As many of you know, I’ve lived through challenging times over the past ten months. Last October, my mother died of breast cancer that spread to her brain, less than two weeks after I learned of the metastasis.
Mom and me, with our spouses
My beloved dog Tasha passed away in July, likely also of cancer that spread to her brain, though we’ll never know for sure. Like my mom, Tasha died a couple of weeks after becoming ill.
Tasha and me, three weeks before she passed.
In ten months, I’d provided hospice care to two of the most important souls of my life. I felt sad. Depleted. Exhausted. No longer able to fulfill my roles as boss, teacher, and business owner. I couldn’t stand any more losses.
A few days later. I learned that my childhood best friend died the same day as Tasha.
Michelle and me, age 15.
My story isn’t unique. We all suffer losses. This article isn’t about loss, anyway. This article is about healing.
The day Tasha died, I only knew two things for certain. She had made my life better, and she would have hated for me to suffer. I owed it to her to find a new love. I started researching German shepherd breeders and found one I both respected and trusted. They often have a two-year waiting list, but oddly, they had a female available.
My puppy would be ready to come home in three weeks, but I didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t explain why, but I felt strongly that I needed to meet her first. Unfortunately, the visit would involve an 800-mile flight and a four-hour drive each way, all to spend a couple of hours with my soon-to-be best friend—at seven in the morning, no less! The visit would take place six days before we brought her home.
I told the idea to my engineer husband, who said what he always says when I announce that I’m about to act on an expensive, completely illogical impulse.
“If you want.”
I abandoned my business, my significantly-behind-schedule writing, and my overworked spouse and took off for the three-day adventure.
It was one of the best irrational impulses I ever indulged. Everything about the trip seemed to be blessed. From unanticipated first class flight upgrades, to a stay at a wonderful eco-spa for less than $100 a night.
I had two days of dead time around my two-hour puppy meeting, so I indulged in massages, ate waffles and dark chocolate cake, and worked on my novel from a patio overlooking the resort’s koi pond. On Sunday morning, I fell in love with my new pup, Ana. I spent time with the lovely Penni Elaine, her fiancé, and her best friend, who are doing a fabulous job of raising her. I have no doubt: Ana and I are a match made in heaven. Tasha arranged it.
Tracy and Ana meet!
Later that night, I spent forty-five mesmerizing minutes watching the resort’s koi ease smoothly back and forth through the water. I named the five largest: Spot, Dalmation, Stripe, Silver, and Ghost. A sense of deep peace overcame me.
This is it, I thought. This is where the healing begins.
The process of healing is long, filled with ups and downs, and I don’t know how long it will take. But I can mark its beginning. And for that I am eternally grateful.