Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sea of Love

To me it seems like there are times in this life when every emotion rears it's head simultaneously. The wonderful, the good, the bad, and the ugly all show up at the same time, and like it or have to face them all equally.
For me and Aaron these last two weeks were exactly like that. There was the rush to tie up loose ends before we left town for the Art is...You retreat in Memphis. Then there was our week in Memphis, spent with so many amazing people...people you think about in your quiet moments and say to yourself "gosh, I'm so lucky to know them." And also when me and Aar go on these teaching excursions it reenforces our connection with each other. We'll stop throughout the day on trips like this and say "We get to do this...together." We really are very lucky.
And then we came home and within 24 hours we lost the little love of our life...little baby Jack. Our nerve endings were already open from soaking up so much love and friendship all week long in Memphis. And then, everything felt like it was sucked out of us all at once. This loss was so hard to comprehend, so hard to process. We weren't ready for it.
Or maybe we were. 
Maybe those connections we made with others and reconnections we made with each other were exactly what we needed to survive the storm of loss we'd soon face. And then in the following days...the outpouring of condolences, well wishes, prayers, gifts, happy and healing thoughts from our friends everywhere...further bolstered our hearts against breaking.

And of course there was Carlos. Our little old man, who has been with us through so many crazy ups and downs. He was there when we first opened our retail store way back when. He was there when Aaron came home from the hospital after his car crash. Aaron had been in the hospital for a while, and then in a rehab facility for so long that when he finally came home to Carlos he couldn't believe his eyes. Aaron said "I forgot how little he was!" 
We have so many memories with little Carlos. He has now lived with us in three different towns. We first considered looking for another pup because we thought Carlos needed a little brother to keep him active and young. And sure enough, little Jack did the trick.
So in the wake of losing Jack, here was Carlos...still by our side...and he was holding it together very well. We tried very hard to keep the energy light and to keep Carlos as occupied as possible after losing Jack. And in some ways our behavior with him and his reaction to this energy felt a little like old felt like a dozen years ago...playing with puppy Carlos in our small apartment...and making him the center of our universe....worrying about if we were "raising him right." ha!
 Another factor that played into this feeling of going back in time was our anniversary. Right smack dab in the middle of this emotional whirlwind fell our 21st anniversary. So of course this brought up feelings of the beginning...our first years two kids figuring everything out and pretty much living on luck.

Currently we live right up the road from the beach. And of course, we don't go up there nearly enough. But we knew that Carlos needed to get out. Most of his hours are spent here in the house with us just watching us do art stuff. He desperately needed some being-a-dog time. And we needed to share that time with him. We actually outfitted him in little Jack's harness. We had to majorly adjust the straps because Carlos is way bigger then Jack, and miraculously it fit!

Many of you will be happy to know that the army corp of engineers is currently restoring our beach in hopes of protecting us from any future storms that resemble Hurricane Sandy. There are massive pipes way out in the bay that are sucking up the sand on the bottom and spitting out on the shore...building up the beach to be ten feet higher. The project is progressing fast. We hope it's effective.

Ok, so many people told us that we should look for signs of Jack. Everyone seems to have a story about their departed pet sending them messages from beyond. And I don't doubt it for a second. 

But at the same time, me and Aaron weren't looking for signs. We weren't really in that mind space. I remember this day on the beach being so peaceful. It was the first time all week that we were not crying. The weather was perfect, the water was still and flat, the visibility was endless, the sun was going down, and Carlos was having a great time. 

And then we came home. A couple of days went by and I transferred these beach pics onto the laptop. And in doing so I came across this pic and felt it all wash over me. At home...pretty much the only thing I called Jack was Pumpkin Baby....ya know, because he was part Ginger. While walking right along the water that day we came across this pumpkin that the waves washed ashore. It's is certainly not pumpkin season. It's strange to see a pumpkin wash's doubly strange for it to wash ashore in May! Upon discovering it we hadn't made the connection with Jack...but Aaron said right away, "you have to take a picture of that." And it makes another appearance in these photos. If you scroll back up to the pic of Aaron and Carlos where Aaron is standing up on the upturned log, if you look right in front of Aaron, down at the edge of the water you'll see a little orange dot in the distance...that's the pumpkin. This second sighting we hadn't even noticed until I was putting this blog post together right now.  Yes, I'm crying as I type this right now.

