I know for some people it’s hard to understand the pain in losing a dog, but I can tell you from experience it is devastating. A few days ago I lost my dog, Mia. She was more than just a family pet. She was the heart of our family. She will be sorely missed by everyone, especially me.
Mia was a King Charles Cavalier who came to live with us in the beginning of January 2005, she was six-weeks-old. She was a tiny ball of chestnut brown and pearly white fur, with a flat nose and big brown eyes. She loved to cuddle and followed me everywhere. Me and my shadow.
It was a difficult time in my life. My son had been diagnosed with autism, my first grandchild was born in West Virginia and I was living in Norway.
Shortly after we got Mia my husband’s job took us to Houston for two years and then three years in the Netherlands. That’s how Mia became an expat and we never regretted taking her with us. She was a comfort out there in the big world. I’ve lost count of how many international flights she spent in a small bag, under the seat in front of me without so much as a whimper. One thing about Mia, she never complained. She was the most patient being I’ve ever met. She was always calm, cool and collected. Totally the opposite of me!
In 2010 Mia was diagnosed with a serious heart problem and the thought of losing her one day was unbearable. That’s when I decided we needed a new puppy. I knew another dog would never replace her, but I hoped when the time came it would help ease the pain. And I think it has.
Khloe, also a King Charles Cavalier came to live with us in July 2011.
Regardless of their different personalities, Mia tranquil and Khloe rambunctious they became good friends. Sisters who played, ate and slept side by side for four years. Since Mia’s passing Khloe has changed, she’s quieter, calmer, completely serene. It’s like she has taken over Mia’s role, I wonder if it will last…
losing Mia has been HARD. I feel SAD. EMPTY. I ache to give her just one more hug.
I have received many comforting messages from friends, neighbors and family around the world, remembering Mia with great fondness and expressing their sorrow. I have also received well wishes from people who never met her, but know or can imagine the pain in losing a beloved pet. For this I am so thankful.
Here are a few pictures from a family album:
I have six children!
Four of them live here in Norway (two still at home) and two are living in the States. My travel goal each year is to at some point visit these two missing children of mine, whether they come here or I go there. This past May my son and his lovely wife came to Norway and my daughter came to the Netherlands for my book launch. My daughter is also coming to Norway in September and as a bonus, she is bringing her son. The only bad thing is her daughter can’t come because of school (that stinks). It’s not easy when an ocean separates you from your family, but this is my life.
Life has been both good and bad, in fact it has thrown me twenty-three chapters worth of curveballs to write about and thats what I’m getting to with this post…
I never thought sitting down to write my story three years ago that it would be published but for once, I was in the right place at the right time. I got lucky. Not that it isn’t a good story, because it is! I defy anyone to read it and not find something they can identify with.
The reason I feel so honored to be published is this… I’m not really a writer. I lived and yes, wrote, but if it weren’t for the talent of a skilled editor, I’m afraid my book would be nothing more than endless rambling.
The reason for my confession is this, I follow dozens of blogs, half of them are written by people who are (whether published or not) writers in every sense of the word. I can see how good they are and yet they struggle for recognition (this in my opinion is a true writer). They are gifted, dedicated and deserve to be rewarded. I on the other hand work for hours and then break out into a cold sweat every time I press the publish button on my blog. More than once I’ve found mistakes that have left me spinning in my bed at night.
I don’t want it to be like that. I want it to be fun. Thats why I’m declaring this blog to be the endless ramblings of your average everyday person (who just so happens to have an edited book out there).
Phew… That felt good!
My daughter and her family in Norway:
My son and his wife in Norway:
This picture was taken in 1963, the woman in the picture is my grandmother, Gerd. She was living in America at the time, but at home in Norway for a visit. I’m not sure what she was up to with clothes slung all over the open car, suitcases in the trunk and a bucket? Whatever it was, I can see she was certainly dressed for the occasion.
Life didn’t start easy for Gerd, she lost her father when she was quite young. She was married at nineteen, had three children and lost one to pneumonia. At twenty-five, her husband died and three weeks later she gave birth to her fourth child (who she would later loose in a boating accident). She was also left with a small-run-down farm to manage (which I can now see from my kitchen window).
Five years later, in 1949, she gave the locals something to really talk about when the widow up and married a man eleven years her junior. They sold the farm in 1955, packed up the children and moved to America. They stayed for thirteen years before moving back to Norway, but Gerd had a restless soul and lived the rest of her life with a foot in each country. Bouncing between her devotion to Norway and her love affair with America, she never could decide where she was happiest.
At ninety-two, Gerd passed away yesterday. She died quietly in her sleep, of old age.
Not many people are lucky enough to have their grandmother for over fifty years, like I was, but that doesn’t make it any easier to let her go. I have plenty of memories, like when I was little and we would visit her on a Sunday afternoon. She would always spread a blanket on the floor and there my sister and I would sit eating ice cream, looking through photo albums of people in Norway, we didn’t know. When I was eleven and visited her in Norway, I remember asking if she could make me a tuna salad sandwich for lunch one day. After she explained and I saw that Norwegian tuna was pink, I was a bit skeptical but it turned out to be the best I ever tasted. She later confessed that when she couldn’t find canned tuna in Norway, she used salmon instead.
With her in America and me now in Norway, I’d ring her every other week and she’d always answer the phone saying, “Is it really you Margaret?” and then when it was time to hang up she’d say, “I’m so happy you called, its always nice to talk to you Margaret.” She was sharp and clear to the very end. I’ll miss those calls.
The one thing I’m most grateful for is that she was able to hold my book in her hands and see her picture inside it. She couldn’t read it, but she lived it and now she will live on forever…
Something that makes a physical connection between two other things.
This is Egerøy Bridge; it was built in 1951 and it connects the small island of Egerøy to the southwest coast of Norway. Before the bridge was built the only way over to the mainland was by boat. My father was born on the island and then immigrated to America in 1955.
I crossed the bridge for the first time in 1969. I was eleven and can still remember how excited I was to be going to Norway to visit my grandmother.
Crossing the bridge on my second trip in 1971, I was less than enthusiastic. I wanted to go to Florida that year, but my parents had other plans.
In 1973, I crossed the bridge looking for adventure. After meeting a boy thats exactly what I found. Driving over on my way back home I made a vow to return the following summer, and I did…
When I crossed the bridge in 1974, I was unknowingly put on the path to my destiny. A destiny that would take years for me to find, but first I had to go home and make all my mistakes.
It would take ten long years for me to find my way across the bridge again and yet, it still wasn’t our time.
Two years later in 1986, destiny called me back.
In 1988, he made his first crossing to my side of the bridge, in America.
Then in 1989, after twenty years of crossings, the bridge became a threshold to a new life and I made his side of the bridge, in Norway, my permanent home.
Look what the mailman brought yesterday. The first copies of Fly Away Home!
My heart pounded as I tore open the box and the feeling I got as I lifted that first copy into my hands can only be described as euphoric. After two long years my dreams were suddenly a reality in which I could hold. As I skimmed through, my life literally flashed before my eyes. Fifty two years of triumphs and shame. My strengths, my weaknesses, my marriages and my children’s lives, now in print. In twenty-one days it will be available to the world and no matter how it is received, I shall try and remember these three quotes:
“I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.” -E.B. White
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at your typewriter and bleed.” -Earnest Hemmingway
“To share your weaknesses is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” -Criss Jami