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Don’t wait for the days to be numbered..Love more today.

July 8, 2020

Why is it that we go beyond our normal effort to love when we know we have a limited time left to show that love?

Once again a four-legged friend has taught me a life lesson that I will hopefully never forget.

For months the dog my son saved back in January 2010 has been struggling through her every day. Chance (the name he gave her after giving her a second Chance at life) has been our fourth dog, and long known to be our last dog, and undisputedly our most gentle and loving dog.

When our dog Bubbles died in the fall of 2017 Chance took a dive, we thought we were going to lose her. Ironically what saved her was my husband’s battle with cancer. He was home repeatedly for doctors appointments for weeks and then 24/7 for five weeks in his recovery, those weeks he was able to physically love on her through her heartbreak and give her the love that allowed her to be on her “own” without her 4-legged best friend.

Chance enjoyed every moment but especially three specific moments, those when her two greatest loves walked through the door (my husband and my son), and treat time (which was around 6pm each night, or whenever I was tired of her telling me it was treat time).

For the past few months we have seen her decline rapidly, but hoped she could battle back. Being that most of the time it is just Chance and I at home alone, I tried to make every effort to spend as much time as I could being with her when I wasn’t working or running around. Many times I loaded her up with me and and had her tag along with me so she could have a view of the world outside of her corner of it. She even attended her first and only prayer service a couple weeks ago, thoroughly enjoying the music and the activity of watching the kids run around.

I noticed that my actions started focusing on making sure I was home more than I was busy. I noticed that I wanted to get home to get Chance outside where she loved to lay in the sun and breath in the smells of the outdoors. I broke my rule of “no dogs in the Jeep” so that she could come with me wherever I could take her. During the “stay at home” we took a road trip to do drive by visits to the kid, allowing her to see her beloved first love…Jordan. When I saw her spirit lift at the sight of my son or my husband I felt such gratefulness to be simply a witness of such unconditional, never ask “where have you been” love. It made me love her more and wish to be more like her. I hope to hold onto that lesson and put it into practice as she did so easily.

Once again I found myself being changed by the gradual parting of one that held a special place in my heart. I found myself having flashbacks of when I made every effort to be at my Dad’s side every day I could for the last 14 months of his life. I soaked in every moment, took tons of pictures, and spent much time observing how she, and he, savored every day they were given.

I rearranged my life, my busyness, my daily routine to adjust to hers, just as I did to soak in every moment with my Dad. I realized this was happening over the past few weeks and knew that this parting was going to be so painful because it was stirring up such memories of another parting that broke and built my heart and spirit and determination to live, love and laugh with even more passion and purpose. Chance and I spent so much time on the back patio soaking in the calm of the evening and watching the birds. My father’s favorite calming distraction was to sit on his back patio and watch the birds. I thought of him so often as we soaked in the busyness of the birds and the beauty of the day we were gifted.

I loaded up Chance in the back of the Jeep for the last time today with the help from a friend who had fallen just as much in love with her as we all have. She was sobbing, I was trying not to, and Chance took a deep breath of the fresh air with her eyes closed, and displayed her ever-trusting spirit ready for wherever I was going to take her.

Even on her last ride she showed me how to live: have faith, trust, love, soak in the moment, love in return. I remember my father trusting me to help him to move from one location to another. I tried so hard to not hurt him as I tried to muscle him with all I had to offer, I found that a similar situation when I tried to lift Chance into the car to have her enjoy a ride without causing her pain. I tried so desperately to allow her to have every single moment that was written for her to have and seeing her soak in that last ride made me feel some false sense of security that happened.

I learned once again to not worry about the future chapters of life but simply to soak in the current chapters of life.

I learned to make sure that nothing fills your schedule that pushes out time that could be spent with those who love on you and those you love. I learned sitting on the patio time watching the birds can be a very important task of the day.

I learned that it is not wise to save love for a rainy day when there are so many days that need you to freely and fully love without limit.

I have heard that to love is to know heartache…

I have learned that to love, whether it is 4 legged or 2 legged being, is to have your heart evolve to be stronger and when you have allowed it to strengthen by purposely scheduling time to not be busy but to be present fully loving, soaking in the moments, and putting aside busyness for quiet time spent with one whom you are not promised more than today you will be able to carry that love with you long after the last ride, the last bird watching moment, or the last hug (or lick if it’s your 4-legged BFF).

Don’t wait for the days to be numbered my friend.

Love more today.

Put it in your schedule to sit and be with someone you love.

My Dad, and now Chance once again, taught me this lesson with deep, true, unconditional, forever love.

“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing you peace AND love,

Terri O’Neill-Borders




Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

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