We know little Jack was with us up there. And the pumpkin was in the exact same spot where he and Carlos played a year ago...they were wrestling like crazy right there at the edge of the water.

Signs don't always present themselves to you at the expected time. For us, this sign from Jack came later, when we were home together, getting Carlos reaccustomed to living with just the two of us...a few days had passed and we were finally ready to see the sign for what it was. 

It was his peaceful reminder that he's still right here with us. It was him letting us know that everything is gonna be alright. The same way he let us know that when he was here with us every day. No matter how dark some days might have been...his sweet face always pulled us out of it...for real. I mean that.
And now he's letting us know that he's alright, Carlos is alright, and we're alright.

With the sun dipping below the horizon and leaving it's pumpkin orange aura behind we left the beach and headed home...the four of us.

ps. this song encapsulates the day so perfectly. 

(click play)

"Come with me, my love
to the sea
the sea of love.
I wanna tell you how much I love you...

Do you remember
when we met
thats the day
I knew you were my pet."

(yeah, that last line absolutely kills me and Aar.)

thanks to all of you.
xo, Jenny & Aaron


  1. Awww ... yep ... he was telling you he was there ... <3

  2. Oh Jenny and Aaron, this is so perfect! I knew he would send y'all something special that just y'all and he knew about! Yes, that was Jack alright...Jack O'Lantern :-)
    Now let me tell you what happened about Snoopy. Me and Mark were in the same shape you and Aaron is in...totally lost...Snoopy had become our stay at home boy cause he watched all of the human ones grow up and move out of the house - my oldest, Brad, brought Snoopy home to us when he was just a few weeks old in January 1996. Anyway, he passed in December 2012, then at end of January Pops Phil (stepdad of 30 yrs) got sick and my big brother Eddie was not feeling well and we lost both of them 3 weeks apart in March 2013. But me and my big bubby had lots of conversations in those weeks before and one of them surrounded my grieving of Snoopy. Eddie had a bad heart and we had him on borrowed time for 3 yrs already and he was feeling like his time was getting near. I told him you cant leave me this soon after Snoopy but if you get to Heaven before me, will you please send me a sign that Snoopy is there. Now me and big bubby are big believers in Heaven and all the wonders therein - we went as deep as talking about the kind of mansion we hoped God had prepared for us. So he shook his head and said I got it sissy. The very evening that my bubby passed on (it was March 29th which was Good Friday last year), I had a dream that night. I dreamed I had pulled up in a driveway of a brick house and got out of my car and some man that I did not recognize came out of his garage and said you must be here for your little buddy. Then out ran Snoopy as plain as day and jumped right in my arms and we both went down on the ground kissing and hugging each other. That dream was as clear as if I had been right there and I remembered it when I woke up and have held it to my heart ever since. Bubby kept his promise to me which let me know he was ok and he let me know that Yes all dogs do go to Heaven. Keep looking...little Jack is not done yet! Love y'all!

    1. Becky, love you. Thanks for sharing your story. It really gives you such a great feeling when you get a sign like this. Your love feels even bigger...more important. We feel so blessed to be connected to you. <3

  3. You got your sign. Be thankful you saw it without even looking..but then you realized. It's the "little things" that bring us comfort.

    1. Yes! it really came at exactly when we were ready for it. We're sitting here with our old man Carlos and all is calm and peaceful. xoxo

  4. My heart is so touched, Jenny and Aaron!
    I was thinking, "Jack'o'Lantern" as soon as I saw the pumpkin, before reading the post. <3 Signs like these are simply the best. :)

  5. this just made me cry. It's so crazy when these subtle signs occur. We had lost our cats fav toy for YEARS...and the first night after he passed we were awoken at 4:30 am by our other cat (who never likes to play with toys) was racing around the room. We were afraid she might have found a rodent...when we turned the lights on she had Georgie's fav glitter ball toy in her mouth just like he used to. We have no idea where she found it.

