Your Charmed Life

Your Charmed Life

Aspen’s Obituary

I don’t usually write on Sunday, but I’m making an exception, as I watch my life trying to rearrange itself in the wake of Aspen’s death. 

It’s always hard when someone you love leaves, regardless of species. The tragic deaths,

Aspen running.jpg

those that are untimely or violent, are the most difficult, but even a merciful death as Aspen’s was—she’d lived a long life, got six months extra with the cancer treatment, and was able to go before things got too bad—still leaves those of us affected by it with a hole to fill, a void to feel, and a life that doesn’t stack up right. Aspen was with us since 1994. To go on without her will take some getting used to.
We never did get one of those housecall vets to come (note to self: die during the week), but going to the neighborhood animal clinic that she’s used to turned out to be a bittersweet blessing. Nick carried Aspen down the stairs but after that she wanted to walk. I was surprised that she made it the two blocks on her own, sniffing trees and buildings because she was a long-nosed dog and sniffing was her favorite thing. My daughter, Adair, her husband, Nick, their other dog, Oliver, and I were all with Aspen when she went. We wrapped her in love. I stayed on with her for a few minutes after. I figured she was up on the ceiling looking down, like the near-death-experience people say, and I didn’t want to just leave. I told her to follow the Light, but she lived in the Light so I don’t think she had any trouble.
Yesterday was a sad. I walked around the Upper West Side and ultimately went into a little beauty shoppe I know and got my roots touched up. When in doubt, self-care is a good thing. Last night Adair and Nick and I went to dinner. I bought mangoes from the street vendor on their corner. He has the best mangoes. Since life has to go on, it needs to go on with some quality, I figure. 
Today, for me anyway, is worse than yesterday. It’s a Sunday. There’s a line from an old Kris Kristofferson song that goes, “And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’ half as lonesome as the sound, on these sleepin’ city sidewalks, Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.” I guess because the routine of work isn’t here for comfort, Sundays seem longer and harder. William is out of town. I didn’t go to church because my church is mega-joyous. Most of the time that’s good. Today I wanted something else. Maybe to think these thoughts and write these words.
Here is the tribute that Adair wrote for Aspen:
Aspen lying.jpg
After 15 years of unwavering love and companionship, Aspen peacefully left this world on June 27, 2009.
When we met Aspen she was an abandoned stray found wandering the streets in a rainstorm, starving and afraid. She taught us that great happiness can follow a difficult beginning, and that helping a fellow creature in need is one of the greatest joys of life.
Aspen has been with us through the loss of family members, a move across country, and a marriage; she walked down the asile as the “flower dog.” Through good times and bad, Aspen was always there reminding us to live  every day to the fullest, and to love those around us unconditionally.
Please direct any donations in Aspen’s memory to Mighty Mutts, an all-volunteer dog-and-cat rescue group serving the New York City metropolitan area. Thank you for all your support.
Aspen closeup.jpg

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posted June 28, 2009 at 6:50 pm

If it’s any comfort I know just how you all feel. Prayers for you all, through tears, Gayle

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Ann Adams

posted June 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Perhaps this poem by Ellen Brenneman can bring just a touch of comfort. I am so sorry.
Her Journey’s Just Begun
Don’t think of her as gone away-
her journey has just begun
life holds many facets
the Earth is only one
Just think of her as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years
Think how she must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away
And think of her as living
In the hearts of those she touched
For nothing loved is ever lost-
And she was loved so much.

