Monday, July 30, 2012

Finding comfort with creativity and love...

MAXMOM here...

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway."
-Emory Austin

It's been a weekend of mixed emotions...

Yesterday, South Africa received its first Olympic Gold medal.  Our country was buzzing in celebration...

Congratulations to our own Cameron van der Burgh for his incredible performance in the 100m breast stroke and a new world record! You have made South Africa proud!


All this elation has been against the backdrop of our own sadness of having to say farewell to our sweet little Toffee last week.  As expected, the latter was hard. But today the sun is shining and Spring feels like it's just around the corner.  Why do I feel so much better? Well,  I put it down to a little trick I discovered during Maxdog's era:  My secret to managing grief:...

"Create! Create! Create!"

If, perhaps, you are wondering about that very last page.... 
Well, it's a picture of  "The King" peeking his nose through a hole in one of the boards we'd put across the scullery doorway during feeding times. He was so cute.  
Take a closer look...

My catharsis happens when I allow myself to get lost in creativity - in a manner that honours the person or animal I have had to say good-bye to. 

In this case, I decided to make a mini-scrapbook of TOFFEE.  It is a 15cm x15cm little booklet and is the perfect gift for Miss "R".  It's small enough for her to take back to her university residence, if she so chooses. 

The picture on the left is of a younger 'Miss R' and her pup. We musn't forget that King Toffee was brought into our home as her little pet when she was only 7 years old.  
Nowadays, she lives at university during the week.

Toby's response to Toffee's absence has been to take over his smaller bed....

As usual,Tammy simply accepts any given situation. This time she's decided to stretch herself out in a much more spacious manner - on the larger, double dog-bed in the corner of our room...

I also had time, during the weekend, to give some attention to our sweet guinea-pigs.  My readers will know that I recently 'rescued' little TWIX...

Well, the little thing has settled in beautifully and is growing stronger by the day. All her injuries have healed up and she is a happy little critter now.  She's very tame too and enjoys spending time resting on our chests while we feed her tit-bits. 

As you know, we have two other GP's in our household - SCOTCH and SODA...
 (Above: "SCOTCH" with "SODA" behind him)
 (Above: "SODA")

  They belong to "Miss R" and only come home over weekends when she returns from university.  Twix is still far too small to feel settled with them and earlier attempts to introduce them have resulted in unnecessary attacks on poor little Twix.  So,we've decided that she must get a little bigger first so that she can stand up for herself. For the moment, she can stay close to me - in her spacious indoor crate.

Nevertheless, I decided to construct a makeshift "outside" play area for the two larger pigs. We've had beautifully sunny weather recently and I know they'd enjoy some time outdoors.  I want 'weekends with Granny' to be a fun time and they were thrilled with the opportunity to explore a different, sunny environment.  Perhaps we'll construct something more permanent for the GP's in the near future - especially when Twix gets bigger. We'll see.

My vegetable garden is becoming very useful indeed:  All guinea-pigs get their fair share of leafy vegetable tops, carrots, spinach, parsley, apple slices, beans, hay and top quality commercial guinea-pig food. 

Our new favourite saying:
"Nothing can be happier than...a pig in our home"

I would also like to take a moment to say thank you to all my friends around the world.  Thank you for your messages of condolence and support over the past couple of days.  Yes, Toffee has left a huge hole in our heaerts.  He was a small doggie, with a large spirit, but he did, indeed,
 "Live life to the Max!".  

This has made the whole process, of saying goodbye, a lot easier.

Thank you again.
With love


H and Flo said...

What a lovely book of Memories for Miss R. :)

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

Hi Maxmom, sorry but only heard of your sweet Toffee passing to the Rainbow Bridge. So sorry and I send love and hugs to you all. Love Carol

KB said...

Creativity seems like a great outlet for grief. For some reason, I've been avoiding picking out which of K's photos to have enlarged and framed. I think that, with your suggestion, I'll do it today. I really want to spread them all over the house.

I am so sorry that you are going through this loss and I hope that Toby, Tammy, and the "pigs" help you through it.

My Dog Sam - Ruptured Disk said...

Hi Maxmom, we're glad that you've found an effective way to channel your grief. It never gets easier, we will always miss our departed "kids". The little piggies and the rest of the household seem to be dealing with events well. Thinking of you.

George The Lad said...

Sorry I have not visited you in a while, and taken back by the sad news of Toffee going to the bridge.
Its a lovely book you have made in remembrance, run free dear Toffee.
Love and Hugs to you and your family.
Twix is so cute, I always had GP's as I was growing up, love the way they talk.
Jan x

Millie and Walter said...