  6. Oh Jenny such a sweet story. I love the ocean it's a healer in itself. Sending you Aaron and Carlos much comfort. The song is beautiful.

  7. WAHHHH! i'm sobbing! little jack is still there, letting you know he loves you! thank you for sharing this story, so uplifting and magical...

  8. Jenny and Aaron,
    THANK YOU for sharing your sweet story...and for sharing your precious lil guys with much richer my life is because of these sweet little heartbreakers! Prayers for your continued comfort and peace...LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

    PS LOVE IT you call Carlos the "little old man". SO precious!

  9. Whata beautiful story and walk on the beach and finding your sign, that your sweet Jack is and always will be with you. You have me crying too Jenny you tell your story so sweetly! Thank you for sharing your private walkl on the beach the 4 of you. Hugs

  10. I love this post. I've lost a dog that was also one of the loves of my life. It's so hard. I love that Jack gave you a sign. I love the photos and the song (which just happens to be the first dance song from my wedding). Sending you hugs as you remember your sweet pumpkin:)

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    I hate when people trivialize the loss of a pet (see: FAMILY MEMBER). I still get a little misty-eyed remembering my cat.

    I like that you guys are able to take joy in remembering Jack and see little signs that remind you of him.
    Sending hugs!

  12. Jenny hello :)
    youre hair is great.
    Just the color i was trying the have how can you dyed like that ?

  13. Bittersweet smile on my face, with this sweet remembrance of Jack,,,been thinking of you guys. xo

  14. Oh wow, Jenny! Reading this gave me chills! What a special sign!!

  15. This is an absolutely beautiful post. Love and peace and comfort to you guys and to sweet Carlos. <3

  16. Oh Jenny and Aaron how I feel for you the loss of your baby Jack. I lost my Max (German Shepard) of 11 years the night I read about your loss. The feelings of loss for a beloved pet are so hard to bare. I never realized it would be this hard and the hurt so big. After I came back from the hospital from having to put my baby down, I felt I didn't really get to say a proper good-bye. I spent over an hour and a half with him but still, I felt I didn't do it right and it bothered me so much. After he got injected I thought I had a little time to cuddle and make sure I was holding him when he passed but it didn't happen that way. The next morning I was dreaming I was in a loft apartment with a lot of people. I was mingling with the people there and towards the end of my dream I was talking to some guy while sitting in the corner of a sofa and out of nowhere; Max comes running and jumps on the sofa, he puts his chin on my chest and looks into my eyes and I into his and we cuddled and i kissed him a few times and it felt so was perfection! I'm glad you guys got your sign from Jack. I hope it gives you comfort as the dream I had with my Max gives me comfort. I'm sorry for your loss and for anybody out there reading this that has lost a pet. Love and peace to the 3 of you...Maggie.

  17. It's hard for me to read this, but drawn back wanting to know how you both are doing, I dread the day when my husband and myself loose our best friend. How wonderful that the pumpkin showed up on the beach and gave you a sign from you little loved one. Hoping that you and your hubby and Carlos fair well this storm. Hope that the days to come bring you much joy and contentment and remmeber your little Jack is above in a beautiful garden looking down upon you all with happiness in his heart. Wishing you the best!!!!!!

  18. I am so sorry for your loss of Jack--I know what it's like to lose a furry member of the family. I, too, have experienced the comfort of a visit from a pet who has passed. We lost our 18 year old male cat, Snickers, about 3 years ago and he still visits us---at night both my husband and I will feel a cat walking on the bed between us, but when we turn to see who it is (we have 3 other cats)...there's no one there. We both know it Snickers coming to check on us, letting us know he's okay and will be waiting for us on another side. I am so glad your Jack has come back to visit and comfort you, too.


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xo Jenny & Aaron