Lynn's Continuing Journal

Monday, October 29, 2001

Here it is October and now, almost November!  I can’t believe that fall is here already...!  Wasn’t it just summer?  But the nip of the crisp, cool air that greets my nostrils each morning tells me that the season has begun to change.  As I drive through the valley to work in the mornings I see the foals and the calves in the pastures and notice they're beginning to grow their shaggy, winter-to-come coats.  The falcons and the hawks that used to sit lazily, high in the branches waiting for their meals to come to them now sit lower in the trees.  They hover with keener anticipation for their prey to come closer as if they know it’s time to eat hearty to lay on that extra layer of warmth for the winter to come.  The trees have changed their dresses of green to blazing red and brilliant oranges and their leaves dance at the edge of the road as I go whizzing by.  The morning frost glazes the meadows where spring flowers grew only seconds ago, or so it seems….  Pumpkins have traded places with them and now wait to be picked to become some child’s Jack O’lantern…  How could harvest time have snuck up on me so quickly..?!?!? 

I guess it’s because I’ve been keeping so busy that I haven’t had time to notice how fast time is speeding by.  AngelHeart Eskies have been keeping me VERY busy with back-to-back litters and dog shows to the max!  Mercy had her 4 puppies in May and her daughter, Ruby, had her litter of 6 puppies August 30th.  She presented me with 4 boys and 2 girls and to say the least, it’s much easier caring for a litter of 4 than 6.  The amount of newsprint on the floor supports that statement, LOL.  I called the litter “Teamster Union Local #777” in honor of Labor Day weekend. 

Besides having puppies, I’ve been attending both UKC and AKC shows trying to finish Spirit’s AKC title.  She earned her UKC Grand Champion title on July 8th, which would have been Cees’ 64th birthday.  On October 13th she earned another major at the Longview, WA AKC show giving her both majors needed and 12 points total.  Now, she only needs 3 more regular points to finish her AKC title. She’ll be my second AKC Champion but my first dual UKC Grand Champion/AKC Champion.  Cees’ girl, Ruby, earned her AKC Champion title this past Spring and lacks but one win in UKC Champion class to earn her UKC Grand Champion title.  Only problem is, since she’s had puppies, she’s lost her glorious coat!  She’ll need the winter to put on a new one but I hope to finish her this spring.  I have no more puppies planned until the spring of 2002 at which time I plan to breed Spirit.  Here’s hoping that she’ll earn her last three points this January at the AKC show in Puyallup, WA.  The titles look awesome on the puppy’s pedigrees and it’s a mark of achievement for my breeding program.  It tells me I’m doing something right I think! 

I finished my girl, Faith’s, UKC Champion title last month and we attended a show on October 27th where she earned her first Champion class win.  She needs 4 more wins under 2 separate judges to finish her UKC Grand champion title.  So needless to say, we have been and will continue to be, fairly busy.  The next couple of years with the girls and their achievements will continue to keep me occupied.  I’m also interested in trying for their International titles if possible and the next step after conformation is therapy work and agility. 

In July I had a new flowerbed border created under the living room window flowerbed and the old sod dug out of the lawn.  They brought in 10 yards of new topsoil and laid down new sod.  I was the envy of the neighborhood to say the least this summer.  The new grass was beautiful and I was really surprised that I didn’t really have to water that much.  It’ll be nice to see what it looks like next spring. Who knows, maybe I’ll get bit by the garden bug again and bring my garden back to life…  It’s been a long time since those beds have really been happy and beautiful.  I used to spend so much time tending them but in light of the past couple of years…they’ve definitely taken a back seat to other plans. 

This summer I finally was able to get the driveway and parking area asphalted.  Took me 24 years to do it, but it finally got done.  Sure makes a difference in what the little place looks like.  No more weeds and grasses coming up from the gravel and I can actually walk from the house to the mailbox in my bare feet if I want to.  I think maybe I’ll paint some white parking lines on it and charge for airport parking.  I’ll discount it a bit; I don’t do a shuttle service, LOL. 

