holly… yes, it is a glorious time of the year from so many perspectives.
With the holidays peeking around every corner, there are some of us who have experienced the loss of a beloved friend this year and the thought of this joyous time of the year prompts emotions that are, well, … not so joyous. Yet one more reminder of the “presence of the absence”, the heart that remains broken, and the longing that persists for the physical presence of a love. The quiet of the missing, that’s still so incredibly loud, a stark reminder of the new normal and the reality of life and time.
As the holidays approach, I am also reminded that this year will be my first without a special love. I can already feel the emotion when the box of
Christmas decorations come out, knowing Big Harry’s keepsake ornaments and his stocking will be hidden safely somewhere among the animal decorations for THEIR special Christmas tree I put up each year. Tucked away a year ago when there was no hint that the following holiday would look so vastly different. Hurriedly boxed up last year when the decorations were coming down, with nary a thought that within months he would no longer be here.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I would’ve slowed down more, to fully savor every minute, to drink in all the details, becoming inebriated on those memories, with no chance to forget one tiny detail.
As this holiday season quickly approaches, I learned some lessons from Big Harry and his short time with me. While I find the tears are still near the surface and will certainly be there when those holiday decorations appear, I am so thankful for the lessons I learned, and the gifts Big Harry shared, so organic for all of our animal friends.

1. Thank you for showing me how to live fully and engaged with others. Every day you couldn’t wait to show people you cared, even with just a nuzzle of your nose.
2. Thank you for reminding me to love the simple things. A ride in the car, snuggling on the couch, just being together. You were awesome at “just being.”
3. Thank you for letting me physically see how you forgave those who were unkind to you in the first part of your life before we met. You never let that be a part of you. You forgave and moved on.
4. Thank you for literally showing me I was your world. As a fellow human being, this is key in a world that can be disconnected and uncaring. As my gift to you, I will daily do better with this.
5. Thank you for your many gifts, but the biggest one was your presence.

For you, Big Harry, thank you. Rest in peace, Big Boy. I’ll be forever thankful.