Saturday, May 10, 2014

Celebrating Life & Love

This week has been rough. But it's also been so much more than that. Me and Aaron had to face the very hard reality of losing our little baby Jack. I know there are many hard realities in life, but when you're in the middle of a heartbreak like this one you simply cannot fathom that anything in the world could be any harder. Our hearts are hurting to their utmost capacity. 
But while this hurt is very real and very necessary, it shouldn't be endless. There has to be relief in site. But relief isn't something you can pull out of a magic hat. Nor is it something that's just lying dormant inside of you.
 Relief has to come from somewhere...or more accurately...from someone.
In our case, me and Aaron first had to look to each other. It isn't enough for me to know that I love Jack. Or for Aaron to know that he loves Jack. We need something more tangible. We needed to know the we love Jack. The two of us, as a couple, as soul mates, as partners, as confidants.
We need to reassure one another that we did and are continuing to do the right thing. We need to hold each other's hands while we move forward. Going it alone is never an option.
And second, we looked to our little old man Carlos. He misses Jack just as much, only he doesn't have the benefit of being able to fully articulate his emotions. His feelings may take the form of appetite loss, depression, fear, anxiety. These are all things that we're feeling too, but we're people and we can deal with those things. A little pup cannot adequately deal with those things.
So we have to help him. It's our job. 
There's no crying in front of fact, we can't even let ourselves feel bad if we're in the same room as Carlos. Because he'll sense it and it will hurt him. So, our love for Carlos is a very big motivator for getting over this loss.
And the third part of getting over loss is the most heart warming and magical of all. The third part is friendship. 
The compassion, generosity, and sympathy that has been shown to us from our beloved little community is enough to make us cry all over again...but for the exact opposite reason. We feel that Jack wasn't just our pup...he was a spirit and an energy. And through the outpouring of comments on Facebook, Instagram, and here on the blog we can feel his energy in full force. It has spread out across our little world. We feel like you guys can actually feel his spirit. Somehow, the little videos and photos were sufficient in getting it across. We feel like you all GET who Jack was and is to this world. He was nothing but stuff...good stuff. And when he passed, it was so so sad because we lost something so pure. We lost happy, we lost funny, we lost goodness.

But we didn't.

Somehow, we gained more of all those things. It's our duty to gain more of those things. To look inside ourselves and to look to each other for help, compassion, sympathy. It's what we're all supposed to do. You lose the idea of that in your day to day busy schedule. And it's not anybody's fault. That's just the way life works. 
But then something happens...a heartache, a personal tragedy, a loss...and we move toward that heartache, that tragedy, that loss. It seems to go against basic survival instincts. Why would we move toward pain? 
Well, because we can. We are strong enough to do so. We are brave. And we love one another, and we can help each other out. It's our job. It's what we need to do.
Ok, that said...if I may speak more casually...all of you guys are doing your jobs very well!
The outpouring of support for me and Aaron in this hard time is amazing. And holy cow did we need it. We needed it more than you'll ever know. Ok, this post is at risk of becoming an epic, so I should tighten things up.
Yesterday was our anniversary. Me and Aaron became partners in crime 21 years ago. May 9th is a very special day for us...and it's a gift that this day fell just a few days after one of our absolute worst days together. We needed light to follow the dark.

So, on this special day we planned to celebrate our love for each other. We put work aside, cleared the schedule, and actually left the house. And it worked out well for Carlos too. His grandparents (Aar's parents) were so excited to have him over for a visit. They spoil the little old man and give him all the attention he needs. And, when Carlos goes over to his grandparent's he acts like a puppy. He runs around like a madman and has a blast. So...a visit like this couldn't possibly have come at a better time.
Ok, so me and Aaron were getting ready to leave for the day when we heard a package or two land on our doorstep. One package contained a book "Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals".  It's fantastic and just what the doctor ordered. So many insights into all of the complex emotions we deal with when losing our pets. The book contained no note or return whomever sent it to us...Thank you so very much.
There was also a card from our dear sweet friend Kate, who suffered this same heartache not too long ago. Thank you Kate.