What a lovely remembrance book for the King. Glad to hear your little Twix is doing well. I love the way her hair seems to go every which way (especially the swirls on her bum). Take care.


Molly the Airedale said...

Your little handmade books are just precious. We understand how creating something in memory of our beloved pets helps.
We're getting all teary-eyed seeing Toby in Toffee's too-small bed.

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

Bouncing Bertie said...

What a lovely idea to commemorate King Toffee with a special home made book. I'm sure Miss 'R' will treasure it.
Oh but those guinea pigs look cute. I suspect Miss 'R' would have a heart attack if she heard about some of the things I used to feed my guinea pig 'Arthur' when I was a child. However did I discover that he had a fondness for uncooked cake mix anyway? In my defence, he did live to be eight years old, which might be a world record!
Cheers, Gail.

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

Thats a really lovely thing you made and I know your daughter will be so pleased.. I love the sweet guinea pigs and they so reminded of the one's the children had years ago.. Hugs GJ xx

Emily and Laura said...

I watched that Olympic race, and thought of you when Cameron van der Burgh won the gold -- I knew you'd be proud, as well you should be!

And the memory book is lovely and sweet. I know Miss R will appreciate it.

Last but definitely not least, it's nice to see little Twix doing so well. Clearly, guinea pigs in your household have a fabulous, varied died and tons of love and cuddles -- what could be better for a sweet little creature like that?

The Life of Riley said...

I am sure "Miss R" will treasure the little book of photos of King Toffee" as Toffee was her first dog, and the scrapbook of him was made with love by you.

sprinkles said...

I saw your book on fb and had to come over. I kind of made a memory book of my dad after he passed. I don't have many pictures of him, so it's mostly filled with newspaper articles, his obituary, etc.

How very thoughtful of you to create this for your daughter. I'm sure she'll treasure it always.

I lit a candle for King Toffee. I was thinking earlier that I should light another one for him. Just because...

Twix is cute! Looking forward to seeing more of him on your blog.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi Maxmom
I am so happy that your heart remembered, and reminded you that you would feel better------------- if you became creative and create a memory book for King Toffee.
I love the idea, and the book looks just beautiful.
I know it must have felt healing for you as you chose each special photo.,,
and Miss R will just love it also- I am sure.
I hold you in my heart- as you continue to heal, and as you go through all the ups and downs.
The piggy play ground looks like a lot of fun, and when little Twix
gets bigger, I know he will love it too.
Toby sleeping in that little bed... I think he feels like he is being hugged. And Aunt Tammy- well she like stretching to the limit.
I am hugging all of you.
nitey nite

Scout and Freyja said...

You reminding us that Miss R was just a child when the Little King came into your home reminded me of my Tony - my ♥ dog. Jeff was about 11 when Tony came to live with us and 23 when he passed away. Jeff could hardly remember a time when that big German Shepherd Dog wasn't in our home. Tony was the dog of his youth. When he died it felt like our very hearts were torn in half. We still speak of him as though there will never be another dog to walk this earth with all of his remarkable qualities. I know your pain, Caryl, and it is immense.

On a happier note, when I saw little Twix's behind with the two 'cow licks' I had to smile. One of Dave's piggies had the very same 'hair-do'. It was precious. Those little critters have so much personality. People don't realize how sweet they are and how clever they can be until they've lived with one. You are so fortunate to have that little cutie pie to cuddle.

Wishing I could mend your sad heart...

Dexter said...

The scrapbook is lovely. I am sure it will be read often and bring back so many happy memories.

Mango Momma

Mary Lou said...

You are welcome for the message of condolence. We will miss King Toffee.... :-(
Congrats to South Africa for the Gold medal!! Hooray!! It certainly was cute the way he lie down on their pool's divider!! ;op
Love, Raelyn.... And Rose, my BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE "Mystery Dog"!!

Mrs. JP said...

Your scrapbook is a lovely idea I'm sure Miss R and all the family will enjoy it. Creating something is so therapeutic.
Blessings from all of us in the holler.

Beth said...

What a great scrapbook!
Enjoy the Olympics - we are. I am impressed by the young SA swimmers as well as Oscar Pistoriak (? spelling) - hope he does well.
Hugs, Beth

Angel Junior, Orion and Sammy said...

Oh goodness. We are so sorry to read of the loss of Toffee. Sending lots of purrs and hugs your way.