Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Magical Thinking


Magical Thinking

Be it skepticism, hubris, or a gray-green combination of both, for some reason I have always avoided the self-help section of the bookstore.   I’ve never quite been able to stomach being told that “men are from Mars”; never bought the promise that I could “think and grow rich”; never spent one second worrying about “who moved my cheese”.  And frankly, I rather resent being told how much better my life would be if I just “tidied up” my room.  

That said, I do turn to writers I respect when life lands me on rocky pathways they themselves have trod.  I hunger to know how they handled those jarring switchbacks life can throw; how they managed to put one foot in front of the other on those days when all you want to do is stop and sit down.

So when Edward suddenly died last August, I turned to C.S. Lewis and Joan Didion.  From Mr. Lewis I was comforted to know I wasn’t alone in the realization that grief felt so much like fear.   When Ms. Didion shared the magical thinking that haunted her during the year following the sudden loss of her husband, I knew without doubt I was experiencing similar feelings.

I knew all autumn that getting another dog would be a good idea for Apple.  She missed her roommate.  But, like Ms. Didion, a nagging thought clung tight to my soul:  If I allow another dog into my house, into my heart, then that will mean Edward is really and truly not coming back.  I knew, as Joan Didion knew, that this thought was nonsensical.  But I can tell you it was as real as daylight.  Oh, I looked at dog rescue sites on the internet.  But every face I saw seemed like an intruder on my grief.  I still wanted Edward back.  I still do.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, from a rescue in Missouri, I saw a face I couldn’t ignore.  There was something in the eyes.  Something in the soul.  I contacted the rescuers and filled out an application, knowing our chances were slim as we lived so far away.  But for some reason, even with loads of applications coming in for him, we were chosen.

So last Friday, very early in the morning, The Songwriter and I set out to get our new family member,
 feeling every bit as nervous as blind dates.
It was love at first sight.
For both of us.

Meet Andrew.
He’s eleven weeks old and those paws tell us he’ll be a big boy.  He’s cheerful, curious, and he’s settled into The House of Edward like he’s lived here before.  From the looks of things, he’s mostly Landseer Newfoundland, with perhaps a wee bit of Border Collie throw in for good measure.  He will be like unwrapping a present each month; we have no idea what he’ll turn out to be. 

This will always be The House of Edward. 
 When the next book of essays comes out later this year,
 it will be Edward’s face on the cover.
But I’ll share Andrew’s life with you all on occasion.  
How could I not?
Just look at that face!


***
C.S. Lewis

Joan Didion

***
For those of you from Instagram 
who are looking for my essay on the Spacious website,
 you can find it HERE.  
Spacious is a "movement of folks who want to create ways to bring people together to banish loneliness and foster deeper connections and community". 
Do pay them a visit. 
I'm honored to be featured.

48 comments:

  1. I am so happy for you.Edward will always live in your heart and ours too.When i lost my cat Foulis after 16 years i couldnt even think of having another pet.Then two years ago my daughter brought Fouskas a one year old bichon frisee.She has started working full time in another area so the little dog came to us.What a blessing!I cannot imagine our life without him now!However Foulis will always have that special place in our heart!

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  2. Loved ones leave a hole in your heart when they go. Andrew will not fill that hole (nor does he want to) - he just will make that hole hurt a wee bit less. Happy for you (and for Andrew)

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  3. Pamela I have mentioned before that I am on the same journey as you. I lost my sweet Max in October. Family and friends immediately started telling me to get a new puppy. I was just like you...I could not, would not replace Max. I said the exact words to them...I just want Max back. Only after my husband reminded me that the Queen has had many Corgi's in her life and that she has loved them all, did I think that there might be room in my heart for another. Considering my warming to the thought of a new family member, I wasn't surprise to see Andrew on your Instagram this weekend. I'm so happy for you both! He is adorable and he has the "essence" of Edward. Those soulful eyes! Welcome to our "pack" Andrew!

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  4. Welcome Andrew. You are not there to take the place of Edward - you are there to be another dog in her life, another friend for Apple - and to make your own impression on the household, which I am sure you will.

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  5. A Grief Observed is the ONLY book which made any sense to me during the hard days after a beloved one's death. I am so happy for you to have opened your heart to such a sweet looking boy! He will open new doors for adventures and joys! And he must have been sent by Edward! I believe firmly they want us to pay the love they gave us forward to another furry soul. Many happy blessings for your family!

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  6. Such a lovely story! JOYFUL!!
    Edward will remain in the hearts of many of us, forever - he was the reason we all "met" in the first place! - yet there's always room for darling Andrew .... my, what big paws that young man has ... big enough to make huge tracks across your (our) hearts.

