In The Arms Of An Angel


In The Arms Of An Angel

This morning at 6am I did a good thing for myself and went to yoga. Sometimes I go even when I am not feeling it, because I know that is when I need it most. It grounds me. The place I go to is a real community too and speaks all the spiritual lingo I like, which I appreciate.

But this morning when I arrived the instructor was in the room stretching to this song and I had to leave and go to the bathroom to wait for it to finish.

This song reminds me of my brother, Dean, who died at the age of 30. God, he was just a kid! I’ve gone through his things a hundred times looking for clues, and I see evidence of a young man who was sentimental, scared and feeling so despondent.

He kept cards we had all given him and ticket stubs from baseball games and the like. His life was barely getting started and my life has never been the same since his death.

As hard as I tried to get my head around the news when I first heard it, I just couldn’t accept it.

I had been out for the evening with my ex-husband. One of the only nights we took a much needed break from owning a restaurant. My sister was sitting in the back booth when I came in and simply said, “You need to call Mom.” She was so odd, I remember saying, “Did she win the lottery?”

She didn’t win the lottery, but she did have a police officer show up at her house and tell her that her son was dead.

He was found in a hotel room with copious amounts of drugs in his system. There was no note, even though my father told everyone at his funeral that he had killed himself. An investigation was done and the coroner said the cause of death was “unable to determine.”

When I think about him alone in that hotel room it makes me utterly distraught with sadness. I wonder why he didn’t call me, like he had so many other times in his life. It mattered not to me if he needed money or just wanted to tell me how hard he was working to make things right. I always had an ear for him. I thought we shared everything, but I guess he couldn’t share how utterly broken he felt with me, because he was my big brother and he felt he should be strong.

I just loved him! I know my boys would have loved him, too. They would have seen what I saw in him, when the rest of the world didn’t.

I know he watches over me. He is my angel, which is pretty ironic, since he did so many devilish things when he was here. He was always into trouble. Most of my childhood was filled with his antics, but I never cared, never judged him.

When I talk about feelings, change and authenticity, I am a person who understands how really precious our time here is. My brother was my friend, my hero. He always had my back and I tried so hard to have his. He was a person who was always up for an adventure. He was a person who not only walked to the beat of another drum, he created the beat.

When I say, “What’s the worst that can happen” it’s because I know what that is.

The worst thing that can happen, is that you don’t tell the people in your life how you feel about them. How much they mean to you and how much you love them.

I never got to say goodbye to my brother. He just left. The last time I saw him was not the best of circumstance. I was at his court appearance for some trouble he had gotten into and it didn’t fare well for him.

When the Balif came and handcuffed him, he looked back at me before they lead him out another door. If I close my eyes I am back in the courtroom with that look. I felt so helpless at the time cause I was just a kid, too. I wanted to do something for him but I felt like I couldn’t. If I had the day to do over, I would have jumped over all of the benches and held him, told him how much I loved him and that nothing was so bad that he had to take his life.

Please do not take anyone in your life for granted. Do not think that you have unlimited days with them to tell them how you feel or to make things right with them.

Life really is short and often times the people we love most, are taken from us without notice. Embrace everyone that you love, everyone that you want to love and everyone that you yearn to make things right with.



Gone But Not Forgotten


This is a label on the page that I have to look at every day, when I update the Dogs In Danger website. I do this for free. Because most of the work I do is for free, I have to be very discerning about who and what I gift my energy to.

The shelter I am currently in charge of is in Texas. I lived there once. Dallas. Had a restaurant. The Dallas Cowboys training camp was down the road. Randy White used to eat at booth number one. Spaghetti and Meat sauce. Our bartender had a thing for him. She may have even offered him sexual whatever but I can’t be certain. She was a real piece of work!

Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman…I saw them all. I never cared much for the Cowboys. I only cared about seating customers, making sure everything went off without a hitch and eventually sitting in the back booth praying for a way out of my first marriage.

And when they say, “Be careful what you wish for….”

My prayers were eventually answered, but not until the restaurant was lost, as was our home and I was responsible for what seemed like the entire debt of the place, even though I only owned 12.5% of it.  He couldn’t be found, so all of the numerous creditors and IRS came after me.

I found out he was cheating on me by opening the mail. There were two checks written out to her. Money I was making by spraying people at a cosmetic counter because he was too depressed to leave the house. Or at least that is what I believed and told everyone.

He eventually took a job that I found for him and that is where she worked. He told me he needed time to get his head together to be a better husband, so he moved in with a guy from the restaurant. It seemed like a plan to me, so I agreed.

When I came home to find an eviction notice on the front door of the rental he had moved us to and the water turned off because he had “forgotten” to pay the bill, it should have been apparent that I was not top priority. I tried calling him but couldn’t get ahold of him, so I called my father instead. It was he who told me that my husband wasn’t depressed, he had just moved on. And he was right!

All of the signs were there, too. The new sunglasses, wearing cologne, brushing his hair which he generally kept in a baseball hat. I just didn’t want to see them. I had been defending the loser to everyone. Telling his little story about how sad he was, how we needed time apart to come back stronger. I guess I wanted to believe it, because the truth was so much uglier.

I was afraid to be alone.

But truthfully, I never loved him. I just thought I did. I was too young to know what love was. Too inexperienced. I went through with a marriage when I knew I wasn’t ready, when I knew he had a temper, he was spoiled and lazy. I had begged God to get me out of it and it was finally happening. And yet, I tried to hold on. Even as I write it, it sounds ludicrous.

I can tell you now it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Sure, it would have been nice if we parted ways civilly, but does that ever happen?  Never! Marriages end badly. Because its a contract, which goes against the very nature of love, people fight tooth and nail for what they think is theirs and no one leaves unscathed.

We all have a history. Some of us just hide it better.  And while our history will often define who we become, it is really up to us to heal ourselves so that we don’t continue to attract people into our lives that take the best of what we have and use it for their gain.

So when I post dogs on a website and see that they have been euthanized, I don’t just post an animal, I post their history. How they were treated. I can read it in their faces. Some have been dropped there by their owners who are no longer able to care for them. Some have been picked up by the police for wandering the streets, while others are on some insanely ridiculous level, rather lucky that they will be put to sleep, because the reality they lived was too horrendous to bear anymore.

I’m not the same person I was back then. Through the non-loving gestures and communication from others, I now know what love truly is. And just because I may have healed from that garbage, doesn’t mean there aren’t little embers that rear their ugly heads every now and then, reminding me that I need to be loving myself even moreso.

I may get down for a day or three and reflect when people disappoint me, but after going within, I come out fighting even harder. I am stronger, more focused and determined to not let shitty things done by shitty people ever hurt me again.

I learn rather quickly who can be trusted and who cannot. I read people like I read the dogs. It’s something that is gifted to you when you have had to face adversity. I am very discerning about who I share my life with. The thoughts, processing, plans, wins, losses and everything in-between. What you read here is merely a glimpse into my persona. There is a short list who get the whole enchilada. And I mean minuscule!

Gone are the days of trying to prove myself, be naive or cowtow to anyone. But certainly not forgotten. I would be a fool to do that.

To the dogs that die by the numbers on a daily basis I have only sadness. It is people who disregard them when they have had enough, it gets to be too much work or they simply want a different one. Which sounds pretty much like how people treat people.

We REALLY can judge people by the way they treat animals. I know I do.