Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dude is now Toby

Animal control never got back to us. So I guess we are now the proud owners of Toby.

He is the just the sweetest dog little dog. He is mellow and laid back. Fully house trained and obedient and the best thing; he doesn’t shed.

Once he was someone's pet.

I absolutely don’t understand, why any one would just neglect such a sweet dog. There might be reasons, but no excuses. This could have been an elderly person, who maybe got sick and could no longer care for him. But that is not what I believe happened.

I believe that some one had him, found out that he was getting old and sick, and just could not be bothered any more. So one early Saturday morning they took him for his last ride. Stopped the car and opened the door and let him out, only to drive away and let him fend for himself. I don’t think he had been outside fending for himself for a long time, before he found us. He wasn’t skinny, but he had been severely neglected. His fur was so matted and according to the vet, that would have taken at least 6 months to get to that stage.

The vet shaved off the worst matting, and yesterday, I took him to the groomer. I suspected, that she had to shave him because there was still a lot of matting left.

She did. He looks completely different, but no more mating left. His fur will grow back.

I can’t help, but to think of Martin. He was sick too. Should I just have tossed him, of course not to the street, but to an institution, because of his problems and challenges.

What does it say about us as people if we can’t open our hearts to someone who is different.

Why does it have to be “perfect”, when “perfect” is just an illusion? It doesn’t really exist. And in the pursuit of perfection we forget where the true beauty lies.

In the imperfections.

However in order to see them we have to see with our hearts and not just our eyes.

By the way, I apologies for the photo. Toby does not like to have his picture taken. He turns his head and closes his eyes and even leaves the room, when he sees or even hears the camera.

I hope one day to have a picture that justifies how cute and sweet he really is.

This story about Toby coming to us, reminds me of all the times I have watched the shows on Animal planet, about abused and neglected dogs and the transformation they go through when rescued.

I am aware that not all stories have a happy ending, but i will make sure, that this one does.

He truly deserves it.

What's your story Dude

Mike and I have talked about getting a dog. We both agreed, that we wanted a rescue and not a puppy. Neither of us have the energy or patience.

We really haven’t put a great effort in to the search, because the timing isn’t right. We’ re going to Denmark in August, so we wanted to wait till we got back.

I have always heard, that you don’t choose a rescue dog, they choose you. I believe that more now.

Saturday morning Mike calls me and tells me that a dog is in our yard.

The dog looks very lost and confused. We don’t recognize him. Mike lured him in with some meat. He was both thirsty and hungry. He is very friendly, even if he is somewhat scared.

Who is this dog and what is his story?

It is clear that he has been neglected for quite some time. He is very matted around his legs and eyes and his nails were very long. But even if he was in pain, he still trusted us enough to let us pet him. That was one of the reasons we believed, that he had until recently belonged to some one. Been some ones pet, even if he had been neglected.

We called animal control. Maybe he had run away from his owner and the owner was an old person, who was not able to care for him.

“What is your story dude”? was the one question we kept repeating, but couldn’t get an answer to. Mike started to call him Dude. The way he looked, it kind of fitted.

I looked in Dude’s mouth and I could see he was missing a couple of teeth and his dental hygiene was pitiful. It made me think that Dude was an old dog and maybe had medical problems.

We decided to take him to the vet. Even if we didn’t keep him, no dog deserves to be treated the way he had been treated.

The vet confirmed he was an old dog. She thought is was about 8 or 9 and he had a heart murmur. But no heart worms. The vet shaved off the worst of the matting and clipped his nails. She told us that it would take at least 6 months for the coat to become this matted. Poor guy.

30 minutes at the vet had costs us $200. We didn’t even know if we could keep him.

But we had done a good deed for the dude.

He was so happy to get rid of the matting and the long nails, that he was jumping around, wagging his tale, looking up at us, as if he said thank you.

The little toothless dude had captured our hearts. Both Mike and I knew, if animal control didn’t contact us soon, it would become increasingly difficult to give him up.

We bought some dog food to last us the weekend, just in case.

We had a dog for the weekend, but what about tomorrow?

