Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Love Letter to my Dog


Yesterday, Facebook Memories brought up this photo of our beautiful dog Magic, posted when she passed away six years ago.

We had made the difficult decision to euthanize her, the most horrible, heart-breaking but ultimately respectful and compassionate one, under the circumstances. When we left the vet’s office, I went home and wrote this letter to her spirit:

Thank you for the magic, Magic, for twelve wonderful years. Thank you for all the love and licks and wet-nose nudges that said ‘Here I am, pet me!’ Thanks for all the ‘wroo, wroo, wroo’s that told the story of your day, of some misdemeanor, real or perceived, of Daddy’s (not enough snacks, not enough pets!). Thank you for the companionship of many morning walks, not to mention all the times that Dad was away. You couldn’t hear, but you listened. And oh, how I talked! But you never judged, you always just loved.

Thank you for all the laughter. The goofy inside-out ears, crazy beach runs or bounding through the snow. The antics you got up to with Jake (our cat) when he was still here. Right up until the end there was laughter born of love and affection.

There were the difficult days too, many of them recent as you aged and diminished. I am so proud that we kept caring and loving you (though there could have been no other way, for us). But, you always had a mind of your own, and you expressed yourself quite clearly, especially when ticked off – shredded foam underlay, shredded boxes and garbage bags, chewed-up Tupperware – all spread out over the floor to full effect!

Your favourite thing – food – caused its share of naughtiness too. Stolen food from more than one dinner plate was one thing. Eating a whole box of chocolate bars, swiped from the kitchen counter, complete with wrappers and a large part of the actual box was entirely another. It is a wonder you survived for us to tell the tale on that one!

You had your own unique personality, feelings and flaws and we respected that. You never judged us for our foibles, treating us with the same respect. You take it all as it comes with your family, with those you love.

In the end, I have to say I was honoured and privileged to share my life with such a special being. You had much to teach us about living a better life, the benefits of loving and being happy to see everyone you met. You were a special girl, with much ‘magic’.

I love you, Girlie and always will. Rest in peace, Sweetheart and chase bunnies forever.

And it’s true, I still love her and miss her, all these years later. We will have another dog one day, and I will fall in love all over again. For now though, my lovely memories will suffice – permanent paw prints on my soul.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Menopause Moi Book Review–Some Nerve by Patty Chang Anker

Please note: this post contains an affiliate link. If you click on the product image and purchase it through my site I receive a small remuneration. 

Book Review B-FB-T
Image courtesy of foto76 at

I have wanted to start a book review for a while. However, my To Be Read list is overwhelming. Where to begin? Given that this blog is about midlife, I decided to make that my focus. Not necessarily books on the subject, though some might be, but books written by women who are here (or almost).

I selected Some Nerve as it resonates with how I currently feel. In this book, the author details how she set out to overcome her own fears in order to become a better role model for her daughters. As part of the process, she encountered others on a similar path, whose stories she also shares.

The writing style is easy to read – friendly, approachable and relatable. Ms. Anker shares her own thoughts and experiences of conquering fear with self-deprecating humour, while handling the challenges of others, as they struggle with their own phobias, with empathy and compassion.

Indeed, from the outset, it seemed Ms. Anker was talking directly to me. On the second page, she writes “I was not only afraid of failing, but I was afraid of the fear I would feel while trying not to fail. Afraid of feeling fear itself.”

These two sentences perfectly capture what my own, ever-diminishing world seems to be. Stuck, imprisoned by fear, afraid of almost everything. I wanted to know there was an escape, from someone who had faced her fears and lived to tell the tale.

A quick scan of the contents revealed that the book addresses common fears that people have – death and public speaking – as well as two, very specific, fears of my own – driving and falling. I was hooked.

However, after the first few chapters, despite being inspired by what I was reading, I wondered Where are the how-to’s? Where were the step-by-step instructions that would guide me to fearlessness?

This was to be my one criticism of the book. That there was no roadmap for me to follow. However, I continued reading and by the end, I was enlightened. There can be no step-by-step, one-size-fits-all solution to surmounting what we fear.

The bottom line is that we can only beat our fears by doing what it is we are afraid of (a caveat here with fear of death!). There are many ways to get to that point, and we must each find our own. I suspect the reasons behind our trepidation, the Whys, come into play as we try to defeat it.

People share many of the same fears, which is good to know; to realize we are not alone in what scares us. Some Nerve also shows us that slaying dragons single-handedly is the stuff of myths and saints. As Ms. Anker, and the others she portrays in the book show, we are more likely to succeed if we enlist help in taking on our demons.

I have not yet become brave, but I am inspired. I learned something new in my struggle to expand my life back out beyond my fear (I was not always this timid). And, with this new-found knowledge, I have begun to search out my own cheerleaders to help me do so.

Finally, Some Nerve teaches us is that, out beyond what frightens us, is fun – the adrenaline rush, a sense of accomplishment, confidence, growth. Fear, and the courage to be brave is the means to that end. If you feel as I did, mired in dread, check out Some Nerve! It may be just the boost you need!