Does a dog mourn – and help us when we mourn?

Current Work in Progress is most difficult to write

Excerpt from Starting Over Book Three: IMG_0609Finding Her Voice, Coming in July

She still didn’t understand. But the comfort of talking to another parent who shared her struggles — a pastor’s wife who struggled to understand God’s will, too — was a tangible thing. She would sleep better tonight.

But not yet. She and Ollie could stay up a little longer.

There was something she needed to do first.

Ollie shook off the flakes and she hung up their outerwear to dry. The van was cozy with its little heater running. She rubbed her hands together to get the blood flowing. Then she sat down at the computer.

Jen took a deep breath and typed the words “parent” “grief” and “group” into her search engine. She scrolled through and then picked out a link at random.

It opened to a somber light blue page with the words “You are not alone” as a headline across the page. Until Beth came to her door she had not really been sure about that. She clicked “join” and typed in her email and a little about herself.

She couldn’t bring herself to click into any of the on-line forums. Not tonight. The list of titles overwhelmed her. Angry. Can’t stop crying. No one understands. Memories. How do I graduate from days in bed? Cry your heart out. Don’t judge. One day at a time. Hand in hand. Numb. When numbness wears off. Hugs.

Each one echoed in her mind. There really were people who knew what she was going through.

She couldn’t chat right now. But she could introduce herself.

Jen. Lost daughter Trudy on March 18 of this year. She would have been six today.

She pressed send, shut down the monitor and crawled into bed, where Ollie jumped up beside her.

Not for the first time, she wondered how he grieved. Sometimes she would look up and find him curled up with that raggedy bear. Sometimes he looked so sad, and other times watchful as if he still hoped…

“And I uprooted you from everything familiar, didn’t I pup? I’m sorry.” She patted him, then scrunched him close, right under her chin. He struggled a little and turned so he was facing the door. Still watching out for her, even though no one would come out into the storm to hurt her. Should she have stayed home?

No, that didn’t feel right. Nate uprooted them from that home, anyway, by insisting they sell. She and Ollie would have been homeless either way.

“Well, boy, I think right now I’ll make a home with you. Wherever we go. Because I know you are grieving, too. I can’t be sure if anyone else is with me in this journey — but I know you are.”

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