Thank *you* for joining me today..
I am celebrating Love..pure and true…
With a story and a song..a tribute to Ginger whom I loved with my Being..and to Ginger’s owner who is my “wise friend”–a teacher, a guide, a love, a friend..
I *love* you..
Once upon a time..one year ago this month..
I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer..
So, I quick counted my blessings..took stock of all that I’d experienced, had I lived well/right, was my heart full and happy, did I share from that overflowing well? Had I loved fully? Would my two young children know how loved they were? Would my friends? If my physical being died, would the beach fill with people who remembered how I was full of joy, peace, love…who came to celebrate the experiences we shared..
Yes..yes to all of it..And the bonus is that I took a huge leap and allowed my life time dream of living on a boat to manifest..So, double yes..I’d allowed my heart to remain open and I was glad for all of it..
My loved ones were shocked, surprised, and quite distant…
I continued to live each day as fully as possible..I hit some lows during tests and results, but all in all, I continued on as usual.
Enter my ‘wise friend’…
He loves me..he loves my children..we mean the world to him..on the boat and in life he is one of my biggest sources of encouragement..When he is in my life, he gently challenges me in the best possible way to dream, then to allow those dreams to manifest..He comes in and out of my life as naturally as the tide rises and falls..
We had taken different paths, but at this time he was led back into my life..and what he did was to love me in a way that I would allow, a way far different from that he had expected, but he customed Love to me instead of pushing it on me..
He took a job within my marina, across from my boat and that meant that any time of the day, we could glance across the harbor at each other and smile..He represents to me utter joy, adventure, faith, love..so looking across the harbor would remind me of those things.
So dorky, we’d wave across the harbor..hello I see you..mega watt smiles lighting up the area between us..
That is as close as I would allow him to be..
And this story isn’t about him..it’s about Ginger..
Ginger is a pit bull with the cutest face in the world..boat trained, used to being held and coddled, lovable in all ways..
Ginger was my wise friend’s dog, his best friend, his companion…and he gave her to me and the children..perhaps the best present I’ve ever had..he gave me his best friend to love on me because I needed love, and that is the form I would best accept it..
Gol. I took her everywhere..to the park, for my last few times running on the beach at water’s edge, to the hills and my favorite hiking trails..my constant companion..During that time, fear allowed many of my closest friends to shy away a bit..so Ginger’s company was a huge blessing..
Talk about love. She was used to my friend holding her while she slept..so I let her into bed with me…I would open the hatch and we would stretch out together..in the sunlight, the moonbeams…Lots of times I would cry and she would lick my tears..and I would think “thank you” thank you for Ginger..I would fall asleep with a smile in my heart and on my face..
Is that possible? BAM stage 3 cervical cancer..so much unknown..yet a smile in my heart and on my face..*that* is Divine love.
And my wise friend checked on both of us constantly..smart of him since I wouldn’t have allowed him so much space had Ginger not been there..I wouldn’t have wanted him to love me and experience the pain of ‘losing” me…but there he was every day, checking on us all..a gift…
Everyone knew I was ‘all right’ because I was able to care so much..
The thing is, Ginger was well over 70 lbs, and couldn’t negotiate the boat stairs into the living area, so I’d have to gather her up in my arms, pretty much catapult her up the stairs which are about 4 ft high and I’m only 5’1…kind of toss her bulk through the hatch and into the cockpit..and the internal damage and pain from that was great..I wasn’t to lift anything over 10 lbs, so it hurt..a lot. Coming back in was easier, we’d walk the deck of the boat and enter through the front hatch which is right above my bed so we’d often just lay there together to rest…I needed lots of rest, so this was another gift..resting with Ginger. I loved her, so I went through this routine at least three times a day, sometimes more…My Spirit soared, but man my body hurt…
Ginger and I took long walks everywhere..My favorite walks with Ginger were either late at night after work or early in the morning before work..we’d walk in the dark under the blanket of stars..around the harbor that has been the scenery for many of my dreams..Because she had me out at those times, I would reflect under the moon and my heart opened even more fully…
My children adored her as well..But I knew she was Mine..we were connected..that connection blasted through any reticence I had about loving fully..Ginger opened my heart..
My wise friend did that for me..allowed me to learn Love like I had yet to Know..
There is an unfortunate ending..after one month, Ginger bit my son terribly bad so we could no longer keep her..
