Like most people, I shared an intense love and bond with my dog Brandy. A miniature dachshund who had my heart wrapped around her little paws. I was 16 when my sister brought her home. At that time I was oblivious to the nature of this relationship. Brandy saw us go to school and then college, in my case get married and move to a new country. With time we saw less of each other. No matter where we were or what we were doing in our lives Brandy was always there waiting for us. For her seeing us was the ultimate joy. I cannot describe the kind of love a dog has for his/her human companion but if you have been blessed with a dog or pet you already know this. It is as simple as her going insane with excitement every time you walk through the door, even if you have gone out for only 5 minutes. You become their universe.
Unfortunately for us, our time with dogs is very short. So the last few years with Brandy were filled with this realization that time is slipping away. Every time I was with her I prayed that we would meet again and that this wasn’t the last time. I saw her last in July 2015 and my Brandy passed away on August 2, 2015. The news broke us all. As I am typing this I feel that ‘broke’ is too small a word to describe this. But if anyone has experienced grief knows what I am talking about.
A WHIRLWIND OF EMOTIONS
Amongst the total and utter breakdown of my world and the initial denial of it all, my mind was going through a whirlwind of emotions. I had guilt for not spending every living moment of my life with her. Guilt for not being there when it happened. I felt that I had failed her in not taking the best care of her. I even questioned if my parents had not gone out that day, would she still be alive? I second guessed all our attempts in saving her.
When people assured me saying that her suffering had ended I felt anger towards them for saying it. It was followed by the realization that maybe I am selfish to only think of my happiness for having Brandy around despite her suffering. Anger towards the Universe or God for taking away Brandy so soon. Anger towards those who said 13 years for a dog is long enough. It does not matter if you lose your dog in four years or thirteen. No matter how long Brandy would have continued to live, I would be wanting more time. You ask for one more year and then the same next year.
After going through all the natural stages of grief and loss, acceptance came around. It was a slow and gradual process but talking to my mother really helped. I could no longer see her photo on the fridge every day so I took that down. I created a digital catalog of all her pictures and videos. The videos were and still are so emotional to watch. I read a lot of articles that made me feel I am not alone with this loss. I contemplated getting a tattoo for her or something else. I was afraid I was going to lose this sadness. I wanted to remember her. I told my mother I cannot think of her as gone. What I am trying to say is that the complexity of dealing with the loss of a loved one is intense and we all cope in our own ways. I decided to give my self some healing time.
It has been two years today. We reflect on the beautiful memories of Brandy that we will cherish forever. I say ‘we’ because Brandy meant as much to my parents and my sister. If anything it has been 10 times harder for my parents who live in the home where Brandy is buried now. I have not gone home since July 2015 and come September home won’t feel the same. Today I have gratitude for having Brandy in our lives. Of course, the gratitude does not fill the void. I will get a dog again in the future but nothing can take her place. I am in a mental state now where I can talk about her to people without breaking. As cliche as it may sound I think Brandy would want that. To see me happy. To see us happy. Even though tears are rolling down as I type this. But there is joy in this sadness for I have received immense love. It is profound to love someone who loves you back unconditionally. Thank you, Brandy.
I wanted to commemorate Brandy in some way and connected with Jenny (of Jenny Present) to create a custom necklace in her memory. It may appear feeble to some but this piece of necklace means so much to me. The necklace has her name and life years hand stamped on one pendant. The other pendant has ‘always‘ hand stamped which is a Harry Potter fandom that symbolizes Snape’s unrequited yet undying love for Harry’s mother even after her passing. The necklace arrived meeting all my expectations along with a touching note from Jenny.
Jenny Present is a personalized jewelry business based in St. Louis, Missouri. Jenny is the heart and soul of this jewelry endeavor. A cancer survivor who is truly an inspiration and through her brand, she empowers women to overcome all odds.
I can see the emotional connection in the jewelry she makes. To me, jewelry holds a special meaning when it is to commemorate a life event or person in your life. Think graduation, engagement/wedding, bridesmaid jewelry, motherhood and in my case personalized memorial jewelry. You can design your own or customize Jenny’s collection. My necklace is from the Proud Mama collection which has sparked quite the media attention. It is meant to symbolize the people or things you love most in life. Her Life Notes collection of necklaces has inspirational messages for when times are challenging. The ‘I Love You’ collection of bracelets is a celebration of love. There is a story to every piece of jewelry. If you are looking to celebrate someone, something or even yourself; I highly recommend Jenny Present. Not that you need an excuse for jewelry, but this makes it pretty special.