In loving Memory

God saw him getting tired, a cure was not to be,
so He put his arms around him, and whispered,
” Come with me”

It is 8 years ago today, that God took my son back. Sometimes it feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like two years.
Any one who has buried a child will know, that you will never get over it. It is said, that time heals everything. I disagree. Time heals nothing. Time is just time and the grief, sadness, anger, can be just as devastating 10 years after a child’s death, than the day after. Time will pass no matter how you feel and what you do.
You have to go through the process of grieving and bereavement, and there are no right or wrong way of grieving. Just your way.
Tell others how you feel, but if they themselves haven’t experienced a loss of a child, don’t expect them to fully understand.
The ultimate determinant in healing the horrendous wound when a child dies is love. As i said earlier time by itself heals nothing, but time plus love fosters healing. Accept that life is for the living. It takes effort to begin to live again and not dwell on the past.
But keep the memory alive. Look at pictures, remember special times and share that memory with friends and family.
I remember, that someone asked me, very soon after he died,” that now that he is dead, that must be a relief, because he was so sick. And now it is your turn to live”
I got really angry, thinking, how the f.... dare he say that?
But I controlled myself and answered, that I had been living all these years. It may not have been the life, I dreamt of, planned for, or hoped for, but I was still living. And as for the relief part, I had to say, that I would do it all again, just to have my son with me.
Secretly, a part of me was somewhat relieved, because it had been hard, heartbreaking and very often I had been close to breaking point, but that thought made me feel guilty, so I quickly thought of something else. A mother is not supposed to think like that...
I have learned so much from Martin. I learned how people are judged by what they look like or act like, more than what they have in their hearts and souls. We often don’t make the time and effort to find out, that we can learn from people who appear to be different.
Martins body may have been broken, but his soul, spirit and love was very much intact, probably more so than mine. He loved, because that was what he was and that is what he gave to the world. He wasn’t able to be influenced by outside sources.
He taught me that there is no greater force in life than love. I believe that it is where we all come from and to where we all return, when our time comes. It may sound like cliche, but love does conquer all. And the time we spend together in love, is never wasted.
He spend many hours in my arms. He even died in my arms.
I carried his coffin out of the church and after he had been cremated, I carried the urn to the grave and I put in in the ground myself. I couldn’t just let anyone else do it.
I carried him in life, I had to carry him in death.
Now my arms feel empty. But I carry him in my heart.
I will never get over his death and there is not a day, where I haven’t thought of him, missed him, cried over him, but I will get through it and come out on the other side.
I will carry on living my best life, just like he thought me.
To me that is the best way to honor his memory.

LOVE is spelled TIME

Everybody knows that a day is 24 hours and an hour is 60 minutes. But what is TIME?

And why does it feel so differently to us? Haven’t we all at one point uttered: I wish there was more time, or I am bored, I have too much time on my hands.

You really don’t, you still have the exactly same amount of time, it just feels that way.

The reason I am writing about this is, I am thinking a lot about time and values. Do we spend time on the things and people, which really matters to us?

Next week, the 2 year anniversary of my son’s death is coming up. Normally an anniversary is something to celebrate, but obviously not this one.

But it makes me think of the time Martin and I spent together. Almost 17 years. I was very privileged to live in a country were I was allowed to get paid full salary to be his mother and caretaker. That meant, I didn’t have to go to work and let other people look after him, after the normal 9 months maternity leave. I have always known that Martin’s time here on earth was on “borrowed” time, so I wanted to make sure that the time we spend together was quality time. I believe that nobody will say on their deathbed” I wish I spend more time in the office”!

Unfortunately many will say, I wish I had spent more time, with my family and loved ones.

I am lucky. Martin taught me about quality time while he was alive. I wish, I could have had more time, even if the time we did spend was often full of heartbreak, worry, fear, but I promised my self that even going through the worst days, some good could would come out of it. Finding good in bad. Putting your focus on the positive instead of negative.

I became very good at it. I had a lot of time to practice.

