Always Part of My Heart

As I dialed my friend Mary Jane’s number, I felt the tears sting my eyes. My heart began to pound rapidly and thoughts plus memories raced through my brain. Also a question:  Could we really go on? Could we adopt and love other dogs? Was it time? Why did Herschell and Henrietta die? Why?

MaryJane_and_MaryannAfter four rings, she answered in her usual light hearted but confident voice. Of course, Mary knew it was me because of the miracle of “Caller I.D.” However, she acted surprised even glad that we were connecting. After the initial niceties, I burst into tears crying uncontrollably.

Always a patient friend, she waited and waited. Then I had the courage and strength to blurt aloud these words: “But if we get the new dogs, it means that Herschell and Henrietta are really gone! They will not be coming back!”

With a quiet, “Yes, that is true.”I settled down to again listen to her wisdom.  With comforting words, she soothed my tattered self-esteem making me strong.  After a few minutes, I took a deep breath thanking her.

Rethinking our conversation, these thoughts remain in my mind.  When we incur loss, it seeps into every molecule of our lives. Of course, time dims some of the pain, but the actual reality often stays silent until a potential change looms ahead. I think that is when all of the questions fill our souls making us doubt, feel guilty, become depressed, and lose confidence.

I believe that God truly stands beside us during these times and creates a support system here on earth. Mary Jane is part of that and I consider her a gift in my life.

We talked about all the moments shared with each other and our dogs. She has lost many and kept repeating that I would go on but hold the “leashes” to the past and cherish them. She agreed that this hurt but also promised healing with new little ones in our lives. I will always thank her for these moments.

Therefore, as I pen this story, Emma and Anna sleep next to my computer. Their peace gives me peace as I live another day with them but also my memories.  All are great company as we age. All are included in a part of my heart.

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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