My heart is broken but my precious Riley is at rest.

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There have been lots of tears over the last couple of days and I am sure I will shed more before the night is out.

At just after 3pm today my beloved buddy, companion, partner in crime, Riley crossed the rainbow bridge to the other side.

My heart is broken..

Three days ago he was a little unwell so we headed off to the vet..  I thought that he had a bit of bone stuck in his throat. Being a typical golden retriever he vacuumed food rather than chewing it so I just assumed that something had got caught.

Claudia took some bloods and nothing untoward showed up but the rise in temperature and weight loss could not be explained either. So after a couple of shots to bring his temp down we came home and waited to see if it cleared.

Yesterday morning I took Riley back and the temperature was still bubbling so we decided to do some scans to see if he had eaten something at the beach…. Looking for dead fish or some other equally smelly treat that a retriever would love…

It was after lunch when the receptionist called and said I needed to come at 4;30 for a sit down chat with Claudia… Not a good sign.

4:30pm came with and earth shattering discovery. Riley had a huge mass in his stomach, no sign of his liver and about 1/3 lung capacity. Claudia said to me ‘I need to explain how cancer works”  “no you don’t” I replied. What I was looking at on screen was a doggy version of what I had seen before that time it was equally earth shattering!!

We came home with some meds and decisions to make… Sleep was elusive and my heart was aching so deeply I felt hollow inside.

In the end decisions make themselves if you give them time…. One night of watching my best furry friend struggle to get comfortable and struggle to breath was enough.

So today was all about Riley… Levi gave him some love this morning. Fin came and gave my precious puppy some Reiki  then Tan came and shot a series of beautiful photos. Then it was just Riley and me.. curled up talking about beach walks and all the adventures we have had. There were pats and hugs from Aimee, Chelsea and Julie.

Then it was time.

Just after 3pm Claudia, a nurse and I sat on the floor and snuggled with Riley as the green dream gave him the wings to fly over the rainbow bridge to the place where his spirit will run free.

I will be forever grateful for the love of this precious soul who was with me through the thick and thin of over 7 years.

Run free my angel.

We will get to do one last walk together when I scatter your ashes on your favourite beach….

Thank you for blessing me will love, companionship, tenderness, playfulness and joy… My cup has runneth over..

Peace and light Ali xxx

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Doing things backwards today… Strange moments. 53/66

Today was one of those strange days… For the last 52 days have started with exercise before breakfast… Not today. I actually think that exhaustion finally caught up with me. 70 hour weeks eventually do that to you.. But all good. In an effort to keep some balance the Giant and I finished today with a walk on the beach.

20 Minutes exercise.

The light is very different at the end of the day to the beginning. It is as if there were a whole different world at play. Still the light is wonderful and gives my beloved Lights beach a whole different look… So enough words time for some pictures.

531 532 533 534 535 537 539 Riley having a sit down with us watching the setting of the sun.

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Just a little bit of going, going, going…. gone.

20 minutes learning

Being exhausted has taught me a few things…. I am not bullet proof, or free from mistakes and oversights. I am just me. I give everything 110% and every now and then I have to stop… Regroup, recharge and then get back on the horse.. Today was about recharging… Just for the morning and then it was back to work as usual this afternoon.  Sleep will come easy tonight of that I am sure.

20 minutes planning

The Giant is now seriously looking at Tasmania and other far flung places for our next adventure.. We have started planning to finish off the house and then decide what and where we will go… Watch out world we are looking for the next place to call home.

Feeling blessed and tired but loving life.. Peace and light Ali xxx

New year is almost upon us..Shark attack, bushfire and other pressures..Hoping for safety and calm 48/66

481 It was still grey this morning but a little less turbulent.

20 minutes exercise.

Walking this morning the air was much warmer and hinted at the day to come. The temperature is definitely on the turn towards warmer. Yet the forecast for tomorrow is 40% chance of rain.

