This morning I’m humming the song Mariah.  There are two songs from my childhood: Que Sera and Mariah.  Steve points out I’m humming again which is curious because after a beautiful day, last night hammered in as a tough one.  

My son and his wife, Chris and Frieda, adopted a rescue Keeshond a few years ago.  Velvet’s owner had passed away and Velvet is a light in their lives. She is one of those enlivened beings who lifts you in a smile. She loves life and her huge brown eyes shine bright.  Spirit pours through.

When they got her they found out she had cancer but they thought surgery got it all but it’s been a battle and the sweet little thing has once again been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.  Today they’ll find out if there is no hope and they need to put her to sleep or if she can be kept alive a month or two so they’ll have time to prepare. She had another transfusion last night.

They’re not ready.  I understand. I’m not ready either and I don’t understand why it’s so painful and hard.  I’m once again caught as though I’m in a hammock or on a trampoline and I’m struggling to get out or off.  I need a pause, and I know I’m the only one who can create one. My brother passed 73 days ago, and I wonder what it is to navigate this thing called “fun”.

Katy and I shared a wonderful day yesterday, had brunch at Cavallo Point and again a Great Blue Heron stood watch.  I sit with it now, this pain of letting go. I want to understand. I’m trying to be compassionate with myself, and then, a voice comes in, “Can’t you move along? What’s wrong with you?”

Last night Frieda posted what BARK – Bay Area Rescue Keeshond had posted on Velvet – Vellie – people are praying for her, and I think of connection, and how these people are praying for this bright spirit of a dog, and how the little dear came into our lives to give us what we need, the ability to allow even more tears, tears of love, compassion, and connection, tears of liquid love, to fall.

When Chris was in second grade, his fish died.  It was one of those fish you “win” at a fair. He needed to go to school as it was a nation-wide test day but when I drove him, he wouldn’t get out of the car.  I went in and spoke with the teacher and she said it was important to honor his grief, to take him home and be with the loss of the fish. There’s always another day for making up what’s missed.  I feel like I’ve given myself time, and then it’s like there’s another hit, another need to mobilize and honor the complexity of this amazing world we share.  

I’m with that now, with sensitivity, and grief.  I know grief carves out more room for joy. I know this, but some days, and this is one of them, it’s tough to mobilize on that knowing and now I remember a jewelry box I had as a child.  When I opened the lid, a tiny ballerina spun around on a point on a mirror.  

May that be me today, a ballerina spinning on a fine point as we take the ferry to the city knowing there are many prayers in the air for Little Vellie. I trust the love she gives and the fighter she is, and that, she, too, that little fur ball, with many shaved places for surgery and insertions, has her own path, and there is love.

My niece Katy and I in the Headlands

Velvet five days ago – a trooper even undergoing chemotherapy

3 thoughts on “Day 73: Cultivating Compassion

  1. I love the photos of Kate and you! I had no idea she was that tall! You both look so happy. It is a wonderful ventral vagal photo- you can look at it and smile and tap into your engagement with each other. Wonderful!

    And how loving and lovely that Vellie brings together a circle of love and support for Frieda and Chris and your grandson-in-utero. Vellie shows the circle that she has created. When she drops her body, that circle remains.




    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Elaine. As you now know, Velvet has dropped her body and left us in a healing circle of tears. She was a blessing of pure love and I am sad today. Sad is not a strong enough word for what I feel. I’m weighed down with grief.


  3. I re-read this post the next day. I couldn’t take the ferry, couldn’t be out and about. Grief is a weight that must be honored, and Vellie was and is a Light in my Heart.


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