    Love from Christi & Isla

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  7. I was so delighted to see Andrew on Instagram (I'm @hillonthehouse). Apparently it infiltrated my dreams because this morning I dreamed I was getting some kind of black and white sheepdog mix who would be a companion to our Maisie (a rescue puppy who by the look of things is a border collie mix). The person we were getting the dog from was Petula Clark. I have no idea how she got in there! Anyway, we got Maisie in a similar fashion after a couple of months after we lost her predecessor. I surfed through rescue sites, but it was Maisie's eyes that grabbed me. Sometimes I think they choose us. And though she doesn't look like her predecessor who was also a rescue mix (though they both apparently had/have some border collie), she acts so much like her it's uncanny.

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  8. Oh, my dear--as a breeder and handler of show dogs I don't think there's any Border Collie in there. :D Looks like he's all Landseer to me! Does he have heavy webbing on his feet? Missouri is a prominent puppy mill state, so he very likely is pure Newfie, and thank God you rescued him!
    When I lost my working dog, I turned to Joan Didion as well. Losing a dog is such a unique, horrible pain; I'm glad you've found a companion to pull you out of your grief. Can't wait for the next book!

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  9. A face that I know Edward would love because as you know, he will always be with you...

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  10. It’s wonderful that you and Andrew found each other. Of course you will always love Edward, and now Andrew will bring new joy. I hope you all have many happy years together.

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  11. Andrew will fill your heart with joy and cuddle up to those that belong to Edward and make them easier to bear. Thank you for the recommendation of the 2 books. My 98 year old Dad is very sick in hospital and.....well I have a bad feeling about the outcome. I have never entertained the fact that he might not recover after episodes in the past because he has always fought on as he did on the beach of Dunkirk and in the jungles of Burma all those years ago but this time is different. We are a small tight knit family just my husband, Dad and me and 2 boys grown up and living away and I often - in fact always turn to books when I need solace, company and cheering up this event will be no different but they will be different books. If you have any other recommendations I have an IG page (@LindseyinBrisbane) Thanks as always for your inspiring posts on IG and Blog. Cheers!

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  12. Oh Pamela. So happy for both of you.

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  13. Oh, thank you! I was just thinking today how much I miss your writing! I follow you on instagram, and I confess that although I agree about the disaster that is our president , I am so sick of hearing about it. I now only watch BBC news because Trump is all the news channels talk about while there is so much else going on in the world. I have been turning to you for years to be uplifted, inspired, and reminded that there is a deeper and more beautiful path. This post was just wonderful, even though it meant sharing your pain. I lost my sister 5 years ago, and the shock is still with me. I still can't believe that she isn't coming back. Thank you for this! You have such a poetic and lyrical spirit- thank you for sharing it when it begins to feel that anger is all that's left in the world.

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  14. Andrew has lived in your heart before.. he's back home now.

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  15. What a sweetheart! Reading this makes me SO want to adopt another furry friend. If only I could adopt them all...so happy for you and Andrew, Pamela.

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  16. Welcome to the House of Edward Andrew! How wonderful that you found this sweet boy, he is lucky to have the three of you.

    I know exactly how you feel, I want my Munchen to come back and it will be 3 years in August cine she left for the rainbow bridge.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pup.

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  17. Losing a beloved animal companion is such a grief. And contemplating bringing a new companion into your life can be a process fraught with peril. I'm so happy for you and the Songwriter that you've opened your hearts to Andrew. And no, we will not forget the beautiful Edward. Thank you, also, for your words about grief as fear and magical thinking. They're particularly meaningful for me at this time. An acknowledgement that such experiences are true and shared by others has helped.

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  18. I had tears in my eyes over the loss of sweet Edward and the joy of a dear, innocent puppy.
    Andrew will be a wonderful new addition to the family. Edward will always be close by.
    Congratulations.
    Karen

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  19. He is gorgeous--a noble dog in the making. It seems as if we are going to loose one of our dogs in the near future....already grieving. I cried with you for Edward and will rejoice for you over Andrew. Thanks for sharing. xoxo Mary

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  20. It is strange and wonderful at the same time that you saw Andrew when you were ready to adopt him. Something similar happened to us when we lost our Myra. I'm sure she had a hand in us finding our new flatcoat Lussy. Edward will always be in your heart, but Andrew will capture a part of it too. Thank you for sharing those moments and lots of happiness together. Nicole Belgium

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  21. What a beautiful blog posting as are they all. May Andrew bring you many years of joy and happiness.
    Much love and many blessings

    Jeanne

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  22. Oh, I'm so happy for you, The Songwriter, Apple - Andrew is adorable. I lost my Max 5 years ago and miss him every single day. I, too, wasn't going to get another and then Lucy literally dropped in my lap and what a blessing she's been. I am comforted by the thought I'll see my childhood dogs and my Max waiting for me at the end. Meanwhile, enjoy Andrew and I look forward not only to lots of news and pictures of him, but your new book when it comes out. Laura

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  23. He's so endearing and I am so happy for you.

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  24. Think of Andrew as Edward's gift to you--a message in those eyes. Never replacing. Merely providing you with another traveling companion for life's journey.

