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Healing your body after the death of a beloved

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Living with an unbearable loss

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Moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss

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Everywhere Beauty Lives

Tilly, you are everywhere beauty lives. Walking our path, I touched you today in rays of sunshine between two maples. Every intricate strand of you lives inside my every breath ~ you were my everything, center of the universe, the golden thread that wove my world together … and I was all yours for seven whole years and two days ~ and now you are so much bigger …

Tilly walking across the grass with trees in the background and an orange ball in her mouth

This morning, I saw you soaring across your own heavenly sunrise glistening every grain of sand like stars and whole ocean sky where you soared so elegant and free ~ just like you. I feel you soaring my precious angel ~ and I am so thankful you are free. Thank you for helping me feel you so present, so right here ~ that you offer me strength and courage because you know on my strength alone, I would not remain here without you. This world is not my place, and you gave to me a place in this world where Love lives ~ where safe lives. With you, Tilly, I found home ~ connected and alive and safe and loved … getting to love you is the greatest gift of my life …

Aimee and Tilly laying on the grass. Tilly is on the left, on her back, holding an orange ball with a blue strip. Aimee is on the right with her blond hair pulled back wearing a red tank top

Now you are the red rose from Myra’s garden that only heaven could smell like ~ and the yellow one in a tight tight bud that spread each petal in but a few short hours like wings of angels in every direction, just like you. Now you are light through the stained glass lamp Grame got special for you because it reminded us both of your beautiful, beautiful spirit. Now you are Christ’s light and immaculate heart illumined by night and burning without end …

Tilly's altar with a photo of her and Aimee on the bottom shelf, a vase of flowers behind the photo with a red red, candles on either side of the photo and flowers

p.s. I got white sheer curtains with simple elegant flowing embroidered flowers to hang where your sheer purple ones once hung ~ how they framed you just perfectly in your favorite window bed I made just for you. How you loved to lay on your cozy bed and rest your head on the ledge ~ you, my watchful witness so tranquil and alert, taking it all in. Now, simple white elegance frames your window and centered on the ledge where your chin would rest is a special gardenia I pick fresh each day and place in a simple little round Mason jar surrounded by your red and yellow rose petals … by the way, I know it is you that lets me know which gardenia is calling for her turn to be picked …

Tilly's window with the white lace curtains pulled back. A Christmas cactus with pink blooms is on the table on the left and a brown couch is in front of the window.

I celebrate you in sunshine cross christening exquisite Autumn beauty ~ I feel you in the carved wise stone woman that graces your ashes and copper angel that spreads her wings in my palm and I feel the tender sure weight of grace touch me. I feel you inTilly standing in the sunlight on the grass the night when the ache is more than I know how to bear ~ the hollow excruciating ache of your physical no longer here beside me ~ the ache that I know will undoubtedly annihilate what is left of me without you, before I reach the next breath. I only have one prayer these days … “Tilly, please help me feel you” … and I am touched ~ held ~ even carried sometimes for hours as though in a light-filled silkened cloud where I am blanketed with peace and lulled quiet to sleep a little while ~ and how sometimes I wake and still feel you holding me in a cloud made of heaven glistening sun drenched after a hard rain ~ tender soft yet strong steady and sure at the same time  …just like you.

I see you in red tail hawk, how she swoops down each time I pass our special spot and we just hang out eye to eye and say all that really needs to be said. I hung your first bouquet of roses sage pansies and rosemary out by your favorite patio spot with the little Indian girl and her hawk friend. I go and lay on our ol’ spot on the Baptist lawn and watch into sky and know I see you and Kelsee soaring endless fields, swimming rivers of light.

…And sometimes I think about how no one saw underneath your grace ~ your other worldly resilient courageous grace. No one saw how clearly you defined God by what you endured ~ not only endured but found more life and joy and remained steadfast by my side for 2 years 5 months and 4 more days. God knew how much I needed you ~ that is why. And every day each moment of breath I never lost touch of what a pure Gift of God that you survived and got to live by my side for more time.

Black and white photo of Tilly's paws. Aimee's hand is holding the right paw.

No one saw how you were running by my left side on our favorite sunrise trail run by the river and how that pit bull and boxer attacked you before we even saw it coming. The pit bull instantly locking around your throat and violently shaking to kill. Shook you like a rag doll on and on and on while I beat and kicked and fought the fight of my life to pry its lethal jaws open … to no avail. Shook until you were in so much shock you appeared limp, lifeless, dead … the pit bull finally released.

… Yes, only by God’s almighty power and our whole tribe of Angels did you survive.

I got you to Loomis Basin and nursed you back to the very best health I could. No one saw the warm Thieves compresses every hour around the clock ~ no one saw the injections and daily pills needed to replace your adrenals destroyed from the extent of trauma and shock ~ no one saw the broken vertebra ~ no one saw the traumatic injury to your brain ~ no one saw the three times a day medicating horrific cluster seizures that eventually got so bad and uncontrollable it came time to help you go home to heaven.

Tilly sleeping laying on a blanket and partly covered by the blanket.

… No one saw underneath your exquisite grace that held the pain and failing body ~ no one saw the sheer miraculous nature of you that I got to witness each precious moment of every single day …

Aimee is sitting on a rock wearing blue pants and a red tank top with Tilly's leash draped over her left arm and her left hand on Tilly's back. Aimee is looking at the camera. Tilly is facing Aimee and has her head buried in Aimee's neck.

You, Tilly

You, my greatest teacher

You, my most precious Angel

You define Love, resilience and God’s infinite grace

Thank you

I love you

I miss you

For now, you are everywhere beauty lives.

Tilly running at the beach through the water. Her tail and the bottom part of her back legs are cut off on the right side and the water is spraying on her.

12 Responses to “Everywhere Beauty Lives”

  1. Stephanie Elsea

    This is so beautiful and so sad—I am truly sorry your Tilly was taken from you too soon by aggressive dogs. I lost my beautiful boy and best friend of 14 years last month. Based on your writing, I believe my relationship with Uli was much like yours with Tilly. I miss him every day and I will use your words to comfort myself: Uli is everywhere beauty lives, especially my heart.

    Sending you love and light.
    Stephanie

      • Billie Snow

        My dear Aimee, Your eloquent style of writing transcends me. It brings me back to all my losses- humans & animals to collect the magnificent contributions each have made to my life. The grizzly experience you and Tilly had on the sunrise trail was way too traumatizing. For both of you to recover and still have some time together was a miracle. Thank you so much for sharing about Tilly. Your depth of expression has totally touched me! Both of you are blessed.

  2. Molly Fowkes

    Aimee, thank you so much for sharing. Your words are similar to those I use when talking about Jimmy’s and my first dog, Bronco. No one can ever replace them, and they are so much more than just pets. Sending you love and hugs from afar.

    • Aimee Harper

      Thank you, Molly. With gratitude for the immense light our ‘Tillys’ and ‘Broncos’ bring into our life. I am so thankful to learn about your Mom’s ‘Salt Water’ creation. What an inspiring courageous beautiful tribute to Jimmy …and generous offering to all of our healing.

  3. Angie Kelly

    Aimee,
    What a beautiful tribute to your beloved Tilly! I call my dogs angels also. There is nothing else like the unconditional love and joy between a dog and their person. I wish you healing, and hope that you can allow yourself to find another dog to love. There are so many that need what you have to offer.

  4. Jerry Kelly

    Such powerful writing. So hard to lose a family member, which is what dogs are. It’s hard to remember what a great life of love you gave them when they’re gone. Hopefully there’s another dog out there that can start a new chapter with you.

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