And there was also this package from our sweet friend Kimberlee. One of the gifts inside you can see in the pic at the very top of this post. That incredibly sweet necklace with our little Jack staring out from within a keyhole. I cried my eyes out when I saw it...and i instantly put it on for our day out together.

She also sent this Amazing vintage giant walnut shaped paper mache candy container. Kimberlee really really gets me. We can talk for hours about the rare and vintage collectibles that we covet. Our tastes are every very similar. And we both go for the color black in a big way.

She also sent Aaron this little Jack pocket watch/good luck charm. Aaron slid it into his pocket and said he'll carry it with him always...he loves the way the horseshoe rattles in his pocket when he walks. She also sent Aar that dark chocolate he was craving the other night! Geez. So so kind.

Train rides are great. Here we are at our local train station getting ready to head into Red Bank for the day. By the way...from this point forward my hair became a disaster. It was gloomy out all day yesterday. It didn't actually rain...but this very fine hair frizzing mist came down All Day Long. Oh well. 

Red Bank has a bunch of antique shops that me and Aaron had frequented since we were teens. So we took a walk over to one of our old haunts. This amazing vintage medical cabinet is from our friend Cheryl's booth. I LOVE it! 

These are also Cheryl's.

And so are these.

And yeah, these old aluminum folding chairs are hers as well. I want these bad!

And check out that globe light fixture! She had a set of two. I don't think I need to tell you that Cheryl has got style and taste to spare. We ran into our old friend Carla as well...but wouldn't you know we started gabbing and forgot to take photos of her shop. Next time!

Down on the other end of town we stopped in this place. Antoinette Boulangerie.


uh huh...

I think you get the picture. 

And then it was time for dinner. Good Karma vegan cafe is fairly new. We almost went here with friends back in winter, but when we walked up it looked way too packed that night. This time we planned our attack in advance and got there way before the dinner rush.

The food is nothing short of stellar. These are Crispy Baked Tempeh Buffalo Wings. We both realized how long it had been since we had hot sauce. We use Sriracha often, but they are seriously two totally different tastes. These were classic Buffalo Wing flavors. What a treat these were!

This one's mine. Live Pizza, from their raw menu. Raw crackers with sun dried tomato marinara, cashew nut cheese, marinated dark greens, shredded zucchini, and walnut sprinkle cheese. AMAZING! 

And here's Aaron's tower of awesomeness. Pineapple Mango Tempeh. Which is coconut crusted tempeh served with jasmine rice and sauteed seasonal vegetables. Served with creamy thai coconut sauce and pineapple mango chutney. 
We switched plates with each other a couple times needless to say. SO GOOD!

And I hope you didn't think we'd leave the joint without first inhaling this chocolate ganache cake! Deeeeeelish. What a great meal...what a great day out together...despite the hair frizzing misty rain. We're so thrilled that we went. We really needed it. 

Ok, now here is where I cry tears of joy all over again. More gifts showed up today. I don't know if I can fully express what it means to us when we receive the gift of art. That a person would take the time to make or render something for take their valuable use their talents. It's priceless. We balled our eyes out when we saw this painting by our friend Shannon...aka Danger S. Jones. Full and Aaron kissed this painting lots and lots of times already...right on his sweet little eyeball.

And Oh. My. Gosh! Our sweet friends Kitty, Dan, and Bono Baby (he's a chihuahua...but I'm sure he had a say in the process) enlisted the amazing Amanda Atkins to paint this portrait of Jack. Jeez, I'm trying so hard not to cry. It is so unbelievably sweet. I love it so much! Thank You guys!!!

And this picture frame arrived as well. I don't think the message could be any more fitting...any more perfect. My heart melted. I don't know who is responsible for sending this but it's made by Etched in My Heart. We love it and we'll find the perfect little Jack photo for it right away. Thank You!

Over in Jack's favorite spot we've got all of his stuff. Everything will find it's proper spot in our home but for now we're keeping it all close and where he'd like it to be. That's the sympathy card from the vet with little Jack's paw print. It's beside our sunny yellow vintage stuffed bunny who's wearing Jack's favorite shirt and harness.