Next week it is 2 years since his death. I can’t say untimely death, because I truly believe that all timing is perfect, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

2 years. 730 days. 17520 hours. There are days when it feels like yesterday and there are days where I just can believe so much time has passed. Where did the time go?

I have known a lot of children who has passed and many of their mothers had the child name tattooed somewhere on their body. It is a way for them to remember them by. I thought about it, but as I don’t like pain, I came up with something else. I bought a quality watch, to represent the quality time we spend together. So if you ask me what time it is, I can honestly say, it is quality time.

If you can take anything away from this, please think about what and who is important to you and make sure you let them know, every day. Never let anything be unsaid.

Spend time on the things you love to do and with the people you love.

I like spending this time writing this, so maybe you can find your own quality time and remember. LOVE is spelled TIME.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's day

Today is mothers’ day. A tribute to all mothers. However this day seems more about the flower shops, jewelers, candy stores making an extra buck, than it is celebrating mothers. Mothers should be celebrated and appreciated every day. Why just one day? I am not saying this because I used to be a mother or because I never got flowers on mother’s day, but simply because mother’s are the most under appreciated people in the entire world and they actually have the most important job of all. It is proven that a stay-at home-mom with 1 child is the equivalent of a full time job. But what if she has 2 children or more and has a full time job? Around this time of year, the mom does get more air time on tv, just to remind us all to remember our mothers. That is good, but there are a certain kind of mother, who is forgotten or just not mentioned. The mother of a special needs child. That is not only a full time job, but that is 24/7. And very often is is a life or death situation. I know. I use to be one.
As I mentioned, I didn’t get flowers or candy on mother’s day, and at times it did make me feel under appreciated. But instead of moaning about it, I started to appreciate myself.
Martin and I made a ritual. It started when he was about 13-14. Forgive me if my memory is not what it used to be.
Every Monday Martin and I would go down to the flower shop. The flower lady knew that we needed some time to ourselves before she came over. I would take a few flowers and let Martin smell them. It always made him smile. I would then ask him which color he wanted for mummy’s flowers. He wasn’t able to verbalize it, but I knew his sign, and with his eyes he always picked orange. No doubt that was his favorite color. So 8 times out of 10 we got a orange flowers, but at times I did ask if he would choose a different color. He did.
We called the flower lady over and she made them in to a beautiful bouquet. I didn’t want to see her do it, because i wanted to be surprised. She wrapped them for me and I put them on Martin’s table, so he could “carry” them back to the flat. Then he would give me the sign, that I could take them and together we would open them. He loved the iihh and ooohhh that followed. So did I.
Unfortunately flowers are quite expensive, so we had to change it to every other week and then to once a month. But it was something that we did together and that made me feel good and appreciated.
So I may not have gotten flowers on the official mother’s day , but every time we went to the flower shop, it felt like mothers day to me.
Maybe there is a lesson to all moms. Don’t wait to get flowers once a year. If you want to change a bad day in to a good day, buy yourself some flowers. You truly deserve it. So until the day comes when mothers are appreciated every day, then I guess that one day out of 365 is a start.
Happy Mother’s day all. But a big special shout out to the special needs mothers out there.
You are truly appreciated, by me. trust me, I used to be one.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


There is a program called Intervention. It aires on A&E on Monday night. Unfortunately it aires at the same time as CBS Big Bang Theory. Very funny show, however back to intervention. If you don’t know the program, here is a quick recap. You follow an addict for a time, before family and professionals stage an intervention and ( hopefully) sends the addict to rehab, where they will get clean and learn new way of coping with their issues.

It saddens me to watch the amount of pain these people are in. But it also makes me think, well I am not that bad. Is that really true. I may not need an intervention and I haven’t yet blacked out, but I could use a support group. I just haven’t found the right one for me. A few come close. Overeaters anonymous. Well, I have put on 10 pounds since being here, but more of that later. But I am not one of those who eat buckets and buckets of KFC, ice cream, cookies, or burgers.

No I am a cheese - aholic.

I love cheese. The stronger the better. I love the ones that smells like they should have been thrown out long time ago.

