Optimism in the face of adversity

It’s been 7 days.

7 days.

6 nights without a welcome home and 6 mornings without a scrunchy-faced hello.

No drive by “so what are you cookin’ today” moments.

No yard tours. No dinner aides. No coffee partners.

7 days.

7 days without my buddy.

And there’s just so much I have to tell him, so much.

So if I could, I’d tell him about a new project we’re working on and how much fun we’re having and he’d nod his head in agreement because he always knew that’s what I needed.  And then I’d tell him about working to find just the right person to fill a job that’s come open, and he’d nudge me and tell me, in his own way, to trust my instincts and how they’ve always served me well — after all, they were right on spot with him.  And then I’d share  the news that Mom’s looking at maybe  – just maybe – moving after 61 years on the farm.  And he’d stay silent and close because he’d know .. he’d know that a decision likes that deserves nothing less than respect and reverence.

And after we’d checked on all things outside and had supper and taken a walk that was just long enough but not too much for him, I’d hug him close and whisper the words I said to him every night of his life, “You’re the best dog anyone could ever wish for. The very best. And there’s just no one better.”

And with it, he’d close his eyes and sigh and smile, guard our secrets and he’d know, know deep in his soul, that he had the kind of life other dogs can only dream of.

A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. 

And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” ― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Frankie-bear aka Captain Cuddles

Sure miss Frankie-bear aka Captain Cuddles; an Emjayandthem(c) photo

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Friendship, Grief, Growth, Life, Personal, Relationships, Share, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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44 thoughts on “Optimism in the face of adversity

  1. Sending hugs.

  2. Tugged at my heart strings.

  3. 😦 Oh MJ, dang it. Thinking of you.

  4. I relate to this deeply – and a few best buddies later…I’ve yet to stop missing them, though many other wonderful four footed friends have come into my life..

  5. Aw….I know you miss him, MJ. It makes me so sad that he’s no longer there with you. Those memories are bittersweet, aren’t they (guess that’s the way many memories are)?
    He’ll always have a special spot in your heart, and nothing will ever change that.
    Hugs to you, my friend.

    • Oh absolutely – he’ll always live on. He was the topic of conversation just tonight (yet again). Such a good boy. I swing between gratitude and grief. MJ

  6. I know, my friend. I know how you feel. These days are hard and the usual balance has shifted. Give yourself time. Frankie is there with you and always will be in your heart. Only time can ease the ache that you feel, but little by little, it will get easier. Hugs.

    • I know what you’re saying and it’s all true but darn it if isn’t sucky and hard in the moment, right? Having said all that, I remain, ever grateful to have known the world’s greatest dog 🙂


  7. I know it’s strange not to have such a familiar presence there.
    Can’t believe the timing. My sister had to lay her beloved beagle to rest on Monday.
    It makes me sad for both of you. Hugs.

    • aww, my best to your sister and her furry friend, too. It’s just another reminder to not take things too seriously, not get swept up in the nonsense, and to enjoy all that really matters. Hugs! MJ

  8. Oh, MJ, this is breaking my heart. I’m so, so sorry! How painful. I’m crying as I write this. Hugs to you, my dear!
    Hugs from Ecuador,

  9. Marilyn…I tried to comment last night but I had too much to say and it wouldn’t fit into this comment box…so I wrote you a blog. Take care and know that you and you’re family are in my prayers.

    • I just loved your tribute to George. They’re probably up in Heaven together, playing poker, dating poodles and laughing all the way to the bank 🙂


  10. My heart is with you MJ xoxoxo

  11. This gave me shivers and great big sobs. I know this pain all too well. Both of you were lucky to have each other. It was such a great connection. I always think people who have pets have a heightened level of loyalty and empathy. We laugh at floor piddles, worry when they don’t seem right and are willing to spend money to make them comfortable that we wouldn’t spend on ourselves. In return they give us a kind of love that is comforting and sustaining. They also break our hearts when they leave us to carry on without them.

    • You know what? I think you’re right … on the empathy front. He was such a good boy, so dignified and kind, loved by all. We have a whole community of friends and family who genuinely were sorrowful to know that he’d passed on. I loved him and all that he was, and I will remain ever grateful to have been the recipient of his trust and unwavering devotion …


  12. I still think of Eutaw — our old Chesapeake Bay Retriever that died 4 years ago. The things she liked, her little quirks. She’s still a part of my heart.

  13. It helps me knowing that others are feeling the same way that I am. So, knowing that you are going through this and that some of your other readers have gone through this, gives me comfort in my pain. Hope that makes sense and brings you some comfort too. Big hugs. Love, Tobi

    • You just experienced this, I know, and we are united in our love and admiration for our furry little friends and all they teach us and give us. The void is large but I am not in any rush to fill it.

      hugs back, Tobi girl

  14. I know you miss your buddy. I’ve never seen Marley, didn’t think I could bear it. Not in the theater, for sure. Hugs.

    • Never saw Marley the movie. Read the book. Bawled my face off reading it. Poor hubbs came along and thought someone died. Well they did.. and it was the pooch. Great book, but there’s no way I could handle the show!

      Hugs back

  15. Oh MJ, this post made me cry. Hang in there. I’m sending hugs your way.

  16. Moving. Wonderful. Thank you

  17. I’ve been thinking about you, wondering how you were doing since your loss of Frankie. Losing one of these little guys leaves a hole that doesn’t entirely close. I still feel that way about the three dogs that I lived with for so long. When they’re part of your heart, they just stay there, and there will always be reminders of them, just like the people you’ve lost. But it’s a sweet sadness…because you’ve been so blessed to have known them. Dogs are special. Glad you had this one in your life to love and be loved by. ~ Sheila

    • It’s up and down. All of us have been. The morning after all that, youngest boy started a new job on about 3 hours of sleep. He made it. I made it. Hubbs made it. We’ve had each other to lean on, to laugh with, to remember. Frankie was one of a kind and he’s spoiled us for any other dog; someday maybe .. not yet.

      Thank you for your kindness and concern, Sheila.


  18. I know all too well how this feels, so I’m sending you big hugs. It’s amazing how they always knew when we needed comfort and cuddles…

    Sending extra hugs to all of you,

  19. So sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful buddy. I’ve said goodbye to several canine family members over the years–it’s never easy. My closest buddy is now 12–so I know his days of guarding me, comforting me and accompanying me are numbered. I have a feeling your Frankie knew how very lucky he was.

    • Thank you, Karen. As much as we loved to have him, he was sticking around for us. Truly loyal till his dying day! I miss him very much but … I know I’ll see his fuzzy face again 🙂


  20. Your Frankie was lucky indeed. Sounds like he filled your life with SO much joy. Hoping your pain is lightened and your heart is at ease. Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories with us.

    • Thank you; we had the grand kids over this weekend and they were missing him, too. Miss MJ said “I miss my Frankie bear” but she understood, too. 2 seconds later they were telling me to get a puppy! 🙂 MJ

  21. Pingback: 6:34 am. And Inspired. – Lead.Learn.Live.

  22. I’m sorry for your loss. There is nothing like a dog. After over a dozen years of our ‘baby’ Tucker passing, memories sooth the soul and offer hope and inspiration. May your journey be gentle as you adjust.

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