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Jacqueline Whitmore

posted June 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Victoria, Adair and Nick,
I am so very sad for you as I know how much you must miss your sweet Aspen. My life would not be complete without my two loving canine kids. I pray that you find comfort and joy in the memories she left behind. Blessing to you all, Jacqueline

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Linda Ruocco

posted June 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Dear Victoria,
I am so sorry… I know how much you and Adair loved Aspen.
In my story last week, I made reference to an excerpt from Victor Hugo’s, “Toilers of the Sea”. I’d like to give that to you here in full….
“I am standing upon that fore shore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She’s an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs as a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she’s gone.” “Gone where?” Gone from my sight, that’s all.
She is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my sight, just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And, just at that moment, when someone at MY side says, “There, she’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
…and that is dying.”
You are the one who taught me that, Victoria… I know it doesn’t remove the sadness at all… but Aspen is in her eternal creative self-espression with God….. we but mourn for ourselves…..
There ARE other eyes watching Aspen bounding towards them and taking up the glad shout, “Here she comes! Yay, Aspen!!”…..
Much love, Linda xoxo
PS: Sorry, I didn’t realize I didn’t have my name there… it’s me…

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posted June 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Dear Victoria. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Aspen. I received both your books today from Chapters and just went on line before starting my read and then read your blog. Blessings to you and your family during this time. Sharon

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posted June 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Somethings are just too sad. Be brave.
Love Barbara

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patti b

posted June 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Sharing heartbreak with you and Adair, and sending love to you both. I also send my hope that in time memories will one day comfort you and bring delight again, as Aspen always did.
Patti B.

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Wanda in Connecticut

posted June 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Victoria, Adair and Nick-I write this as tears run down my cheeks because I feel so sorry for this pain your going through. I will pray for Aspen to be kept comfortable in the company of angels in heaven as she seemes to have been in the company of angels on earth as part of your family/friends circle. Much love.

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posted June 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Please accept my condolences. I was afraid to open this post, because I knew what it was going to say. I hope you found some solace in writing and celebrating Aspen’s life. People without pets may not understand, but it’s only because they have not received the type of love only a pet can give. Oliver may be acting oddly over the next few days too, so make sure he gets plenty of attention. He may have a hard time adjusting and he will be looking for her.
Take care and hugs to you, Adair, Nick, William and Oliver.

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posted June 29, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Sending you much love and courage this Monday evening. Many blessings my dear Victoria.

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Your Name

posted June 29, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Sending comfort and strength to you as you move forward from this point. I know you are sad now and miss herm but what a great gift and blessing Aspen was in your life, a miracle even. Just the way that you found her was a divine connection. What a precious gift that graced your life…a gift named Aspen. And how blessed she was to have found you and your family to make a home for her and encircle her with love.
My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

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Steve Baer

posted June 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Sad tidings Victoria – Aspen moved on across the Rainbow Bridge about 3 Months after my companion Murphy, a 75 pound Golden/Labrador mix. He was a caretaker keeping the house clean of dog cookie crumbs and fallen cat food from the 7 cats with whom he lived. He also died at 15 years old after surviving an intestinal cancer operation two years earlier. Aspen’s story brought back sadness. It takes time. You were wise in treating yourself well in trying to cope with the emotional pain. My way of dealing with it was, with a bad back and tears in my eyes, to dig 100-plus pound boulders out of the ground and make a rock garden. In hindsight, I think I tried to bring the emotional pain out from my heart. It worked! My back was so sore, I couldn’t lie down comfortably for nearly a month. My sympathy is with you – Steve from MA

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Terry Jordan

posted June 30, 2009 at 12:59 am

Dear Victoria, Adair and Nick~
Please know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for sharing your sorrow so that others can hold you during this time.
Just before our daughter Emily died of leukemia at the age of five, she turned to her infant brother Timothy and said, “You chose a really good family.”
Thank you for sharing stories and pictures of Aspen. To quote Emily, it looks like Aspen “chose a really good family.”
With Love and Blessings,

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Corinne Rodrigues

posted June 30, 2009 at 1:12 am

My condolences…Aspen seemed to have been a loving dog and I can’t begin to imagine your sense of loss.
Take care and thanks for continuing to inspire in your time of grief.

