It started with a picture that became a memory that became tears. See, there once was a boy who stole my heart and became part of my soul. The picture you see is him at 6 weeks staring at my back, picking me as his love. And his love I became, and he mine. He was with me for twelve years. Unbeknownst then, those were among the best years of my life. It was he and Willow who gave both my husband and me the memories of travels, laughter and love of a lifetime.
His last year was a slow decline from to Degenerative Myelopathy (a Parkinson's disease for dogs). It was painful to watch. But it gave me the time (hooray for early retirement) to spend each day to be with him. Willow had been gone for five years and I concentrated on every moment: Cody resting, sunning himself and looking at me with shining eyes.
It was in that year I realized that he, like Willow and those before her, taught me something special unto them. Felix, my 17-year old cat taught me that true love, real love doesn't hurt. She was the only constant in life with a bad marriage and traumatic relationship. While those hurt and ended, she remained; she loved me for simply being me - and that love never hurt.
Willow taught me about devotion. She taught me that she and I were a team and had a bond so tight we could sense each other's thoughts. Devotion to each other meant I could lean on her as she could on me. Real devotion was doing anything for someone or something because you want to rather than you need to.
And Cody taught me about living in and appreciating every moment. He taught me that life doesn't have do overs, or as Ferris Bueller said: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you may miss it. Cody taught me that every moment is a memory, and every memory is to be held and cherished. He taught me to appreciate and be grateful for the simplest of things rather than wanting more; that life wouldn't be magic 'if only' I had x,y or z. He taught me that I had everything right in front of me if I only stopped for a minute and saw it.
And those tears of loss shed today? Oh, they come back now and then, but are replaced by memories that leave a smile - because he taught me to live in the moment.
Moments. The moment that you open your eyes and see the brilliant colors of the blooms around you rather than staring out the window thinking about work. The moment you look up and capture the clouds rolling like waves or dramatically held by a vivid sunset rather than reliving the words said that angered or hurt you. The moment you breathe deeply for what life has given you rather than what you lost. The moment you realize there is beauty every freaking day if you allow yourself to see it.
So, today I ache. Tomorrow will be better. Live in this moment.