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The tide was a little further out this morning so the first couple of rock ledges were back to being accessible. The ocean is depositing sand and creating a new beach. I am constantly amazed at how the landscape of the beach is constantly changing.

Yet again today we had the honour of seeing a pod of dolphins out behind the waves. There is something so special about those moments. The surfers were on the beach although a couple of them were a little hesitant after the 17 year old was killed in a shark attack yesterday only 50 kms down the coast.

Then there are the surfers who are more philosophical and see that if they get taken by a shark in the sharks domain that is just how it is supposed to end.

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Although it was a grey morning the hint of blue in the water is just lovely.  Time for breakfast.

20 minutes learning

My guitar practise was going well this morning until it got cut short (only by a couple of minutes) by a tourist wanting information. Such is the silly season and my role… I will make an effort to tomorrow to find the time to catch up on the little bit that I lost today.

20 minutes reading.

Today it is all about fire updates. Many of you may not have any idea about bush fires and the dynamics of fast moving fires in a wild environment. So just for you I am including the latest update on a fire where it is too late to leave…… Now that is a frightening thought.

BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY WARNING **

UPDATED – 4:50PM

READ CAREFULLY

Bushfire EMERGENCY WARNING for southern part of Toodyay in the Shire of Toodyay
Tuesday 30 December 2014 – 4:42 PM
A bushfire EMERGENCY WARNING remains for people in the southern part of Toodyay near Salt Valley Road, Challeon Lane, Panorama View, Hoddy Well Road and Sandplain Road in the Shire of Toodyay.
• You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes.
• Homes in Salt Valley Road are under threat.
• The fire is burning along both sides of Salt Valley Road.
BUSHFIRE BEHAVIOUR:
• The bushfire is moving fast in a south easterly direction.
• It is out of control and unpredictable.
• Burning embers are likely to be blown around your home.
• Spot fires are starting ahead of the fire.
WHAT TO DO:
• It is too late for people in these areas to leave, leaving now would be deadly.
• You need to shelter in your home and actively defend it.
• Go to a room away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.
• Choose a room with two exits and water such as a kitchen or laundry.
• You must shelter before the fire arrives, as the extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you.
• Protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and trousers, made from cotton or wool, and strong leather boots.
• If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.
PLACE OF LAST RESORT:
• If you cannot shelter in your home, a safer place you can go to is a local open space, shed, swimming pool, dam or building where you may go to seek shelter from a bushfire.
• This will give you some protection from the effects of a bushfire.
• Take water, woollen blankets and wear protective clothing.
ALERT LEVEL:
A bushfire WATCH AND ACT has been issued for people in an area bounded by Clackline-Toodyay Road, Hoddy Well Road, Salt Valley Road, Chitty Road and Refractory Road in the Shire of Toodyay.
• There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a fire is approaching the area and conditions are changing.
• You need to leave or get ready to actively defend.
WHAT TO DO:
• If you are not prepared or you plan to leave, leave now if the way is clear.
• There is ember attack ahead of the fire, so close all doors and windows, and turn off evaporative air conditioners, but keep water running through the system if possible.
• If you are well prepared and plan to actively defend your home, make final preparations now.
• Do not rely on mains water pressure as it may be affected. If you have access to a water tank and plan to defend your home, start patrolling with your hose and put out spot fires.
• If you are not at home, do not try to return as conditions in the area could be very dangerous.
ALERT LEVEL:
A bushfire ADVICE has been issued for people in the area south east of Great Eastern Highway, between Chitty Road and Spencers Brook Road in the Shire of Toodyay.
Although there is no immediate danger for people in these areas you need to be aware and keep up to date.
WHAT TO DO:
• Stay alert and monitor your surroundings.
• Watch for signs of a bushfire, especially smoke and flames.
• Read through your bushfire survival plan.
• If you do not have a plan decide what you will do if the situation gets worse.
SAFER PLACE:
If you are outside the area, a temporary welfare centre has been set up at the Toodyay Town Hall.
ROAD CLOSURES:
Avoid the area and be aware of fire and other emergency services personnel working on site.
A number of roads have been closed including:
• Toodyay Road between Lovers Lane and Lloyd Crossing
• Clackline-Toodyay Road between Salt Valley Road and Eadine Road
Road information may also be available from Main Roads WA by calling 138 138 or visiting www.mainroads.wa.gov.au or the Shire of Toodyay.
POWER SUPPLY:
Western Power advises that the bushfire has affected the electricity supply for customers in the Shire of Toodyay.
The most affected areas are Toodyay, Hoddys Well and Morangup.
For information on power interruptions, please visit Western Power’s website http://www.westernpower.com.au/
WHAT FIREFIGHTERS ARE DOING:
• Approximately 100 firefighters are actively fighting the fire and protecting assets in the area.
EXTRA INFORMATION:
• The fire was reported at 1.37pm today and approximately 140 hectares have been burnt.
• DFES is now managing the fire.
KEEP UP TO DATE:
Visit http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/, call 13 DFES (13 3337), follow DFES on Twitter @dfes_wa, listen to ABC local radio, or news bulletins.

