Thursday, June 28, 2018


Mostly I am just staring at this blank screen nervous about the words that I want to write.  I have been writing this post every morning for the past month,  on my way to work, ...planning the right words.....and now that it is time, my stomach is nervous and anxious.

I almost didn't start it.  I was just going to wait till another day when I am braver, or stronger or something. 


Stella Rose deserves the words, she worked hard these past 8 I take a deep breath and start typing.


One month ago today Stella Rose went to stay at the 21st step of the rainbow bridge.  The deal she made with me was as soon as she knew I understood AND learned the "lesson" she was sent to teach me she would pack up her pup tent, and cross the bridge.  Although I reassured her I would be fine, and to please cross, I know in my heart, she has been waiting this whole month, to see what I would do.  She knows her momma's heart and soul better then even I do.

So I am going to tell you a story about how Stella's lesson came to be, and then I know she will keep her promise to me.

When I was 16 years old, my grandmother died.  She was 64.  Just one year older than I am now.  My grandparents had always lived right across the road from me, and I had a wonderful life with them.  I spent every day and most evenings running back and forth to their house, going places with them, staying all night, helping grandma around the house and yard.  I am the oldest grandchild, so I am sure I was spoiled and treasured.  I thought I would have her all my life, and of course, as many of us experience, God has his own plans.

One Sunday night she was so sick Grandpa took her to the hospital, and the doc told him she needed to have her gallbladder out.  I wasn't worried mainly because at that age, I thought I had control of my life, and I was sure Grandma would always be there for me, and plus it was a simple surgery.  Except it wasn't.  They found cancer.  It was the week before Thanksgiving, and they said she could come home, and would probably be with us till Christmas.

I didn't believe them, and knew,  was positive, once Grandma came home, things would be just fine.  Forty eight years ago people really didn't talk to their kids like we do now, so no one sat us down and explained her illness or the future.  After all, we were just kids.

Grandma passed away the day after her surgery.  They called our home around 9:30 that night, and mom and dad left to go to the hospital.  They didn't tell us kids till the next morning, but I knew when the phone rang.

The adults were busy making funeral plans; we became invisible, and over time I believe it just became easier for them to think we were all okay.  So I told myself I was.

Except I wasn't.  I had all these emotions rattling around in my brain and heart and I didn't know what to do with them, or who to talk to about them.  So I hid them away and pretended I wasn't feeling all the pain from grandma's loss, and that became the beginning of my grief suitcase.

Over the years it became a learned pattern for me.  My suitcase became so full, the only way I could close it, was the old fashioned way of sitting on it, and shoving crap inside and then locking it up. 

If I would start to feel any type of grief I would mentally run to get my suitcase.  I repeated this behavior until the day that Stella left my side.

Its an unhealthy way to live, never letting yourself feel sadness, or sorrow and sometimes even anger.  A person just mentally shuts down, but goes on with the life they are living.

I know many adults struggle with this same issue, and although we are happy and loving people, we also full of anxiety, and worry, and pain.

WELL, here comes Stella in my life and she managed to do something wonderful that even my children and grandchildren, whom I love dearly, were not able to do.  Open my suitcase.

Most of you know that Stella lived a horrible life until the day I brought her home, but she never let that affect her.  She was a strong little pug, and loved me with all her heart.  She taught me a lot of little lessons, and brought wonderful friends into my life.  Stella is one of my best gifts.  Best.


About a month before Stella left, I started to think about what her lesson to me would be and just the thought of not having her immediately made me feel these awful emotions, and I ran to the suitcase.  I ran several times, for several days and then one night it hit me....."oh no, its the damn suitcase, it will be her lesson!"

You know how you can have this love/hate relationship with something.  Well, that describes the suitcase and me.  Its my awful security, its my go to place when life is horrible......and hard, and heartbreaking.  Its. My. Suitcase.

I thought her lesson would be about love, and laughter, and friendship.  I had arguments in my head  and with Stella about her lesson, and I hung onto her.


then one day I let go of her.

 I lost Stella and  I allowed myself to cry, and to feel my heart breaking.  It was awful.  It didn't set me free, it didn't make me feel safe or better, it hurt.  I hated it.  I knew though she wanted me to just once in my adult life feel these emotions, and deal with them.

So I did.  Of course there were a few times, like 100 times, I started for my suitcase, but I would stop myself, and feel the emotions of Stella not being in my life.  It. Was. Hard.

Some nights I pretend she is beside me in the bed.  I snuggle her, and go to sleep, those emotions hurt.   I talk to her in the mornings on my way to work, and those emotions hurt.  I am writing this post for her, and these emotions hurt.  

I haven't thrown that old suitcase away, but I haven't opened it up either.  I wish Stella could have stayed longer, but I know she was always meant for me, and me for her.  She was a wonderful teacher, and finally I am a willing student.  

Pack your tent up baby girl, step over into that wonderful world waiting for you, hug your brother and aunt, and baby cotton.  I know I will see you one day.  