The thing is, I just can have one slice of cheese on a piece of toast. Well that depends. What is considered a slice? To me a couple of inches would be a slice. If I buy a packet of precut I will just put several pieces on.

I normally make sandwiches for Mike for his lunch. At one time he did get cheese on top of the cold cut, but not any more. If cheese is in the house, it wont stay long. It goes straight to my hips via my mouth and stomach.

So I have given myself an intervention. I haven’t had cheese in the house for a long time and I really really miss it. I know that if it is in the house I will eat it. But I found a way to outsmart myself, as a true cheese-aholic would. I kept buying blue cheese dressing. So now I have intervened.

For 30 days I will not have blue cheese dressing. Not quite sure what to do with the bottle I have got. Have to give it away. Too tempting. Or maybe just ask Mike to hide it. It may not sound like much, but this is going cold turkey for me.

I will keep you posted.

Who am I ? I am a legal alien.

When somebody ask, who are you, many of us may say our country of origin. I am Danish, I am American, I am Austrian and so on. Maybe we will use our job title. I am a teacher, I am a writer, computer nerd, but now I can add another title. I am an alien. I must admit, I always thought that aliens were small green creatures who came from outer space to visit area 51 in Nevada, or just something or someone

Hollywood invented to make movies and money. But apparently I am now one. The reason I know this, the American government told me.

As a Danish citizen, I am used to filling out a lot of forms, when entering the US. To get through emigration, I had to stand in the visitors line, along with row after row of other visitors and a lot of patience, have my left and right index finger printed, not forgetting having my picture taken. But before that could take place, the immigration officer had gone through all my papers, making sure, I would be leaving the country again and also know for what reason I was in the US. Business or pleasure.

But coming to the US from Denmark this time was very different.

I was no longer a visitor, so I couldn’t go in the visitors line. Thank God, because it was already filling up. So i continued a little further. US citizens only, read the next sign. That is not me either. Who am I? and where do I go? Wont they let me in? But just before panic set in, I saw my sign. Aliens further along. Alien, yep that is me.

I had my own line in Newark airport.

The best thing was, I didn’t have to wait at all. Went straight to the little booth and showed my green card.

The officer smiled, they normally never do, and said welcome back.

Ah. It is good to be an alien. A legal alien, that is.

We won the war. Finally

War was declared a long time ago.

Last year we discovered a woodchuck had taken up residence under our shed. Actually I believe he came with the house, when we bought it last June, but the previous owner “forgot” to tell that the house came with pets. But after 1 year of “ Ha, I am still here”, we had enough. We already bought the have-a -heart trap, but the only animals we had caught so far, was squirrels. Not that I don’t want to get rid of them, but for now we had our minds set one something bigger.

once again we set the trap and filled it with some of his, according to google favorite foods. And just waited. and waited.

Shortly after Mike had gone to work he was trapped. I started to feel sorry for the guy. But then I just looked at the huge hole he had dug in the yard, not to mention how it will look under the shed.

I kept my eye on him to make sure he was ok, until we could release him.

There was a time, when I though he was dead, because he was not moving even if I came up close. So I called mike and said, that now it was a whole new ball game, but either Jesus came by to revive him or he was just plying dead, there he was ...eating.

As soon as Mike came home, we took him to the truck. Well it actually took a bit longer, because mike was afraid Chukie would get out of the trap and attack him. But Chukie didn’t. He just lay there. As still as possible. We found a very nice spot on the mountain with lots of trees and no houses. Problem was, we couldn’t remember how to open the trap. But two minds work better than one, so together we figured it out, while Chukie, was thinking, “Hey get on with it. i am smelling freedom here.”

What seemed to take forever, but probably not more than a 15 seconds the trap door opened and Chukie left well ran as fast as he could in one direction and Mike who was sure to be at the receiving end of Chukie’s revenge, ran in the other direction.

But it was a fine moment. Setting him free to roam to take up housing somewhere else.

Back in our own yard, we filled the hole and sat down to enjoy a before dinner drink. But we both kept looking in the direction of the shed expecting him to pop his cute little head out. I kind of miss him, Mike said. Me too, I answered, but I have to remember to put up the No Vacancy sign.

