When the End Becomes the Beginning


My head was pounding as loudly as my heart. I didn’t want to open my eyes and see my husband carrying Finn, our seven year old Golden Retriever, out to the open back hatch of our veterinarian’s Subaru. I couldn’t bear the thought of Finn leaving us.

When I finally opened my eyes, I looked at Finn’s lifeless face. He wasn’t in there anymore. I could feel his soul all around me, but it wasn’t in his body. He was everywhere but nowhere. Nothing about that moment was tangible except my grief and my longing for his deep, warm eyes to look at me lovingly just one more time.

When the vet drove off with Finn’s body bundled up tightly in the back, I somehow made it into the house. I don’t remember climbing the four steps of our front porch or closing the door behind me. I only remember waking up on the couch some time later, my eyes wet and heavy.

I’m convinced that grief is something God devised to help us mark our human experience. And to make it even more interesting, he juxtaposed it with bliss. Think about it. Don’t most of us define our days, our months, our years by the sorrow that hollows us out and the joy that fill us up? Deaths, illness, and breakups occur, their weight teetering the see saw of life, only offset by births, remissions, and falling in love. The grief becomes joy. The heavy becomes light. The end becomes the beginning.

I wasn’t ready for joy, light, or a beginning after Finn died. I wanted to wallow in my grief. So I cried and journaled and asked my husband over and over again why Finn had to die at such a young age. I protested the Universe’s supposed bigger purpose for Finn. And every night on the sofa, I covered my miserable, aching body with the old, unwashed blanket that Finn laid on for the last weeks of his life and drank wine.

A couple of months after Finn died, I was walking into the nail salon when I got a call from the breeder who gave us Finn.

After exchanging pleasantries, the breeder said, “I just wanted to share some good news, I know it’s been tough after losing Finn,” she said, her tone compassionate yet upbeat.

I stood in the shade of the salon’s awning in silence. For a brief second I fantasized that she was calling to tell me Finn was there with her and I could come and pick him up. (Crazy, I know. But grief can do strange things to the mind.)

“I have a puppy here that would be perfect for you,” her jolly tone inflated my false hopes of Finn’s return.

The salon door opened and a woman hobbled out carefully as to not smudge her fresh pedicure. Her shimmering, aqua blue toenails snapped me back into reality – Finn was gone.

The few moments of silence were a cushion for me, but for the breeder on the other end of the line, the silence became awkward.

“Hello? Are you still there?” Her concern nudging me to reply graciously.

“Yes. So you have a puppy available? Is it a boy?” I asked, that old, familiar lump of grief creeping back up my throat.

“Yes! A boy. He’s smart and curious and he’s a cuddler.” She enthused, “And, he’s as cute as anything. I wondered if you might be ready for another one?”

I closed my eyes and remembered the first time we met Finn. We went to the airport and picked him up after his flight from Ohio. He popped out of the black sherpa bag and wrapped his arms around my neck. I could still remember his smell.

A sudden rush of joy sent tears rolling down my pink flushed cheeks.

“Yes, I’m ready,” I whispered, feeling Finn smiling down on me proud that I finally let it go. In that gifted moment of purposeful joy, outside of a nail salon, my grief evaporated in the heated swell of my happy heart.

A few weeks later, my husband and I once again met the breeder at the airport. As she got off the tram, I saw the same black sherpa bag she had used for Finn hanging from her shoulder. And just as she approached us, a curious furry face popped out from the unzipped top.

I reached inside and pulled the puppy to my neck.

“Hello, Irwin. It’s nice to meet you.” I closed my eyes and inhaled. He had his own smell, different from Finn, but equally as precious.

The breeder spent the afternoon at our house and after some sustenance and a solid hug farewell, my husband drove her back to the airport. Holding Irwin, I walked into the living room and picked up Finn’s old blanket. I pulled it up to my nose and inhaled deeply. It still smelled faintly like him. I smiled at Irwin and laid the blanket back down on the couch. I wouldn’t be using it to envelope myself in grief anymore.

What I had once perceived to be the end was actually the beginning. The beginning of a new chapter, a bigger heart, and a greater awareness that both grief and joy have a purpose. They are where God’s pendulum swings every so often so that all the stuff in the middle, which we call life, doesn’t feel blah and meaningless.

I sat down on the back porch with Irwin and took a selfie of us. The sunlight filtered down omnipresently over my right shoulder. And in that moment of joy, Finn was there with me once again. 


What Are You Ashamed Of?

Growing up, my mom often said “shame on you” when I did something she didn’t approve of. Back then it was a common phrase I heard from mothers all over the neighborhood. (As an added bonus, we also got the simultaneous index finger rubbing motion.) At the time, I didn’t really understand what the shame […]

Continue reading...

Trying Something New This Year?

This year I made a resolution…no more resolutions! Instead, I decided to try something different. I’d immerse myself and learn something new. So I signed up for a 30 day yoga teacher training course. Yep. Every day, all day, I’d learn the history of yoga. I’d learn Sanskrit and how to chant. I’d meditate for […]

Continue reading...

How Lovable Are You?

How lovable are you these days? Are you happy? Are you in love? Wishing for love? Feeling love? Spreading love? Or, do you wish Cupid would call in sick and they’d take Valentine’s Day off the calendar indefinitely? If you’re feeling blah about love, it’s time to be honest about how much you love yourself. We […]

Continue reading...

Blankets and Other Thoughts on Security

Not so long ago, I was a six year old girl who wanted a Star Wars sleeping bag for Christmas. I wrote Santa a letter asking for it. And just in case my letter got lost in the mail, I pestered my mom until she took me to Higbee’s department store to sit on Santa’s […]

Continue reading...

Lost Your Holiday Cheer? Here’s How to Find It

I haven’t felt like putting up a Christmas tree this year. It may be December, but I sure haven’t been feeling the Christmas spirit. I couldn’t help but wonder – where was my holiday cheer? This would be the first year I didn’t celebrate Christmas with a tree. Even in my busiest and most emotionally trying […]

Continue reading...

Younique 3D Fiber Lashes ~ For Longer, Thicker, Fuller Eyelashes

Do you want longer, thicker, fuller lashes without the harsh chemicals of lash extensions and lash tinting? Well then, Younique 3D fiber lashes are an absolute game changer if you want longer, thicker, fuller looking eyelashes. Before trying Younique fiber lashes, I tried everything to give my lashes that full, sexy look. But, the adhesive used in […]

Continue reading...

10 Black Friday Deals For a Smart, Sexy, Spiritual Holiday

It’s Black Friday, which means that the Christmas season has officially begun! It also means shopping, and I mean lots of shopping, for thee perfect gifts. So whether you’re buying a gift for someone else or you’re treating yourself, this list of 10 Karousing Black Friday deals will have you feeling smart, sexy, and spiritual. […]

Continue reading...

The Dos and Don’ts For a Happier Thanksgiving

The days before a big holiday can get crazy. We’re rushing around shopping, fighting traffic, and cooking. Add to all that, the cleaning and the prepping and the potential family drama that ensues. Here are a few dos and don’ts for a happier, more peaceful Thanksgiving. Do plan ahead. I like to make my grocery […]

Continue reading...