Sending thoughts of safety and light to those at risk.  May they be protected.  love and calm.  Ali xxx

Birthday girl I miss you… Tears and sorrow. 46/66

Some days can drop you to your knees and today is one of those days.

It is my honour to be a parent of 4 amazing individuals who each is a gift in my life beyond compare. 30 years ago today my second child was born. It rained that day and as I headed out onto the beach today it rained.

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It was a poignant moment as my heart was aching a kind of unfinished ache for someone who left us too soon. Her journey here was cut short by bowel cancer aged 22 just 25 days short of her 23rd birthday.

Seven years on and it is still an ache that is as raw on her birthday as it was when she was returned to heaven…  So today I surrender to my memories of her, my heartache, and to her three siblings who I know feel this day as deeply as do I.

jess1My dancing angel.

20 minutes exercise

It seemed really fitting that the rain was rolling in marking this day of mixed emotions.

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I walked with a feeling in my stomach that defies words. No talking today just walking. The Giant held my hand and I let the misty rain wash over my face as I walked.

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Just before we got to the last rock shelf I felt overwhelmed and the tears fell. Deep sobbing tears that came from way down in my soul. The Giant wrapped his arms around me and we just stood on the beach… embracing… feeling… silent.

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The sea on my feet, rain on my face and tears I could taste. Somehow cathartic enabling me to move on and start my day.

20 minutes learning.

The Angel loved music and so as I practised my guitar this morning I thought about her dancing spirit and somehow it made me smile.

20 minutes reading.

Memorial pages are a blessing and a curse. They enable us to reflect on all the wonderful pictures of the one we have loved and lost and still love. Yet they also remind us of the pain felt by so many people at the passing of the loved one. There was a time when the rawness of that pain was the only thing that reminded me I was still alive. Now the pain comes deeply on the special days and fades a bit on the others.

Today I read all the posts from people who are wondering what your life would have been like if you were still here…

It would have been spectacular, loving and beautiful.

How do I know this?   I know this because the three siblings you left behind are spectacular, loving and beautiful and you would have been no more or no less than they are.

Forever in my heart.  Peace light and memories.  Ali xxx

Softly softly feel the rain. 29/66

Waking in the clouds is a beautiful if somewhat surreal experience. 5am saw the departure for the beach shrouded in the damp folds of this fluffy environment.

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20 Minutes exercise.

When you beat the old timers to the beach you know you have gotten up a tad earlier than usual. The car park was desolate, Riley and I were out of the vehicle and considering our options before the first old timer appeared.

We headed out onto the beach in air that was considerably warmer than the last few days. It was mystical walking in this ethereal space with the ocean lapping at our feet.