Love your momma



  1. That was breathtakingly haunting and lovely. I so understand. I was exactly that way before I got Barkley. He opened me up to love again, and hurt, but it was hurt I could handle as it made the rest of my life more profound. Hugs.

  2. I saw me a little in your story... and I'm so glad you will keep the suticase but its closed now... I hope once I find the power to close mine too...

  3. Deb this is the most beautifully written heartfelt post. I know it was hard but I think it was also helpful. You have such a way with words and 'grief suitcase' should be copyrighted by you as it truly describes the feeling. Your insight is inspiring and FOR ALL YOU WHO have not had the pleasure of meeting Deb let me tell you she is as much a guiding light in person as on paper.
    Hugs Cecilia and Madi and Bryan

  4. Deb; I agree with Cee; you need to copyright this post so no one takes your words to claim as their own.

    I cried when I read this; and I know I shouldn't, but I did.

    Grief has seven stages; so we're told, and sadly, one must go through them, to get past them.

    Grief has no rules or regulations or time frame and differs with each person, and each person's loss; and by this I mean, you have grieved in a different "fashion" for each loss; some more painful than others.

    Your suitcase can be kept; tossed, opened, closed, ignored, but it's YOURS to deal with how YOU see fit. YOU need to grieve in YOUR own way and do NOT let anyone tell you any different

    I have talked to my grandmother, grandfather, uncle, dude, boomer, & sauce, in my minds eye, as many times as I did when they were still "here" and I will continue to do so, until the day I die
    and see them again. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, sometimes I ask for help

    I hope you continue to talk to your gram, and stella and anyone else, that lives on in your heart, because I truly believe they listen.

    Stella is not by your side in a physical sense, but she IS by your side, and always will be in a spiritual sense, and this is a promise ~~~~ ♥♥

    sorry for writing a novelette here and please don't think you have to post this comment; I won't be offended if you don't


  5. Deb, that was wonderful... That second to the last, and the last picture... that was Stellie! Brava!

  6. That was truly beautiful!
    Cam, Mags, and our mom

  7. Hari om
    I Love you Deb - for courage, for Stella and for the process called grief. (((((HUGS))))) YAM xx😘

  8. I am at a loss for words but not for tears. Such a beautiful post as only you can write. I can feel your heart.
    Hazel & Mabel

  9. That was just beautiful. Hugs to you, Miss Deb♥

  10. Wow, it's hard to type through the tears. What a beautifully written post. We do learn such great life lessons from our furries and one of them is that loss hurts and it's okay to grieve! If we can't grieve, we can't heal properly. So glad your beautiful Stella Rose has helped you so much. Hugs, Deb!

  11. What a beautiful post. You were blessed to have Stella in your life to help you. We are sending hugs and licks to you.

  12. Oh Deb ..... what to say?? Except perhaps ... I am so glad our paths have crossed. Your innermost thoughts expressed so beautifully. Stella Rose will always be by your side. She was so special. As are you.

  13. Our dogs give us a lot of precious gifts and Stella did so by not letting you pack your emotions in the grief case. This was beautifully written

  14. Wow, that was beautiful and I think you probably helped yourself immensely be writing that. You helped me and I'm sure that there are others you helped. You have a fantastic way with words, thank you so very much. Good job, Stella!:-)

    Take care,
    Lucy (Troy, Ohio)

  15. Thank you so much for writing this Deb....It's beautiful, heartfelt, and totally hit home.
    Hugs and Smiles headed your way,

  16. Oh Deb, how I think many of us can totally relate to your words. I've always been a very strong person since the day I was born. But losing my sweet, lovable Lily Belle brought me to my knees. After all, she was my fur-child. I still don't think the pain and sorrow will ever go away. It continues in my heart every second, of every day. My hardest loss out of many. I'm finally able, after 7 months, to speak her name without becoming a blubbering idiot. Holding on to all the wonderful memories is not easy. There are so many things about her I feel I am forgetting. How can that be?! I then run to look at her picture. Grief is hard. Grief sucks. Life shouldn't be so difficult. But in truth I know it is. If I grieve Lily Belle till the day I die, it's OK. At least I know she's in my heart and mind every single day. #LoveNeverDies

    I send you loads of love and hugs from Florida.


  17. Thank you for sharing this, so sorry for your loss. Love the picture of the two of you! Stella was so lucky to be part of your family. <3

  18. I know that it was so hard for you to write this. But, I am so grateful. I have tears running down my face, knowing how hard it is for you and has been for me through the losses in my life. You are courageous and amazing. Stella was a lucky dog and you were a lucky human that you were together. You grew such a strong bond that Stella is helping you with your suitcase. Let her lead the way. Hugs and Love from Shyla, R, and KB.

  19. Sorry we are so behind on commenting, but that was a wonderful story! You could expand on that concept and write a best-seller. We miss all of our angels, human and doggies, very much too.

  20. Fank you Momma of my Bestest and Sweetest Twin, my Mum did cry but she also feels lots better...luffs you
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  21. Oh, my friends, I am sitting here with tears. This post hits home so deeply this week after the loss of our Holly. It sure is hard to say goodbye to these four-footed angels.