Miss Beautiful Wonderful

comments: 266

Ah, friends, here we are. We're still here. All is well.

It's a gorgeous morning. Green things are dappled golden and fall is in the yard (I was talking with my friend Sarah the other night and mentioned that fall was close and she said, "Don't you dare use that four-letter F-word!" which made me laugh). But fall is in the yard, and I am glad. I am ready for this difficult summer to be over, ready to even be someone different, myself. There's a stripey cat sitting in the living room, looking at me, and she is different. There's a little calico cat creeping along the top of my new sofa, which arrived yesterday, and she is different. She keeps meowing at me. She's prodding the sofa with her tiny paw — What is this now? — and we're all doing that here, gently poking at our territory. What is this, quiet house, quiet yard, the quiet dog bed I can't bear to put away?

Thank you again for all of your kindnesses, so many tender little gestures, stitching up our broken hearts with the softest, nicest threads and tender little blanket stitches so things won't leak out or fray. I'm so overwhelmed. We read every word of the comments and emails, together, and received all the voicemails and hugs and cookies and flowers and plums and dumplings, and picked up our mail at the P.O. box yesterday, and, over and over again, we were moved to tears by just how kind people are, the ones we know and the ones we don't, and how similarly we all feel about the little animals that we are privileged to take care of for a while. It was a privilege to share Audrey here, the most liberating and embarrassing kind of indulgence that you really can't help expressing, like gushing about a crush to anyone who will listen. For I was infatuated with that dog. I loved her from the day we met her. And even now, six years later, I would only have to look at her to feel that flutter, to throw myself on the floor in a swoon and kiss her soft, soft forehead, and ask her if she loved me, too. But it was just a game I played. I knew about her. That dog loved everything, and with such sincerity. Her enthusiasm, her beauty, her sweetness, her generosity — whenever someone would come over, she would, within ten minutes (after what mauling as could be accomplished via four-inch-long legs), be lying contentedly under their chair, no questions asked. She didn't wonder if you were a dog person, she didn't wonder if you liked her, she didn't care about the stupid crap you'd said or done. Welcome to the family, she said. You belong here. I'll take care of you. I think that dog brought out the best in Andy and in me. She taught us how we want to be, though we still have so far to go.

I think it takes a while for it all to sink in. You sort of just don't believe it, at first. It feels impossible, like you can't get it all straight. We were so lucky to have several days, Andy and I, where we did nothing but talk, and walk, and think about what had just happened. We said a million words. It had to have been a million. I cried openly in public places and didn't care. But they were sacred places that I'm sure have seen many a tear, the Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Rose Garden, Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo, the Be Good Tanyas concert, the Clackamas County Fair. The pioneer village at the Clackamas County Fair. The rodeo. The 4-H cake decorating contest. The dairy barn as I stroked the soft, soft black muzzle of an eight-month-old little black cow. All those places welcomed us this week, for we did not want to be home. And everywhere we went, people were so kind. We thought about how you should always tread softly, in every encounter, because you do not know what people are going through that day. They probably aren't crying in public with their shirt buttoned incorrectly, as I am, but I never have been able to make a secret of my sadnesses. So I am grateful for every kindness we encountered, because we felt quite wounded then.

But mostly I am grateful that we were able to have that strange, unreal empty time that was filled with only the two of us again, really, though we never felt alone. Now it is back to work, a new routine, a new season and new things to be. She did not like it when we were sad, would go hide somewhere until we'd cut it out and get it together. So we're doing that now, Auds. We're doing that. It's okay. Good girl.

Oh, good dog.


Aww cripes- I have tears in my eyes. Here is you and the 'new' whatever it may bring. I do hope it brings lots of smiles and not so many tears. I am glad you are back.

What a lovely post...you just made me cry :) I am like you too, and unable to hide my sadness. I hope that you will find the kind of happiness Audrey brought you once again :)

Precious words, Alicia. Crying in public with your shirt buttoned wrong...that's one of the reasons I love you so much :) xox.

Oh sweetie - it's perfectly ok to cry in public - especially with all that you and Andy have gone thru. I hope I deal with the loss of my beloved Sir Buster Bone-a-part Taylor, the fishhead eating chocolate lab (can u tell I love him???) the same way when the time comes. He doesn't understand why I've been coming home every day, getting on the floor and hugging him to death!!

Your words will heal you, ALicia - they already have.

Here's to a new day - and a new couch!

My thoughts are still with you; your Audrey was adorable.

As someone who has had waiters ask if I'm okay as I sobbed through expensive dinners, I applaud your willingness to just feel what you feel wherever you are. I've thought of Miss A. often this week, and went back and read and read every post listed under "Pets." You made us love her and all of our own critters a little more, and we're still holding all of you in the light.

The best thing to do is just write about it...and you are! I happen to love Fall...it is a time of new beginnings and their is so much restlessness by the kids to start school, football games, leaves changing and sweaters coming out. Life's biggest lesson is that it will constantly change...embrace what you can now and know it will change-- usually there's something good coming! Big hugs again from Lancaster, Pa!!!!!!

Bobbie Duran says: August 22, 2007 at 09:37 AM

Glad to see your back, but I know you would in your own time because how do we start after something we do not expect so soon, but we know that one day we would have to go thought some day. You said it best on your Blog (August 18th), it is the love that gets you through the tuff things in life. I remembered when I lost my Mom in 1999 and it was a total shock, blow what ever your want to all it. She was here one day and gone the next. You do not know how you got though it, but you do, because of Love. Alicia, even though you were going though your difficult time I know that you also helped someone understand how they get thought it. It is LOVE! Thank you

Tears in my eyes too. I have thought of you all week and kept you in my heart and prayers. When I got my copy of "Adorn" and saw Miss Audrey's photo, it broke my heart. She's on my bulletin board in my crafting spot now.

