The first 3 months of 2015 have been very difficult for me.  It involved losses that led to change, and I do NOT like change (I know I can’t be alone here).  As you know, I lost my mom only 2 months ago.  I am still reeling from that especially since the sickness came on so quickly.  That meant I had no time to prepare, research, or wrap my head around the whole situation.  I could only trudge through the events that dictated my every move.

One week after my mom went to heaven, we found out my beloved Chocolate Lab, Henry (my favorite as listed in my Bio) had bone cancer.  I went from hospice for my mother to palliative care for our family dog.  Henry was more than just a furry companion.  We bought him from a local breeder in the midst of my multiple hospital admissions.  I had learned of my RSD diagnosis and was mourning the loss of what I had known as my “normal life”. During the day when my daughter was at preschool and my husband at work, I had a difficult time moving around and was lonely.   

Henry kept me company and we were nap time buddies.  Since he was a puppy he could sleep on my chest and we’d snuggle.  I could talk, yell, cry and the same loving look shone in his eyes accompanied by the wagging of his furry tail.

Henry’s comforting, huggable presence got me through the weeks I lay in bed with a pain flare after my mom passed away. (Of course, my husband and daughter did as well-but they couldn’t be there 24/7).

My Mom adored him too.  She called him a mini cow, instead of a dog.  She lovingly referred to him as her ‘Henry Boy’. Henry had amused her with the way he always offered his paw to anyone who would pet him.  We would laugh at his funny antics—he was afraid of well, everything.  He once tried to jump in the air when he heard some pans drop onto the floor.  He couldn’t quite jump off all four paws so he did this warrior type yoga pose.

We have another dog, (the one who’s antics would fill her own blog post) that always wanted to play.  But by the time we rescued her, Henry had turned 8 and wanted nothing to do with a one year old pup with endless energy.  He responded to her by hiding behind the couch.  My husband (who loved Henry), had once said, “Even when he is by himself, he is not the alpha dog.”   I hated to admit it but it was true. But Henry was exactly what I needed.

I miss hearing the ’thump, thump’ of his long fuzzy tail between the back of the sofa and the wall when we mentioned his name. I miss the way he seemed to know when my hands were burning more than usual and would lick them.  Or the way he sensed my sadness and would put his head on my lap.

I titled this post “Unconditionally”, because that word has been on my mind.  A mom will love you no matter what.  You do not have to be a ‘perfect’ child to earn her love.  There will never be someone that can replace that same hug or the loving look reflected in your mother’s eyes.

A loving pet (for me it was Henry) trusts and would do whatever it felt would please you.  Pets are always there for you- and they can’t talk back (try that with teenagers).

When writing, I am so wrapped up in my character and his/her personality that I feel a similar unconditional feeling.  I love the character I created- even if I have to make him/her the antagonist.  This probably explains why it pains us if it turns out you really need to kill your character or rewrite your story without him/her.  This also could pertain to removing a particularly flowery phrase I think is literary genius, but not essential (or at least I heard that can happen).

Each person will experience grief in their own way and time frame. One fact I have learned from my grief counselor- the perfect grieving process does not exist.  I have to admit I am still grieving and it feels horrendous.  It paralyzes me from doing other things.

I guess I am just waiting for this big hug from God saying it is okay.  You did your best.  Your loved ones are safe and they watch over you.  It is okay to look forward and enjoy things in your life.

I have faith that when I am ready to receive this, I know God, who loves us unconditionally, and has been waiting patiently, will do just that.

I am also sharing this post at:


33 thoughts on “UNCONDITIONALLY

  1. Dear Kathleen,
    You have been through so much. As painful as i all has been you will get through it with, Faith, and patience. When things get to much for us,God take it way from you. He loves you and he doesn’t want to see his children suffer. After the rain the sun comes out


  2. I, too, lost my mother in November. I am amazed at how much I still need a mother at 50+. I know losing a beloved pet must have been another heartache on top of heartache. What a hope we have in our Heavenly Father.


    • Thank you for visiting and your kind words. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Yes we will always need our Mom it seems. Some days I feel the ache of needing her more than I did when she was with me. But you are right hope and faith are amazing tools He gave us.


  3. Oh, Kathleen your sweet dog… I’m so sorry for all of the loss you’ve endured this year.
    I admit, this post has tears running down my face. This must have been such a difficult post for you to write, but it was a beautiful tribute to the love you have for your forever friend and mother.
    May your prayers be answered and you feel wrapped in the Lord’s comfort. God be with you.


    • Thank you so much. Yes, my last two posts were written with tears staining my face as well. You have such a kind heart. You have always been a wonderful inspiration and so supportive of me. I am grateful to you for that.


  4. breakdownchick says:

    I am so sorry for your losses. Grief weighs so heavy on the heart. Take care of yourself and be gentle with yourself. Hugs ❤


  5. Kathleen,
    I sorry to hear that you lost your mom and then your beloved companion, Henry. Both are difficult sad losses. Sending along prayers in the coming days and weeks ahead. Wishing you the best on your journey.
    Jennifer Larson


  6. Kathleen, you have always been very supportive of my blog; I can’t believe I wasn’t following you already. Please forgive this oversight on my part.

