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Updated: May 21

Watercolor portrait of Adrienne and her dog in Stratford, Ontario, capturing a moment of companionship ideal for pet memorials and cremation services.

A lone starling is on the back porch struggling in this storm. The blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves and chickadees carry on with their business around the birdfeeder, seemingly unphased by the blizzard, but allow the starling space in the bowl undisturbed. If he let me, I could take him somewhere warm where he could rest until the storm passes.

And on this day one year ago, we bid our sweet Lucy a final farewell. She has been missed every day since. I recall the details of the day from beginning to end, and all the feelings too. Embracing the notion that grief is love with nowhere to go helped me endure, and the raw and bitter agony eventually gave way to a tender ache, and gratitude that she was family. It took time and wasn't at all linear.

We know that storms pass, and we make it through however weathered and worn we may find ourselves. And looking back one year after losing Lucy, we survived gutting heartache and loss knowing that we are better for having loved her.

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