This Mother’s Day is a bittersweet one for sure.

It is the first Mother’s Day since I adopted my beloved little fur baby Zoey Makana, and it is also the first since the untimely death of my beloved Godmother, my Aunt Mary.

Perhaps in an attempt to keep things normal, and definitely in an attempt to fully life because one never knows when the last of anything will be, we had my grandparents over like we normally do. My sister cooked, which left me on cleanup duty, which is not my preference, but which I will do.

My Uncle gave me a Mother’s Day card from my Zoey Makana girl, which was funny and sweet, and which I loved, but yesterday, when I was picking out cards, I didn’t have to buy one for Aunt Mary. Grandmother and Godmother are usually quite close, and though I loved receiving a Mother’s Day card as a (dog) Mama, the absence of the Godmother’s card and the Godmother’s phone call weighed heavily on my heart and mind. As soon as the grandparents left, I kept thinking, ‘It’s time to call Aunt Mary.’ I don’t quite know when that feeling will go away, as I know that my mom keeps wanting to call my Great Grandmother, even now, 22 years after her death.

Zoey had a great day; she got to eat breakfast, got treats of bread (one of her absolute favorite treats; poor girl, adopted by a celiac), Whimzees bones, dental bones, chicken training treats, peanut butter, and organic turkey, as well as her normal dinner. Plus, she had extra humans to love and to be loved by (and to bark at whenever they went to the bathroom).

My grandmother loves how calm Zoey is, and how, even though we have 5 animals in the house, they all get along, and how, for the most part, the animals are the calmest members of the house. My mom had a dog when she was in college, but my grandmother is *not* an animal person by any stretch of the imagination, but when she’s at our house, she’ll pet whichever animal happens to be closest. I am so glad that we have some of the best (rescue) animals known to woman-kind living in our house! Zoey is only ever anything that might be mistaken for aggressive in the pursuit of more love, and sometimes treats, or protection of her Mama against a perceived threat, and our cats will sit happily for as long as you’ll rub them.

I think, in the presence of an unimaginable loss, the best thing that you can do is continue to live. At least, I used to. Now, I think that the best thing that you can do is continue to love, to not let yourself close your heart off and to become cold or bitter. Part of me wonders if, when I told my Godmother that I’d adopted this fantastic dog, she felt like she could let go and that I’d be okay. Part of me, of course, wonders if Zo could ever be my salvation from anything, except, of course, she already has been my salvation in my turbulent life with lupus and all of the other things that life has thrown at me these past two years.

I don’t know how to be okay without my Godmother, but I know that I have to be; that if I can’t be okay and if I can’t continue to love and to be happy and to find beauty in this world, that she will have taught me nothing, which is unacceptable. But I don’t mind telling you that Mother’s Day without her was so damn difficult. So if you’ve suffered on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day like I have, my heart is with you. It’s not easy to build a life for yourself without the people that you care deeply about, or without people from whom you are estranged.

I hope that you, and I, find peace.