On Labor Day weekend I thought I should probably try and clean up the place a little.  I’m pretty proud of myself actually.  I took the little pickup, backed her up in the driveway, using the mirrors…loaded up all the empty boxes and stuff off the deck that had accumulated over the past months and decided to haul it to the dump.  Cees used to tell me, “Use your mirrors when you’re backing up…you’ll never know when you’re not going to be able to use the window and you’ll be glad that you can use the side mirrors” He used to amaze me how he could back a semi up between two trailers with less than an inch between them.  You could take a tape measure and measure them and they would be exactly smack dab in the middle.  Well, it’s a good thing I listened to him, ‘cause once I got the truck loaded there was no way I’d be seeing out that back window! 

I did remember to tie the load down, but I wish I had of paid more attention to how he tried to teach me those trucker knots.  I faked it and it stayed tied down, but it was pretty funny looking...  LOL. Then off I went to the dump.  It’s amazing how even a small trivial thing like this can set off the memories of past trips.  We usually sang the “dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump” song and laughed each time at how corny it was.  But still, every time, the song had to sung (smile). Anyway, I got there without losing a bit of my load, weighed in and drove to the dumping area.  I backed up “Bessie” like a pro…using my mirrors (big smile) and even remembered to put on the parking brake!  I lowered the tailgate and starting hauling the boxes and junk out and I even remembered to bring a broom to sweep her out afterward!  Cees used to say “Don’t forget to sweep her out, it helps to keep the rust down” Well, I remembered….  I patted myself on the back, closed the tailgate, drove to the pay counter, and off for home again.  I think I sat in the truck for close to 20 minutes just reflecting on how much things have changed this past year…staring off into the flower garden that needed tended so badly.  Thinking, “well, at least when I finally do get to them I know I can haul the pile to the dump by myself”! 

So, here we are, fall is upon us and Father Winter is fast approaching.  My dad’s birthday is December 22nd and I always remembered that even though after that time the days started getting longer…. it usually marked the beginning of winter.  This will be my second winter in my little house with the girls.  My dad’s made sure I’ve got enough firewood to stack close to the house and I guess I’ll just hunker in for the long haul….  Spring is my favorite time of year with all the flowers coming up and baby birds singing in the nests.  Everything is all brand new and fresh.  But as most laws of nature go one needs to go through the winter to appreciate the spring.  The past 15 months has been like a long winter…. helping to prepare me for a glorious spring I think. 

I know that Cees loved me; I have no doubt.  I know that I will always love him in a special way that no one else will ever comprehend.  A big part of me that belonged to him died with him that day in July.  The “we” that was created from the two of us has slowly become the “me” and trying to find that “me” has been my goal this past year.  I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it.  Although, there is not a time that goes by in the quiet of the night or when I get a glimpse of a place that we’d been, that my heart and thoughts go back to the time that we were a “we”.  Those memories are a bit kinder now. There are ripples of a gentle smile that tug at the corners of my mouth and the deep regions of my heart when I think of him and all that he was to me.  It’s true; time is the great healer, although it started out as my worst enemy….  “Time,” as urgent as it can be at times, is also gracious and allows the heart to sift through the, “Why’s, What If’s, and If Only’s”.  Time has allowed me to see that I’m a survivor and I can still be that person that he so loved.  However, one cannot walk this journey of loss and remain truly the person they once were.  It causes one to look at life in a completely different way.  I honestly never even considered the “until death do us part” portion of our wedding vows. During the happiest times of your life those thoughts don’t even come in to play.  I have found that life is so very short not to do the things you want to do if you have the ability to be able to do them.  “My new philosophy is, “I’m, but a dandelion on the wind of time, blow me where you want me to go”.  I have a little over four years to work before I’m 55.  I can take an early retirement from Sysco and begin to do the things I really want to do.  The one thing I was not able to ask Cees was if he was happy with his life.  I never knew if he had things left undone that he had wanted to do or if there were any regrets.  That’s why it’s so important to me for my children to know that when it’s time for me to go home, that they’ll be able to say with a smile on their faces, “Mom did it all, everything she wanted to do, she had NO regrets.”  I have no huge ambitions, just to be able to live, love and give back what has been given to me.  After all, isn’t that the whole purpose of being here in the first place? 