Staying with my parents

I spent last week in my old home. I visited Denmark, where I was born. I stayed with my parents. Even if I am 45, I still felt like a little girl. My mother made sure I got up in time for my appointments, and when I got out of bed, breakfast was awaiting. Ahhh. It was good to be home. However it wasn’t just a social visit. I had to among other things, tell the Danish local counsel , that I was moving to the US. I have filled out form for moving before and just mailed them, but because I was leaving the country, I had to show up and do it in person. I had a strange feeling inside, when I filled out the form. Name, old Danish address, new US address. That was all ok, but when asked the reason and for how long, something changed inside me. The form asked which would apply for me. 1 going to war... no. just being married.

2 work....No. haven’t found one yet, and that wasn’t what they meant.

3 other... Yes, that must be the one. Married to an US citizen.

The next question took me by surprise. How long do you plan to be out of the country? Maybe I should call Mike and ask before I answer. But I wrote permanently. The whole thing took less than 5 minutes. What had I been so nervous about? This was just paperwork. The big move was and is inside of me.

Back out on the street, I kept thinking about how much had happened in the past 2 years. Martin’s death and everything that came with that. Having to move to a new flat. The flat I lived in was for disabled only, loosing my income, because Martin was considered my job, so I got full pay as a care taker. My van, which I loved, had to be sold. I no longer had a need for such a van. Martin was in a wheelchair, so i had needed it. As Martin was considered a job, i hadn’t had a “regular” 9-5 job in 18 years. I had a 24/7 but that doesn’t count.

Meeting Mike, falling in love, moving to US. , getting married, starting over. Not knowing any one, anything, not even where the local supermarket was. And if I did know, I couldn’t get there, because by then i didn’t have a car.

Oh yes, in between all that, having to mourn the loss of my beloved son.

Hmm. Maybe I should just take advantage of the fact, that right now I am in Denmark. So I called my mother asking when lunch would be served.

Packing my siutcase

When I say, I am packing my suitcase, it isn’t the whole truth. I took my suitcase out from the closet. I am thinking about packing. I actually never pack until the day/evening before. Even if I have known for months that the travel date is fast approaching. Why is that? Is it because I am afraid that I might use some of the clothes intended for the trip. Maybe. But I do have a washing machine , so that really shouldn’t be an issue.

But here I am, and knowing myself, I will run around saturday night trying to find some clean clothes to wear, because I will of course have forgotten to do the laundry. Where am I going? Let me just explain. I am a Danish citizen, happily married and living in the center of the known Universe, or so I was told when I moved here, Newington Connecticut. USA. I do feel that CT is my home. I really love it here. But I have only lived here for 1 year and I have lived 44 years in Denmark. So as I am going to Denmark, am I then going “home”? I will be staying at my parents flat, which is the place I call my childhood home, so I guess, even if I will be a guest, at some point I will be saying, it is good to be home. However, when I think of HOME, it is our small house in Newington.

I love it here, even if I do miss my family and friends. Thank God for skype, facebook, email, and telephone. Mostly Skype. That gives me the opportunity to see who I am talking to. That is nice. But I was talking about packing. See I did it again. I try so hard to avoid it. I keep hoping that an angel of packing, will have done it, during the night or just when I am not looking, but as I have travelled a fair amount in my life, I should realize, a packing angel, doesn’t exists. Or does she? Well actually she does. She comes in the form of my mother. My mother is the super packer. She is in a league of her own. She can get everything in to nothing, if you know what I mean. And to really rub it in how good she is, when one of the suitcases she has packed is opened and the clothes hung up.... not a wrinkle in sight.

Maybe I secretly hope, that my mother will make some sort of transatlantic soul flight, during the night and pack for me. It hasn’t happened yet, so I am not keeping my hopes up.

So maybe i should just stop writing about packing and actually get started. I am leaving in a few days. I am not making promises, but I will go in and open my closet to take a look at my clothes. That is a start.