What a sweet dog and loving companion. And that face. That face!

I imagine its hard to understand the love we have for our animals if you haven't had one yourself. Pets just love you so generously, so unconditionally and they just look at you in complete faith that you will always take care of them -- We give our hearts and souls to these pets! My favorite post about Audrey was the one with her head on the window sill looking out the window and the song. What a face! Take heart - You are still being cared for in thoughts and prayers right now.

I've been reading your blog for quite some time. I am always inspired by your words and your creations. I am now inspired by your spirit and wonderful kindness of you yourself. Through this pain you are still unselfish enough to thank others and recognize them for their kindness. Thank you for that...we need this in our world.

Cindy Riebe says: August 22, 2007 at 09:56 AM

Dang it, girl, you made me cry again. Personally, I think crying in public is a badge of honor. Anyone brave enough to show what she feels deserves all the hugs, cookies, flowers, plums and dumplings in the world.

You, Andy and the "girls" have been in my thoughts and prayers every day. Not wanting to intrude. Knowing we all heal in our own ways, in our own time. And you have what seems like the entire world cradling you in their caring hearts as you go through this. The blessing you have been to all of us is being returned to you....

Yes, exactly. Thank you again. For writing just the perfect words. The words that have collected inside me about Carter (my beloved cat who passed away last week) -- words I've been too choked up, then muddled, then strained with the business of moving on to say. Thank you for the catalyst to set those feelings free (even if I am now crying at work).

It is the best tribute, isn't it? To move on with the joy in your house and the love in your heart.

Ah, and so the slow, deliberate, painful healing process begins. There is no rush...no schedule... no deadline for your grief. Take it as it comes. Some days will be harder than others. Cry when you need to. Laugh when you need to. Have a big serving of __________ (insert your favorite guilty pleasure.) Give yourself permission to feel what you feel without apology, regret or embarrassment. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself all of the time that you need. The world won't stop turning because you take a little time for Y-O-U.

What you had with Audrey was very special and, though I don't know you "in real life", I could tell through your words and photos how special your girl was to you. I am heartbroken for you and hope that you will use the wonderful memories that you have of her as your greatest comfort during this difficult time.

Lastly, thank you for teaching us so much about life through your blog. here, I have learned so much more than homemaking,crafting and vintage-loving-everything advice. I am so grateful for what you do and for all of the inspiration that you share.

Take care of yourself.


So thankful you're back and writing for us, even though you have me crying again. Thank God for your wonderful photographs, Alicia. I went back through the "pets" category and looked at all those photos of Audrey. She still lives in our hearts through those photos.

You've got me crying at work again! You completely articulated what Mike and I feel for our 14 month old black labs, Zeke and Zoe. As I read your post, I glanced over at my princess sleeping on the tapestry couch, with her 70 pounds all curled up like she is the smallest of cats. I know the day will come where I have to share in the misery you are going through, but your beautiful words make me enjoy what I have now even more. You nailed it on the head with the descriptions af the unconditional love these wonderful creatures give to almost everyone they come into contact with. And it makes me wonder - what did we ever do to deserve such wonderful love?

Oh, Alicia - yes, you made me cry again. But I'm not complaining. The love in your hearts for Audrey is so palpable - and it makes me wish I could have known her, too. I wish I could have petted her and given her some love just as you always did. I could never have known how reading about the passing of someone else's beloved pet - someone I don't even know - could have affected me emotionally as deeply as I felt your pain. I cried as I told my husband and my sisters about it. And my husband, for the first time, actually went and read some of your blog on his own. And, no, thank goodness, they didn't even think I was silly.

Your posts here have been beautifully written, your words expressing the change in your lives so sweetly. I know from experience that the hurt does heal, the memories live on inside to be thought about daily and shared with others. I heard my precious Hogan's collar jingling in the house for a long time and it brought me such sweet comfort.
Thank you for sharing your precious Audrey with us, I loved that sweet face the minute I first visited your blog.
Hugs - Karen

Well, my gracious lovely gifted friend, I just cried all over again. Your words are such a blessing to us all and such a poignant reminder of the good in ALL parts of life.

A lifted glass to the new and to never closing our hearts to the old.

Much love to you both,

Here I am crying again... But at the same time I'm happy that you are back! Lots of love... Missing Audrey so much!

I'm glad that you are okay. I've been checking back every day (several times a day) to see if you were back. Not that I would blame you if you stayed away, but I just wanted to know that you were alright. That you were breathing. That you can survive something like that, because I worry that when my Abbie's time comes, I might not make it.

Bless you both and your happy little home. May it be flooded with happiness once again.

Thank you for sharing your life and your Audrey with us.

Such a beautful post. Such sadness. Time for a new beginning good time for fall.......

I've been checking in every day to see if you've posted and I'm so glad you have--just wanted to know if you're ok. And you are. I had tears in my eyes while reading your entry today. When my cat died(he was only about 6 also), I nearly dropped out of school. It was so hard for me to go on. The only way I got through it was to do things in his honor and with the strength that he had. But there were many moments of holding back tears while in class.
Anyway, I'm glad you're here, Alicia, and looking forward to Fall.

dang, you're making me cry at work now! which is okay :) thank you for expressing and sharing a deep, deep love and best wishes for the next phase of life.

maybe for the two of you now, the stars will all whimper softly and lick your face :) (I hope you've read The Little Prince, but if not, you may want to wait a bit, unless you want another deluge of tears - however you definitely should read it if you haven't)

No words. xxx

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com