    I am sad to hear you are going through a really tough time with your recent losses. I do hope you come through it with beautiful memories of your loved ones, and strong ties with the loved ones you still have.

    To cheer you for a little while, I’d like to present you with the ‘Written Acts of Kindness Award’. You’ll find the details on my next post. It will be done by Friday 3rd April.


    • Carole, thank you for following me. No need to apologize 🙂 You are so very sweet to cheer me with ‘Written Acts of Kindness Award.’ That definitely cheers me up! Sending a hug!


  7. miriam franklin says:

    Awww, Kathleen…I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through during the last few months, and for the challenges you’ve been through over the years. I know this must be an incredibly tough time for you and it takes a lot of strength to be able to write through the pain. All I can say is that you will come through this, and you will carry your wonderful memories with you, and that when you lose someone you love (animal or human), they will always stay with you in your heart. I hope the sun comes out soon for you, and that the spring will bring healing and a renewed spirit.
    ((HUGS)) Miriam


  8. First of all, I”m so sorry for your losses. How wonderful to have had a loving pet that was just the right everything at just the right time in your life. What a blessing. And I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother–you have suffered much, but God IS near. You will feel his hug one day (although it might be via the arms of another person or the paws of a pet). Congratulations on your book! I’m also a SCBWI member and have gone to a few of their conferences–which were both terrifying and wonderful ;). I’m so glad I ended up your neighbor at Holley’s so that we could ‘meet’ ! May God send the Holy Spirit to comfort you as you journey through grief.


    • Anita, so happy you stopped by from Holley Gerth 🙂 I so appreciate your kindness. Thank you, I am so excited about it being published in 2016 🙂 Which SCBWI do you belong to? Perhaps I will see you at a conference some day–I definitely understand what you mean about terrifying and wonderful 🙂 Thank you for your prayers.


  9. Being Woven says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    I was thankful to see you sweet face on Holley’s linkup and had to come by. I am so very sorry for your loss of Henry on top of your so very recent death of your mother. I can only say that through experience, it has been a bit over two years since Mama passed away and I still cry at times, or lose my thoughts on her, or just miss her like anything. It is better than it was at 2 months, 6 months, one year. Time heals to certain degrees but we never forget and those precious memories, whether hard or sweet, will be up close and personal. My father has been gone for almost 45 years now and I still miss him so very much. I was very close to him as a child and girl and lost him when I was 12. Your counselor is right in that there is no pat answer to grief, no step one, two, three. There are phases but they run amuck in any order they want depending upon the person.
    Know that you are in my prayers.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda


    • Linda, thank you so much for visiting. You definitely know the emotional roller coaster that I am going through right now. It is comforting to know you are praying for me. Thank you for sharing your experience with grieving your mom and your dad. It so helps me. You are in my prayers as well.


  10. Kathy,
    I loved hearing fond stories of Henry and his unconditional love for you. I hope thinking on him helps you find the peace you need when pain flares up. I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience so much grief recently. Heal at your own pace. No two people go through this the same way. You will find your way!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, your readers. We love you and wish you comfort today and always.


  11. This was beautiful, Kathleen, and I hope it was therapeutic for you to write about Henry. You made him come alive through your words! It’s amazing how we can get attached to animals because of that special bonds that exist. You will heal, but like your counselor said, you can’t make it happen faster. Thanks for the reminder to pray that the Lord will comfort you–as only He can.


    • Carol, thank you so much for your kind words. You are absolutely right, it really was therapeutic for me. I truly had a wonderful bond with Henry and I can carry the memories with me. Knowing that the Lord is here for me is something I hold on to when the grief for my mom and Henry seems unbearable. Thank you for being here for me 🙂


  12. eightpawswriting says:

    Kathleen, I am so sorry to hear about your grief and the pain it is causing. Being sick doesn’t help move thru the other emotional issues. I am so excited you decided to go with a small press and get your wonderful story published. It won’t take the pain away but you will get to share your story that only YOU could write. And by working on that story, your mother and Henry will offer guidance. Then comes promotion and sharing the story with others. You have a lot to look forward to!
    Hugs, Sheri


    • Sheri, thank you so much for visiting! Your words gave me comfort and brought a smile. And yes knowing that I can share her story with others, will help me in the healing process. Hugs to you as well 🙂


  13. Oh, Kathleen, I am so sorry for both your losses! Losing your mom has got to be one of the most difficult things…mine is still with me. And having your condition on top of all that, which perhaps is exacerbated by the stress of the loss. I did love reading your post. You have a way of drawing us right in. I’m sure your novel is like that as well. I’ll have to check it out. I’d love to hear more about the other dog, as I had (key word) a dog (who now lives with the trainer) who was adorable, but awful. Visiting from Coffee For Your Heart.


    • Mary, thank you so much for visiting! I so appreciate your kind words. I will keep you posted on the novel when it comes out in the spring of 2016. I will definitely be doing a post about the “other” dog 🙂 It is nice to know I am not alone with the adorable, but awful–what a great way to put it 🙂


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