I’d like to share with those of you that have followed and walked this journey with me that it seems that my path has taken another turn.  Last November 8th; while I was searching through the music bins at Burien Fred Meyer, I happened to be talking to myself, frustrated because I couldn’t find a certain artist.  As I turned around to see who was burning a hole in the back of my head I found this fella standing there, looking at me and then he said, “Are you talking to me”?  I said, “No, but I guess I am now”.  He was very cordial and actually quite helpful.  He said, “If you’re looking for Loreena she’s over there, but if you like her music, you might want to try Enya.”  Well, I thought, “Who died and made you the music god.”  I thanked him, looked at Enya’s CD, we talked for a bit and then went our separate ways.  Later on I waited to pay for my purchases and turned around and there he was, with this big smile on his face and he said, “Well hi there again, my name’s John and this is my passion.” He handed me his business card and as I read it realized, “Well, no wonder he knows about music…he manages a music store at the Market.”  They actually specialize in rare instruments from all over the world and cater to musicians….  I guess that qualified him for knowing a bit about what I was looking for in the line of CD’s.  So, of course, not to be outdone, I handed him my kennel card and said, “Well hi again yourself, my name is Lynn and this is MY passion.”  I said, “I have a web page, go check it out and sign the guest book if you do.”  He said he would and we went our separate ways.  I thought to myself, “Well, that’s a nice person…”  He visited my web page and signed the guest book that night.  We emailed back and forth from November through the end of February, both being so busy, he with a retail store at the Holidays and me in the middle of my remodel, a trip to Maui and a trip to New York.  We actually got to be pretty good friends just emailing.  It’s amazing how you can get to know someone through words and communicating is such a high priority with me, I actually enjoyed the banter.  At the end of February, 3 days before   my birthday, he suggested perhaps we could get together for dinner.  I told him that would be a nice thing to do so we agreed to meet at the Keg in Burien for dinner on a Sunday night the 25th. 

We had a lovely dinner and a wonderful time getting to know each other.  After dinner, I asked him if he’d ever been to the EMP, Paul Allen’s music museum, and he said he hadn’t.  I asked him if he’d like to go and he said that would be a lot of fun.  I have corporate tickets through my place of business that gives us free admission so we made a date to go on his day off.  Being in retail, he works the weekends and has Tuesdays and Wednesdays off. 

We had lunch together on the day we planned to go the EMP and before we went he took me to Golden Gardens Park and we had a great walk on the beach.  On the way back from our walk we walked on the railroad tracks and talked.  John is an avid rail fanner…. he loves trains, especially steam engine trains.  We finished our walk and left for the EMP, had a wonderful time there and decided to go have dinner.  He took me to Alki Beach and we had dinner at a little Chinese place there and finished our time together by watching the ferries make their run across the sound, standing by the bulkhead on Alki.  Since that time, we have had many walks on the beach, waiting for sunsets to finish, hours of talking, and spending time getting to know each other. 

I had a very difficult time at first, spending time with John.  After 28 years of being with one person, I felt so guilty.  It was difficult to remember that those vows said “Until death do us part” Even still; it hadn’t been all that long since Cees had been gone, but in truth, I had spent 15 months prior in “anticipatory” grieving.  We had ALWAYS kept the thought and the belief that he would come through this illness with flying colors, but a part of us both, I think, realized that might not be the case.  When a person faces a life and death illness such as this, there is always going to be a part of you that deals with the “what if” on a daily basis.  I know we did that from the very beginning, we just didn’t have the courage early on to talk about it, nor the desire to give power to the thought that it may not turn out the way we wanted it to.  

So, the question was, for me anyway, “How long does one grieve for a loved one”?  The answer?  FOREVER.  But even though you grieve for that person, it doesn’t mean that your life must stop nor does it mean you ever stop loving them.  I do know and truly believe it now that Cees, being the person he was, would be so unhappy if he knew that I went through the rest of my life alone.  He would want for me to be happy, loved, and cared for.  He would want for me to be able to give love, and enjoy life.  I’ve not come by that realization easily.  I’ve struggled with guilt, anger, tears, and frustration until finally realizing that relationships that end before their time, by a loss such as this, is not the end of life for their families.  It’s like a story in a book and the end of a chapter before a new chapter begins.  One does not forget the story line but uses it to build on the chapter opening up.  Our lives are like a book in a way.  It has a beginning and an end and many chapters in-between.  Some chapters are longer than others; some books are larger than others.  But we all have the same basic form in our books. 