I really didn't think it would be possible for me to utter these words so soon after our horrible loss...but we feel lucky...we feel blessed...we feel gifted.
We can't believe the friends we have. And I couldn't possibly express how deeply this outpouring has effected us. We can feel the love for Jack so very profoundly. He hasn't gone anywhere. He is right here where he will always be...right here in our hearts...right next to you guys.

xoxo, Jenny & Aaron 


  1. Jenny and Aaron - so happy that you could get away to celebrate your anniversary despite your loss. You're both so amazing and the love you have for each other is so inspirational and will truly help you through these difficult days. I just discovered your blog about a week ago and binge read almost every single one you've ever written in one evening. I fell in love with both of you, your art, your life on the Jersey Shore and especially your babies! Everytime I saw one of their pictures I had to go back and look at them for a second time. They are both so precious!! Jack captured my heart immediately and I was so sad when I read that he had passed on. He was so photoghenic and the cutest little guy I've ever seen! Your'e both (and sweet Carlos too) in my prayers and hope your broken hearts continue to mend. Sending you all lots of love and hugs from North Dakota.

  2. Jenny,

    What precious gifts. They made me cry. What wonderful comfort they brought to you. Wow. Amazing. <3

  3. Looks like you had a beautiful time together.. and loving the wonderful presents you have received!! Huge hugs!!

  4. It is so heartwarming to see how much love you got (get) from our online community and yes you deserve every bit of it! :) I totally love that package of Kimberley Edgar just wow, the packaging/wrapping, that walnut and the special jewelry she made for both of you, all so thoughtful and beautiful! And those paintings (and frame) of sweet Jack are simply awesome! So good you got a bit of distraction on your special day! Would have loved to go "antiquing" with you guys, frizzy hair and all and then to that great vegan restaurant yummy. Btw. we are just in the process to open Bremen's first 100 % vegan Café/Sandwich shop here and it's all very excting. I think I sent you a facebook invite the other day and now I'm sending you both a big hug all the way from Germany, Carola x

  5. You know what they say about karma....well, you two bring joy into many lives by sharing your life on your blog. It's no surprise that joy comes back to you- especially in such a sad time. it may seem strange to those who do not enjoy reading blogs but, to those that do they'll get it. Continue to stay strong!

  6. What beautiful tributes to your little Jack. There really is only one thing that heals our broken So thankful you and Aaron are feeling the outpouring of love for all of you. xo

  7. are so loved, to receive so many heartfelt gifts...I too know the feeling to lose one *four in two years* so perfect <3 I believe that their little spirits have never left our presence, and that their little snootzy faces will be waiting for us <3 Peace and Love.

  8. ((((hugs)))) I am so sorry. It is such a difficult thing to bear.

  9. i'm glad to see it shaped up to be a wonderful anniversary celebration--looks like a perfect date. so sorry to hear about your loss; you are so lucky to have so many amazing people in your life to swoop in when you need it the most. what an amazing show of love--you'll definitely have many reminders of your memories with jack now. thanks for sharing these thoughts and gifts!!

  10. This post made me cry ( and I do not cry easily!) when my family cat passed away our dog was so sad (and they didn't even get on very well) and reading about poor little Carlos missing his buddy just made me feel so sad for him and you and Aaron. I'm so sorry for you all. But it's really lovely to hear how much support you've received from everyone. Wishing you lots of love x

  11. I am so sorry for your loss. What amazing and caring friends you have to share such beautiful gift with you both. It was nice to see that you made yourself go and enjoy this gorgeous life you have that jack would want you to both enjoy together. xx

  12. I am quite late in posting this! but that has been because I keep "mark unread" this post, knowing it would tug on my own heart, with my own losses ... what an absolutely beautiful post! no need to tighten up anything whatsoever! And Kate - yes, I know her from online, and she is absolutely incredible! - so now too I need to check out the others you highlighted, seeing how dear they are - they must be as incredible as she! ... and Red Bank - wow wow wow I have not been there in this century, and I am delighted to see how much it has changed, how beautiful it is - so ty for sharing that part, too! ... Bless you in your journeys, and, indeed, I am very, very sorry for your loss! (Someone also going through this is my online friend Jenn, BlackLabLover9, who has been unable to update her YouTube page since she lost her Petee back in April ... I do believe she is in your neck of the woods, as well.)


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xo Jenny & Aaron