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posted June 30, 2009 at 2:28 am

From Barcelona, Spain
This mornig when my she dog wake me up, (she is 15 too and was rescue froma container as a puppy !!!!) I have been more concious, thanks to your entry, of how blessed we are to have the inconditional love of this marvellous creatures !! I can’t imagine a day without her greetings when I come back home.. no matter how I look or how terrible the day has been.. I’m sure there’s a hevaen for dogs and I’m sure too tha Aspen it’s there…

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posted June 30, 2009 at 8:16 am

I’m so sorry that the vet I recommended didn’t work out but it sounds like everything worked out as it should for Aspen to go peacefully. I’m holding a space for you and your family and sending you much love and sympathy.

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posted June 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

I am so sorry to hear about Aspen. Thinking of you, Adair & family.

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posted June 30, 2009 at 8:54 am

Dear Victoria…I am so sorry for your lost of Aspen..but at least she is not in pain…its never easy for any type of lost, but we most move on…the minutes, the hours, the days & the years lessen the pain, but know that you will always have that dent in your heart that they have left…may we all have dents that leave they marks & their love in our hearts… is to your dent Aspen & to all the others that have left their marks in your heart…grace & peace 2 “U” Marlene

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Carol Fish

posted June 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

My heart is crying with yours. It is so hard losing one of our “pet children” who have given so much and so unconditionally. Aspen is smiling down and assuring you that he’s pain free and happy. He will always be with you and you with him.

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posted June 30, 2009 at 10:21 am

Deepest sypmpathies during this heartbreaking time. Kindred spirits are forever together, so Aspen will never leave you, but it’s still so hard! I’m glad you are taking care of yourself and paying tribute to her. Wishing you comfort and pure peace.

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Diana Tomseth

posted June 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

Thank you for sharing these moments with us. It is good to be reminded of the joy and bittersweet memories of our departed pets. I cried for you, your family, Aspen and our beloved Luke. Thanks for allowing us to “do” something by sharing the Mighty Mutts website.

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posted June 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm

God bless Aspen!

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posted June 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm

oh Victoria, I am so sorry. It is just a year since I lost our Bonnie and then my Beauty, and I remember how brave I knew you and Adair were… It is the hardest time in our lives when we lose those who love us unconditionally.
Think about the day you took Aspen to the park and she was wearing her gogles – remember how everyone came to see her and they took pictures, everyone loved her… she was a star! If you get the chance pick up a book called, The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s written from the vantage point of Enzo (an aging, dying dog)… Or even just go to the book store and read the last couple of chapters. Our pets love us come hell or high water and you and Adair and Nick know that, that kind of love Never dies. Never!

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Chaplain Laura

posted June 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm

I just want you all to know I am thinking about you .Here is a hug or two. She has crossed the rainbow bridge …

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Joanne Capatides

posted June 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

My heart goes out to you at this time. You, Adair, Nick, William, Oliver and Aspen are in my thoughts and prayers. May you find comfort in your love for each other and for Aspen and in the love from those of us who care about you.

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Camille Wilson

posted July 1, 2009 at 7:15 am

Dear Victoria, Adair, and Nick,
I send you my thoghts and prayers and big e-hugs. Love, Camille

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posted July 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

Aspen is a well loved dog ( I say ‘is’ because she will always be with you). I know your heart feels heavy right now. Thank you for your blog and showing us how to continue with grace and love.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

My love and prayers are with you, as always. ~ Janice

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posted July 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Dear Victoria and Family,
I was very sorry to hear about Aspen’s passing. I enjoyed reading about her life with you and your daughter’s tribute was beautiful, as well. There is nothing quite like these inter-species relationships, huh?! Aspen was so fortunate to have all of you, too. Big hugs from Oregon.

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Linda Flake

posted July 1, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Dear Victoria & Adair and William & Nick.
Oh, I remember Aspen so very well. We love our pets so very much
and those we sheltered from the storm show their gratitude with
utmost loyalty and “good-dog” ways. They are the hardest to say
farewell to, I believe. I’m so sorry for the emptiness you are
experiencing. Her memories will soon heal the loss.
Peace, poetry & fond memories,

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