Today would have been my beloved Gwendolyn’s fourteenth birthday. Seven months ago, had one told me that I would be writing about Gwendolyn in the past tense, I would have laughed and wagered all of my brain that she would be giving me attitude and demanding cookies for many years to come. Furthermore, had one insisted that I would find love after Gwendolyn with a perfect little puppy, one who would keep alive my heart throughout and after this unexpected trauma, I would have called their bluff and canceled them from my life. Alas, there is a puppy named Claudette, and I love her with every depth of my soul.

And I am okay. My friends said for many years that when Gwendolyn stopped living on Earth, they would need to book a spaceflight to Pluto because they expected that I would be totally unbearable. In reality, my friends would never have done so; and when doomsday actually arrived, they were the most supportive glorious caretakers of whom I could have ever dreamt. Sure, I have my crazy moments like when I traveled to Pittsburgh and carried with me Gwendolyn’s collar so that she could attend the grand adventure; like that night at CVS with my sister Stephanie (I’ll never tell the details on that one!); and like today, on Gwendolyn’s birthday, there might be a sparkly party hat sitting upon her ceramic urn of ashes (the same urn that I kiss every single morning). I have cried only 33 times since saying goodbye. And I am okay.

Happy heavenly birthday to my Gwendolyn.

And let me please tell you about this beautiful little puppy! Claudette is a needy baby who is my shadow. She is Gwendolyn’s physical carbon copy, but she is a completely different personality. She likes to snuggle. She wiggles when she walks. She pancakes for every dog. She eats only when she is hungry (lol). She likes mushrooms. She retrieves her own collar when it’s time to venture outside. And she greets me at the door (lol). She is absolutely lovely. Six days after saying goodbye to Gwendolyn, Claudette came like a tornado of life who kept me moving! Who kept me laughing! Who kept me breathing. And now I do these things because I am truly happy.

Walt Disney’s Bambi also helped me to process what happened in this past year. In fact, I watched this film with Gwendolyn before she became ill. Watching in beautiful Disney artistry the natural flow of animals being born, being raised, living as adults, and retiring to the quiet of death truly helped me. I am grateful to Walt for that.

I wrote a blog for a long time, from 2011 to 2018. And then I found it necessary to censor myself because what I think about worldly subjects seems to offend people. But I have so much to say! And I love to write! And I love to be read! It suddenly clicked in my brain that I need to write and to publish my thoughts again. What could be a better birthday present to my Gwendolyn than to create a new blog and to dedicate it to her?

I’ve always considered myself to manifest an inner Carrie Bradshaw. At this moment, I feel like Carrie Bradshaw typing at her computer: “After all, seasons change, so do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart…” My heart is so full of memories, of love, and of excitement for the future. I need to write again. I need to make my thoughts relevant again. It is a new season. And Just Like That, a new chapter begins.

The light in me recognises the light in you.