These three girls are sisters. I love the way that each one of them looks like their own person yet there is something in each one's face that makes them all resemble each other...that family resemblance. And their hair colors are all a combination of each other's colors too...a little bit blonde, a little bit red, and somewhere in between. They are there for each other, through thick and thin. That is what sisters do for each other. And it's a wonderful thing.
A few days before Valentine's Day, the day that is associated with lovers, my friend Tracy lost the love of her life. Tracy is the sister on the far right. She celebrated Valentine's Day without her love of 34 wonderful years. Jeff was the love of her life and it was evident each time I spoke to her or him how much they loved each other. The day this picture was taken in Gig Harbor, Washington, I had driven up for Jeff's memorial service which was held at their wonderful home. Jeff and Tracy had just moved to this home a few short years earlier. They hadn't gotten to fully develop their life-plan I'm sure and things were still in the works. But they had moved in their new home from southern California to be closer to their children and to fulfill a dream that they had for many years. They wanted a small farm and wanted to breed their poodles, raise sheep and chickens, and decorate their home.
I had never seen their old home in southern California except for photographs but when I stepped inside this home in Gig Harbor I felt the love immediately that Jeff and Tracy displayed to everyone that entered. It was warm and inviting and filled with Blue Willow china, from plates to ginger jars to soup tureens to anything Blue Willow. Jeff and Tracy had a huge collection and she told me that she actually doesn't remember where or when it started but it has been a passion of theirs for their entire marriage. And Jeff was an interior designer who had been featured in quite a few magazines throughout their marriage. He loved pink!!! Who doesn't??
I know that Tracy has a huge void in her life right now. Many family and friends are doing their best to help fill that void but really, when you lose someone who is your soul mate, nothing can ever really fill the hole that is created when they leave this earth. Tracy has a huge faith. And I know that she will draw upon her faith in times that will no doubt become difficult for her. But she will do her best because she is living her and Jeff's dream now. She is just living it alone.
She raises Standard Poodles that are beyond compare. We purchased our Bodhi from them when we lost our first Standard Poodle, Misty. We had waited almost a year to make sure the time was right for us to have a new dog in our lives. It is hard to replace a dog that has become a part of the family, like a child. But, we found Blue Willow Standard Poodles on line and researched them and realized from everything that we read that they loved their animals as much as their family. Their animals were part OF their family, raised in the house and loved by them and their children Abigail and Ezra. We knew we had to have one of their poodles and so the friendship began.
We drove almost 8 hours south and met in an obscure part of town that had a park and it was love at first sight...with Bodhi AND with Tracy and her daughter Abigail. You just know when you meet someone for the first time when there is a connection of "heart". Tracy was that for me. In fact, we were both wearing heart necklaces when we met face-to-face for the first time. And, that was the beginning of our friendship.
It's a friendship of a different sort really. We don't see each other except on Facebook. We talk on Facebook or via email and sometimes by phone. But when I opened up her front door the afternoon of the memorial and saw her standing there in front of me in her home filled with love, I knew I had made the right choice. The right choice in getting a dog from her and Jeff. The right choice in driving up to Gig Harbor to offer my humble support. The right choice in becoming her friend, in whatever capacity I can offer her. She will always be dear to my heart. I feel like we are kindred spirits and I know that Jeff is watching over her daily and guiding her to complete their dream. He left this earthly plane because something needed to be done. He left room here on earth for whatever needed to be completed by her. It might take her a few years to see the reason why but I know in my heart that she will find out the reason why and when she looks back, she will have fond memories of the people that were there to hold her hand, give her a hug, and support her along the way. She has a new path ahead of her. And I know that her path still holds her heart.