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I've heard it said that the universe/life keeps teaching you the same lessons until you really learn them. I've found that over the past two years of my life, that has been... well mostly true. I learned a very hard lesson in early 2019, when the love of my life, (and his dog) left me because I was drowning myself (and dragging them with me). And I knew I would never stop hurting. When that happened though, despite the pain, it took mere minutes for me to realize the errors of my ways, and since then I have been learning almost every day how to be grateful for the things I do have in my life, how to remember that I am lucky, how to choose happiness, and how to fill the missing pieces of my heart, despite the man and dog shaped hole that had been blown through it. It really did only take me minutes to realize. I mean that. I was walking in the Petsmart with my eighteen year old family dog to say goodbye to her, her little white hairs working into the fibers of my black wool coat, knowing that they would never come out. And as me and my brother, my sister and my mom, pet her little head and said our goodbyes, in those minutes I realized how much I had taken for granted.

And since then, I've kept learning those lessons.

On October 15th, 2019, I said goodbye to my biggest boy. Bone cancer brought down my big, strong, beast of a dog. And as I said goodbye to him, with my mom and my dad in the little back room of the Petsmart, his slobber getting all over my grey woven boots, that I knew I would never wash even though I should, I did my best to remember the lessons I had been learning. I was being taught them again. I was being reminded. I was a different person than the person who walked into the Petsmart in early February. And I was grateful for the whole world around me, even on the hardest days. Even on that day.

So I kept learning those lessons. I kept reminding myself, every day, of the greatness in my life, of the light, of the choices I choose to make every day. I have learned my lessons, and I will not forget them.

On October 15th, 2020, I rode on a large flat rolling cart through the Petsmart, my heart, my dog, in my lap, riddled with cancer. My mom, my dad, and my brother followed behind me, and we went into that little room in the back of the Petsmart. I laid on the floor with my boy, my son. I breathed deeply, not wanting to ever forget his scent, the thick black fur of his neck getting all over the inside of my nose and mouth, knowing I'd never get all the dog hair out of my mouth, and I remembered all the lessons I've learned. I remembered the person I am, the person I have worked so hard to become. And once more, the universe reminded me of the lessons it took me almost 30 years to truly learn. And I remembered that even in that moment, on the hardest of days, that I am not the person I was two years ago. And I said goodbye, to one of the last members of the family, of my family, I had made for myself.

The family I made for myself is not really around anymore. I still have Tiger Lily, my little kitty, but my three boys, and my man, are gone. And still, I am grateful. I have learned my lesson. I am not the same person I was two years ago.

I think I've had about 100 people come forward and talk to me about loosing Roscoe. They've expressed the love they have for him, and for me. They told me about the love they found because of Roscoe, and how in so many ways he actually changed their lives. My dog, my boy, my Roscoe, has touched so many lives, and I could not be more grateful for the nine years we shared together. Roscoe got messages from people across the whole country, and even from a great friend on a whole different continent. He got food deliveries from across the nation. Hugs from old friends. My dog has changed the world. I used to tell Christian that I was the luckiest girl in the world to call him mine. After he left me, I thought that I would never again be her. I had so much good, and so much gratitude, and so much light, but the luckiest girl in the world? I didn't think that was in the cards for me again. Perhaps the last lesson the universe needed me to get through my stubborn head is that I have been the luckiest girl in the world for awhile now.... I am the luckiest girl in the world because I had true love. I had true love from the moment I walked into that Petsmart, in Columbia, South Carolina, on August 13th, 2011 and saw the young Rottweiler with the blue cone prancing through the store at the adoption show. I had true love in the family I used to have. And even if they're almost all gone now. I had it. And so I am the luckiest girl in the whole world.

I don't know if I will get the chance to be the luckiest girl in the whole world again. Nine years and a whole family is a lot of luck for one person.... I really did have it all. I'm not even thirty-two yet though, so I've got a lot of life ahead of me! And as I embark on this new journey with a new job and as I work hard to build the legacy that Roscoe started for me, I am grateful.

I often feel that my heart has been reduced to fragments. Fragments of pink mist from the multiple holes blown through it in less than two years. But they say time heals all wounds. And even if my heart is in pieces right now, my mind is good. I have light. And I will never be the girl I was two years ago, again. I have so much good in my life and so much good to come. After all, I'm the luckiest girl in the world. Forever.


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