On the last day, I cried and cried and cried..more than I cried ever..felt like my heart was breaking..I wondered why God would gift me with such extraordinary but for a temporary time only..why not forever…I let Ginger into my bed, into my heart, into my life..fully…and I loved her..More than anyone knew, I loved her..
That love continues on today..I’ve learned to allow my heart to remain fully open, to experience All in this moment.. I don’t need to know there will be another moment to share..I just allow myself to celebrate this one that I am in..
I used to dance with Ginger..I’d put the music on as loud as possible, jump around and she’d jump with me..in our little cubicle of living space on this boat..she’d lick and jump and play.. I think in my life, besides my children, Ginger is who I expressed love most to..I loved my wise friend and a few others incredibly so, but I never expressed it like that..so freely, so joyfully…
So..when Ginger and I danced (and yes, the kids were often there as well, jumping and singing)..we danced to the following song..
One year ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer..I didn’t know if I would be on Earth to raise my children or to sleep under the moonbeams or to share a smile..but I chose to love fully…
And I would do it again..in a heartbeat..
May this song bring joy to your life, may you move a bit remembering Ginger and I, and may you tell the people closest to you that you love them..Shout to the rooftops..”I love you, I love you, I love you…”
There is a twinkle in my eye and the happiness in my heart lights my face as I read these words, listen to this song, and think how you will recall the ones you’ve loved so joyfully…
Did I say it right? Probably not as eloquently as some..but when the full moon shines this evening, it shall be with memories of Ginger and I dancing and running and hiking and stretching out in the v-berth..that I tell the Moon I am thankful and my heart is completely open..
Much like the tide, my wise friend enters my life with full presence and a new gift..then leaves again with quite a distance..I celebrate the gifts…and I live fully through the distance..
Thank you, my wise friend, for loving me in ways that change my life…and thank you Ginger, for spending time with my family..
#1 by Patricia on September 24, 2010 - 3:12 am
Lovely indeed. Sorry that there was a bite to the story and sadness.
I hope a year later you are feeling well – I know you are feeling happy to be alive:)
Thank you for sharing
#2 by Sulwyn on September 24, 2010 - 5:12 am
We almost lost our dog (a small mutt… lhasa apso, yorkie, maltese cross) when I tripped and fell on her while she slept resulting in a bite to my lip that sent me to the ER. Fortunately we were able to have her quarantine at home and she was added to the list of “vicious dogs” which was a joke with her size and temperament, but I can see how if she had been a larger dog that was already burdened with a bad stereotype that it would not have been so simple. I love how dogs and, to some extent, cats can teach us to be open to our depths to love. No wonder in ancient times they were revered as living gods and goddesses! I am so blessed to have our two “kids” in our life, and to be entrusted with caring for them in return for their love and their teaching me to love.
#3 by Jay Schryer on September 24, 2010 - 5:55 am
This is very beautiful; full of life and love. Thank you for sharing this story. May it touch the hearts of everyone.
#4 by Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord on September 24, 2010 - 12:34 pm
Beautiful Joy, there isn’t anything much I could say after this because your words were eloquent and perfectly written. Instead, I’m just going to give thanks – aloud and in my mind – for the incredible gift that is YOU. You’re an amazing woman, and you astound me on a near constant basis.
You have perfect self-expression. Always trust in that, and trust that you are, indeed, living a gilded life. After all, you are this earth’s Moonbeam Goddess. I * bow * to you, my friend! And of course, I love you deeply.
#5 by Tony Single on September 24, 2010 - 1:14 pm
You are so alive right now, Joy. So alive. I’m tearing up at the thought that you have cancer, and yet my heart swells that you are here. Now. Dancing. Alive. And so full of love. Rock on, girl. Rock on. 🙂
#6 by Hilary on September 24, 2010 - 1:20 pm
Hi Joy .. what you’ve experienced is more than most of us will achieve in our lifetime – and your ups and your downs, fullness of living .. the love you give everyone is fabulous .. especially your kids – they will always have their special mother.
I too had a bull terrier – whom I adored, my husband’s choice, .. but I had to give him away when I got divorced .. as I would be working all day, and would out playing squash most evenings .. so keeping an animal wasn’t really an option and I moved to a smaller house. He was similar to your Ginger .. full of the joys of Spring .. giving much love as it was sorely needed for a bad time. I cry for him now – 30 years on!!
We learn so much from them – thanks for this wonderful post .. have a great weekend together .. Hilary
#7 by Tess The Bold Life on September 24, 2010 - 10:51 pm
I remember your other blog and you telling these stories. I also love love love the song! Thanks for sharing your amazing self.