John is a very unique person for this day and age.  He is passionate in his beliefs but very tenderhearted.  He opens my car doors for me and regular doors too.  He writes poetry and encourages me to do the same.  He plays his guitar for me and has brought so much beautiful music into my life.  He's been encouraging me to learn keyboard again, something I used to love to do.  I was one of those kids you had to scrape off the piano bench to go to bed.  I broke my hand years ago and had to quit my piano.  I had one a few years ago, but sold it later.  Never know…maybe I’ll find a used one and start plunking again.  My granddaughter wants to learn and I just found out my son would like to learn.  We could have some fun! 

John is almost 55; I met him on his birthday last year, November 8th.  He loves steam engines and trains, walking on the beach or just about anywhere, and bike riding.  We have a lot in common and yet have enough differences to bring to the table to make it interesting.  He’s a college graduate and a great writer.  I think he’s a bit of a history buff too.  I’ve learned so much from him already, I wonder though if there’s much I can teach him…  I wasn’t the scholastic type during my school years.  I think at one point I was classified as “A Social Butterfly” LOL…. nothing wrong with that!  We grow up to become great Customer Service people…right? 

John loves my girls and does pretty well with them actually.  He used to have a sweet little spaniel mix named Missy.  She was probably a quiet, demure little girl and so much different from this breed of mine.  But John is learning about the energy levels the girls have and then, of course, having four in a pack environment compared to just one, makes a big difference.  These girls have been the stabilizing factor in my life for the past 15 months and without them, I wonder if I would have made this journey as well as I have.  They too have had a great loss and life change and I truly believe they realize that things are different for them too.  They enjoy John and it seems from the very start they gave the okay for him to be part of the pack.  You see, no one enters their domain unless they give the okay…and once okayed, you become part of the pack…whether or not you just visit from time to time or you live here.  It’s really funny to watch them when I’ve been gone visiting John.  I get home and I get the “BIG SNIFF” and Mercy especially, looks at me with a look on her face like, “Yup, you’ve been over there visiting that John guy again, haven’t you”?  They’re so very smart it’s difficult to pull anything over on them. 

One important thing about my relationship with John is that he has walked this journey I’m on before.  He lost someone very dear to him about 4 years ago and is very sensitive to what I’ve been through these past months.  He has been uppermost in my ability to be able to go forward and not just grieve.  He’s taught me to take that grief, look at it, and use what it has to offer.  I know that sounds strange but I’ve learned that the challenges that happen in our lives are for a reason.  Not everything that comes our way is pleasant, far from it.  If you try to look for the reason of why it’s happened you may not ever find it.  But there are lessons that comes from it that you can embrace, or not, but by doing so it can help you to become a stronger, healthier person because of it.  I’m still growing and trying to learn who it is I’m supposed to become.  John is my encourager and it’s wonderful to have someone to share with that understands where you’ve been and where you’re going. 

So, for now, John and I are enjoying the time we have to spend together…we look forward to seeing each other on a regular basis.  We’ve enjoyed trips to the mountains, walks on beach and are even planning a cruise next May with my family to the inside passage.  I know that I smile more each day and enjoy life more each hour when we’re together.  We most definitely make each other laugh and smile a whole lot.  His friends and most of mine keep telling us to wipe those grins off our faces, but I for one am happy with the thought that I can smile again.  I know that Cees would be proud of me and happy for the fact that a semblance of joy has come back into my life.  I think he would have liked John and I know John would have liked him. 

So, here we are, the last three months of the first year in the new century.  November 1st ushers in a full moon with a Blue Moon on the 30th.  When you have a second full moon in the same month they call it a “Blue Moon.”  It’s almost like a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence these two moons in one month.  Like the end of a chapter and the beginning of another in the book called life with lessons yet to learn.  I have no idea where my steps are going to take me, but I know that I will take each one carefully, thoughtfully and with the memory of lessons learned into the next month, the next year and the next and the next, Lord willing.

God Bless,

Lynn Crawford & The Girls,
Mercy * Spirit * Faith * & Ruby

Journal Links

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July 31, 2000
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Genesis 9:13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. KJV

Remember friends, Cees and all the others that have gone on before us are still on their first day. We're still working on those thousand.

II Peter 3:8 But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.