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We talked about life and death and suicide… Interesting content at 5am! He was philosophical about the choices people make and the damage they do to those that are left behind. All learning experiences he said… He then decided to turn for home and Riley and I continued on.

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Riley led the way to the third rock shelf then turned for home. He knows the routine and is happy to guide me..

By the time we returned to the car park the rain was setting in. Doing my push ups and stretches on the viewing platform the soft rain was running down my face. I felt at peace and breathed deeply feeling grateful for the experience.

By the time we had got into the car the heavens had opened up and it was coming down heavily.

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20 minutes learning.

Notes A and G are now on my radar with my guitar learning. I have started practising the next set of pieces that incorporate these notes. Once again I feel like I am all fingers and thumbs with no knowledge of what I am doing. The difference is that now I recognise this as the turmoil caused by learning new notes. Nothing less, nothing more. I also know it will subside as my dexterity improves.

Rocking Robin is the current challenge and 8 bars of surf rock!!  Who knows, next time I write I could be down the surf beach, guitar in hand playing up my mojo.

20 minutes planning/ reading

Herbie Hancock is an interesting man. My reading time today was spent reading about his early Jazz experiences in New York. He talked a lot about allowing himself to be rhythmically free. Having been taught in a really structured logical fashion he found it hard to improvise or be inclusive of other peoples styles. When he finally found his own way to cut loose it took him on an amazing journey of discovery both musically and personally.

We all have parallel struggles in our lives. I have lived my life in such a constrained manner that I now find it difficult to let go of the old and grasp the new. Step by step in the tiniest of increments I am moving toward freedom. Not the 1960’s peace and love style of freedom, more of the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and artistic freedom that I felt I had lost over the years.

And the rain keeps falling.

Freedom is a very personal term that has a million meanings depending on where you are in life’s journey. Embrace the challenge and set your self free.

With love and light Ali xxx

Back to the beach. 22/66

Wow I have reached the 1/3 marker on my challenge. Yesterday came to a close on the table of healing hands that have blessed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I feel very blessed right now.

20 Minutes exercise.

Dark clouds hung in the air as Riley and I made our way to the beach this morning. It wasn’t cold, 14C, and there was no real breeze to speak of.

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We strode out onto the long beach with a rapid stride. The tide was out quite a way so the rock ledges were accessible this morning even if the ocean colour was dark and secretive.

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Riley is now quite adventurous and sticks his nose in the crevices to see what is there. It is only a matter of time before he gets a nip from one of the crabs that are adverse to such interruptions!

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I just love the way the water runs off of the rock shelf as the tide slides out.

I have often said that if the tide is in you can not access the rock shelf or risk getting caught out on it. That is because the cliffs are unforgiving and covered in rough scrub. On top of that there are the resident tiger snakes that make trudging through the scrub very dangerous. So no going there!!!

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As always the time had come to head for home. Still no rain falling and so I decided to hop in the shower before breakfast. Low and behold I get out of the shower and it is pouring down with rain… Timing is everything!!

20 Minutes Learning.

Beware as in the near future there may be a sound bite of this guitar novice!! Well maybe not the near future!! It is however sounding better every day… Not that I am biased 🙂

I am feeling more at ease and I can actually stretch my hands to the odd chord or two which is a dramatic improvement on where I started.

20 Minutes reading/ writing/ planning

I sat down to do some planning this morning and what eventuated was some creative writing about Pirates out on the sea.

It was a funny kind of development as the Giant was formerly thought to be a pirate! Yet I went with the flow and captured the random thoughts on the page.

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Made me smile so I thought I would share…

So bring me sea dollars me hearties, And I’ll tell you a tale of the sea, Of the lost ones that writhe in the dark depths, With the souls bound never to be free.

Well they sailed the high seas in a vessel, They had captured from a crew unawares, Tossed overboard into the darkness, For the pirates had not a care.

The Enchanted” they renamed Conundrum, Giving nought but a flash of a thought, Little realising their fate was now destined, Their journey soon to be fraught.