#8 by Brenda on September 25, 2010 - 12:28 pm
Joy, this touched my heart in a million different places. Ii loved the story of Ginger…he certainly gifted your family for awhile.
You are one in a million. I wish you continued joy and healing.
You are so very loved.
#9 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on September 25, 2010 - 3:47 pm
Your comment touched my heart significantly..I realize loving Ginger so fully allowed me to release the last part of the barrier around my heart and began my journey of embracing the Goddess within..Divine Love indeed:)
Thank you for sharing your story..your energy seems wonder filled lately–I *love* that!
The biggest lesson I learned from Ginger is to allow Love to be customized *for* me..to keep my heart open to new and different..I don’t have to know ‘how’ my dreams will come true..I just need to keep dreaming..
“Moonbeam Goddess” I’m loving that! I hadn’t realized Ginger is among those moonbeams..
In this period of transformation, I’ve been seeing shooting stars in the night sky..consistently and effortlessly..I think a sign to keep dreaming and all will be well..
And I love you and all that you reflect to me..great beauty and joy, fun and laughter..awe-some!
Lol! I love your comment…makes me smile..so thank you..I’m rockin’..definitely rockin’..and I think every day is a celebration of life:)
You are so precious..
Thank you for all that you share..
Your kindness is amazing..and your words touch my heart..
I wrote about Ginger when she was part of our life..I was so hesitant, but I embraced her fully..and that was the beginning of absolutely amazing in my life..I think once I opened my heart fully God and the Universe clapped in delight and began to fill it with splendid…
Thank you! Ginger and I are Moonbeam Goddesses *grin*
Your comment makes me realize my family is as blessed as we allow it to be..and my children have not only learned to allow for magic, but are now learning to manifest it..My heart fills with joy thinking of all that is available to them, and to all us, when we open our hearts….
There is lots of dancing, playing, laughing in our lives..and I hope we continue to cultivate that always..
#10 by Robin Easton on September 26, 2010 - 11:44 pm
My heart is sooooo full of love right now. I feel as if I have always known you. You are one of the most courageous free spirits I’ve ever met or heard about. Joy, you ARE Love. I FEEL it jump from you and into me, and breathe deeply. It is long over due that I share with you more fully. You are one of those rare souls who touch me SO DEEPLY that I almost have no words that are befitting of what I feel.
You not only danced and still dance with Ginger, but you dance with life. You invite me to dance with you and all those around you. You are a stunningly beautiful free spirit with soul that is so deep it is fathomless.
My god, you are brave and intelligent and wise, and your beautiful arms are held wide open to Life. You have poured your love and beauty on me until I cried from reading your words and experiencing the magnificence of your spirit. You ARE brilliance.
I am honored, more than I can express here, by your friendship and love. You LIVE Beauty, Love, Vitality, and Freedom. I just want to say, “I see you.” And in seeing you and being on the receiving end of your love and “Joy”, I feel more fully ME.
I love you and thank you from my heart,
#11 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on September 27, 2010 - 1:54 am
Your comment fills my heart..speechless..
Thank you for reflecting to me absolute joy, beauty, wisdom, fun, adventure..and reminding me to manifest amazingly grand dreams and to allow the moonbeams, ocean waves, and hiking trails to be my guides..
Last week, your book rocked my little world..your journey is brilliant and all that you share inspires my own journey…I was so discouraged and reading your words reminded me of the blessing I have to live in such a magical way..to embrace all of it, and to *love* as fully as possible..
The vision you share here is so beauty filled, I shall allow it to resonate within and buoy my steps as I continue to dance with life..Thank you for dancing with me..I am honored..
#12 by Peggy Nolan on September 30, 2010 - 3:09 am
I remember Ginger well…I loved how you shared your heart and allowed Ginger to share hers. I know the path you’re on…That pesky C thing is a blip, an interruption, a message, a lesson (or many lessons in my case!) Cancer can turn your life upside down or it can turn your life inside out. We’ve both opted for inside out.
Celebrating your health and happiness with you.
PS: We’re not survivors, we’re THRIVERS!
#13 by Jean Sampson on November 5, 2014 - 2:58 pm
What an incredible journey you have been on/ are on! I am SO grateful that I am able to be a part of that journey now! I will be the first one in line to buy the beautiful book you will write about your life and the magic you create! 🙂 I love you, Joy! ❤ ❤ And I am so glad that Ginger was there as an angel of love in your life! Thank you for the wonderful and uplifting song! 🙂 🙂