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  25. Welcome Andrew! What an adorable face!!! Edward will always be present - no matter what. When I lost my husky, Tor, suddenly a couple of years ago I thought I could not possibly live without him by my side. I had him for 15 years. But one day I went to our local humane society and sitting in a dark, bottom cage was a puppy who many people have passed up. Fast forward to today. Karma is the joy I have found again - not replacing just carrying on. She makes my world complete. Andrew will too. And Apple is thrilled to be sure! :)

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  26. With a name like Andrew he has a great life ahead of him. Apple will be delighted and you, both, will discover that he's somehow , somewhere, in a way only dog owners can sense, has had a long chat with Edward. Congratulations !

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  27. Welcome, Andrew, to your forever family! What a beautiful dog and he is so photogenic. I am sure that you, and Andrew, will bring such joy into each other's lives~

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  28. you have no idea darling Andrew how lucky you are to have landed in the laps of such remarkably gifted people...
    who dwell in beauty of mind and spirit and laughter and caring and OH! the adventures you and Apple will have!
    and when you look a certain way and cock your head just a little ... you'll be telling Pamela that you just saw Edward and he is happy that you came to call it home too.
    sending you all love and great hugs of joy. xo♥

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  29. What a sweetie Andrew is. How nice that you found him. You'll always miss Edward. (We lost our Cezar 4 year ago, and we still miss him, although we are not going to get a new dog until our traveling days are over.) I will look forward to seeing and hearing more about Andrew as time goes by. He'll bring you new joy, and for sure you and the songwriter will bring him joy.

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  30. It’s been a year or so since I spent time in this community... but somehow something called me here tonight. I felt a portent and immediately wondered after Edward— and felt my breath leave me as I read on.
    Loss experienced over a lifetime is different each time... and yet the ground we visit is often the same or nearby. I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your wonderful well loved boy! But I wish you joy even in sadness... joy overflowing into life with this new young fellow who is certainly worthy of much love, too. Peace.

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  31. Love, love-love, love, LOVE, love-love ! LOL ! I am so happy for you. xo

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  32. One cannot look at the face of Andrew and you together and not break into a smile. I think Edward steered you to a big boy to help fill the big void in your life. I think looking for joy with the adoption of Andrew helps you to regain some equilibrium from the deep grief of losing Edward. Congratulations and what a lucky boy Andrew is to be welcomed into such a loving home. What a wonderful life he will have.

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  33. I'm so happy for you! Andrew looks a very fine soul and I look forward to hearing his adventures. He really has won the dog lottery as you and the songwriter are the most attentive and loving of dog owners. Obviously there will never be another Edward - nor would you want there to be but Andrew will partially fill a gap in your hearts. We still have not managed to get another dog after dear Buster died in May of 2016 but I know that sooner or later our next dog will find us. Hugs and pats for Apple and Andrew.

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  34. That is an extra special face. I don't know if I've ever seen a dog expression quite like it.

    Extra special dogs belong with you, clearly.

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  35. Oh I am so glad for you. I too knew that feeling of not wanting another dog to intrude on my grieving and I'm thrilled for you that you've found another, not to replace, but to remind us of the sheer joy and love that they can give us. Andrew looks wonderful. May you have many, many happy years together.

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  36. What a gorgeous boy ! He looks as though he will be such fun for Apple - he has so much mischief in those eyes !
    I have the dilemma too - should I have another dog to keep my lovely Inca, company. It's years since I've had just one dog, for many years had three. Though I must admit that it's easier, now that I am alone, to cope with one dog, and she seems to be accepted, and welcomed, everywhere we go.
    Wishing you much laughter and happiness with the new addition !

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  37. So glad you found another pup. He is so adorable and is certainly going to be a VERY big boy!

    I just have to say (and please don't take this the wrong way) - I know how very close you were to Edward (and all of us who read your blog felt like we knew him so well) and how shocking his sudden death was for you. I have had to say good bye to two very sweet dogs that were a huge part of our family and there was a lot of grief and adjusting each time. However, neither loss came close to what I experienced when my husband died just two months after his cancer diagnosis. I'm in a very good place now, with a wonderful and crazy two year old Jack Russell mix that has become the new heart of our family; but I can never compare the loss of my dogs to the loss of my husband.

    All the best to you and your family - I hope you continue your writing and finding joy and peace in every part of your life.

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  38. It's so nice to see a smile of your face as you're holding Andrew. I'm so happy for you, the songwriter, and Apple. I will always remember Edward fondly but now we get to learn about Andrew.

    Hello, Andrew!

    Janis

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  39. I'm overjoyed! The perfect way to honor Edward. I love the hair on top of his head!

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  40. O My Goodness...How marvelous..xxx

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  41. I am a little late for your party, but wanted to wish you the most glorious Birthday year! Thank you for all you give us each and every day, for all you do for others, and for being you.

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  42. Welcome to Andrew! Joan Didion was one of the books I read after I lost my dear husband. I still have not given away all his shoes...as Ms. Didion says, - what should he wear if he were to return!!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!