For the sky grew dark and oppressive, The sea it screamed out like the souls of the dead, Fear grew in the hearts of the wicked, As their path grew nearer death swirled in their head.

Mighty waves smashed Conundrum like firewood, All the crew were thrown into the sea, Not a one survived the onslaught, Yet the souls of the murdered floated free.

Don’t lie to the ocean with malice, Don’t use her to cover your guilt, For she’ll draw you right into her depths, Plunge her watery sword in you right up to the hilt.

Well the wreckage was taken by the ocean, Bar a piece about the size of a drum, That bore the skin of the Captains face, Puzzled – What a Conundrum!

stormy morning

Peace light and joy.  Ali xxx

Thoughts from a heart that has been broken. 21/66

Today is a day like no other in the year. As today it has been 7 years since one of my sweet angels returned to heaven. To say I miss her is a monumental understatement. I feel a deep aching that there is no cure for and one that time only softens but does not heal. In her short 22 and a bit years our lives were blessed to love and know her and to have her laughter and light in our everyday. Love is forever and that is how long I will hold her heart in mine. Till we meet again xxx

loss  jess11

20 Minutes exercise

It was a cool clear morning as Riley and I headed out onto the beach. My mind was a rush of jumbled thoughts of all that could have been and is lost but also of all the gratitude I feel for the gift of this beautiful girl.

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It took a while for me to settle and Riley, as if knowing my turmoil, stayed close and kept turning to see if I was still there. It would have been easy to not go and to lay in bed and want the world to go away but I chose to get up and walk. This has already become and integral part of my day and I have come to realise that it is part of the healing of my soul. So we walked…

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We passed the old timer and continued on alone. Just the two of us, no words needing to be spoken just doing our thing and breathing hoping the calm would arrive.

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We went all the way to half way down the third rock shelf before turning for home. By now the sun was peaking through the last clouds and it felt good to be warmed by its rays. My mind although still filled with thoughts and emotions was at least less jumbled. Time to go home.

20 minutes reading/planning.

I write on her tribute page a couple of times a year and today it was for some reason more difficult.  What was in my heart was much deeper and more poignant than what I could convey in words. It was as if someone had ripped open a piece of time and the feelings were raw. The tears flowed and I let them….  Sometimes that is all you can do… I wrote:

Seven years. Seven moments frozen in time. Seven tears. Seven gratitude’s.

It does not seem real that today you have been gone for seven years so much has happened and so many times we have all wished you were here.

Seven tears have been shed for the things we have missed.
Your voice and your laughter that was infectious and bright.
Your shoes and your fashion sense that gave us delight.
Your presence and hugs when the world wasn’t shining,
But most of all you in your whole quirky loving compassionate way.

Seven gratitude’s are so easy to find
For the gift of you in our lives that is one
For the generous heart that loved everyone
For the smile that could easily set laughter free
For your gentle way of caring that makes number three
For your courage as you battled into the unknown
For your love of all people that was never overthrown
For your secrets and dreams that you shared from your heart
For the knowledge that in spirit we will never be apart.

Jess6 Forever in my heart xxx

20 Minutes learning.

I am learning a lot about myself from this process. About my ability to keep on going and to get up and say bring it on!! I have reflected on my life often of late and have realised more than ever before that everything !?!?!? that has occurred has been a learning experience. I have learnt compassion and have struggled with a grief so large that at times I have thought it would swallow me up. I have watched as others that I love have struggled with this same grief and pain in their own unique ways.

What I know for sure is that I would not go back and change things, I would not choose to miss having her in my life so that I did not have to feel this exquisite pain. For it is in the darkest moments that I have realised the strength she had and the love that she gave to all of us to sustain us.

I feel blessed to be her mother and know that her father sisters and brother feel likewise. We love her still.

Peace and light and comfort to all who have struggles in life.  Ali xxx