Published author, leadership and organizational development mentor, inspirational speaker, advocate for cold noses as healers Architecting a social movement of unconditional listening one voice, one story at a time
In special thank you to Alana for the honor of writing her story for this week’s blog.
When I needed a hand, I found your paw – Unknown
She has her own biography – two, actually. One is about her mightier than a strike of lightening and volume two about her continued heroine capability. Unfortunately, you won’t find mass publication of her stories if you were anxious to know the titles of each. Libby Power I and Libby Power II are originals only. The originals safely tucked in safe-keep. The stories a sacred tribute to a sister in a fur coat. A sister in familyhood, a sister of the soul.
Her formal name is Liberty, for her birthdate near the Fourth of July. She was known as Libby all her life. I knew my sister as another name, too. Libby was also Life is Better Because (of) You. People talk about the power of setting intentions to realize your dreams. That if you put your focus on what you most desire, you bring your wishes into reality. Perhaps not from birth, nor before I could walk with my own two feet. But most certainly for most of my first eight years of life my desire was Libby. Well, maybe not Libby specifically. But a dog to grow up with my unending plea.
If during shopping my parents spoiled me with a toy, a stuffed dog was my choice. My favorite movie was 101 Dalmatians – oh, the thought of having 101 dogs surrounding me! When my Linus blanket (think Charlie Brown) was worn and needed re-backing, fabric with a dog pattern was the only option I could see. The pictures I drew were of a dog named Sunshine. Though Libby’s name different, she would bring immense warmth and brightness into my life.
One day when at the pool with my mother, a neighbor walked by, a most beautiful Golden Retriever walking along side. Neither my mom nor I knew in that moment we were about to start on a life-changing journey. I eagerly pointing out what breed of dog I wanted as my mom at long last said okay to a dog joining our family. My dad my co-pilot in searching and in driving me. Many a place we visited searching for my sister’s face. And then, there was Libby, and only girl, boldly holding her own among her many brothers trying to pick on their little sister as the odd sibling. Because I knew what it was to not fit in, I knew Libby was meant to be family.
It’s not that I was picked on by brothers – growing up with my brother meant getting older beside a best friend. He loved Libby, too, my co-conspirator in dressing Libby up in pink and teaching her to balance an object on her head. My dear Libby more poised than me in how she could walk gracefully. No, my not fitting in was not from brothers like it was for my Libby. It was being different than my friends in my ability to read. During an age in life when wisdom has not yet knocked and confusion reigns, Libby was the unconditional love and joy starting and ending each of my days.
Her fur caught my tears of sadness, her wagging tail matched the times I was joyfully at play. My confidante who did not judge as she listened to my heart. And that we could understand each other without words was the best part. There is a quote by John Lennon that reads life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans. My version of this is we share life with a best friend not realizing just how precious the friend is who is holding our hand. Perhaps that is part of life’s flow that hindsight is the door opening that lets gratitude and wisdom walk in. I guess Libby’s responsibility was to ensure I did not feel alone, and mine was to “just” be a kid.
On the day I received my driver’s license, Libby’s soul knew it was time for me to spread my wings. She, always wise, knew me better than I knew me. I had transitioned from childhood to teen-hood, now sixteen. Libby was preparing for her own transitioning. Her trouble walking became a diagnosis not of hip dysplasia but of that C word that grips one tight. On the day I received my driver’s license, I also had to say goodbye. Growing up from eight to sixteen, I had stumbled, tripped and fell many a time, figuratively. Many a time Libby had been there as my backbone to help me back to my feet. Now I was being asked to give back to her the same love. I was needing to let her go to her responsibility as my guardian angel above.
The stuffed toy dogs that had been my companions before Libby came out of the closet that night. Though they weren’t the warm fur of my soul-sister, they graciously caught my tears I cried. It is said that a loved one will visit us in a dream to let us know they are okay. I am so thankful each time Libby visits for us to talk, dress-up, and play.
My heart still feels the void of my fur sister not physically by my side. I anticipate I will feel the absence the rest of my life. During a most confusing time of my life, I had someone to help things make sense. I had someone that taught me how to move through life with elegance. Libby was truly the sunshine that entered my life as an eight-year old about to start walking some dark pathways. Powerful Libby, such a powerful heroine in every way.
I, the author of Libby Power I and Libby Power II, sometimes day dreams about writing volume three. Oh, what adventures I could create for both Libby and me! I pause, thinking about some experiences I’ve had since it became time for Libby to leave. Libby, though not directly, you’ve been a part of my journey.
Like living in the Caribbean and meeting the love of my life. Libby, you always assured me that someday I would become a wife. You would love Byron and think he was perfect for me. You would be right – oh, Libby, I am so happy. I’ve told Bryon so much about you, and I’ve told Coconut, too. Coconut is our child in a fur-coat. She is another very special soul. Of course, you may already know that as you watch from where you reside. Oh, and thank you Libby for any influence you had on Byron to bring Coconut into our lives.
Coconut had a tough life before Byron and I brought her home. Exactly the fears she faced we can’t begin to know. Yet, Libby, because of all that you taught me, I loved her through her trembles and shakes. I’ve held her close and assured her everything would be okay. If you have had any influence over her, I thank you. For she is a good catcher of tears, just as you knew how to do. My tears not as frequent, and I think actually, Libby, I’ve caught more of Coconut’s than she has had to catch of mine. Byron and I are focused on giving Coconut grand adventures in life. Some moments she still gets afraid but her trust far greater than her scars of fear. You know Libby, much like the guidance you gave me to grow in trust as we moved together through the years.
You know Libby, the day we went to pick her up from her foster home, she had just escaped. She was trying to run back to the streets she knew where she felt most safe. I was walking in the direction towards her and she was quickly running towards me. In that moment I knew Coconut was meant to be part of our family. In that moment I was eight years old again, meeting you as you were reminding your brothers you were not wimpy. I think that your strength is part of what spoke to me. I didn’t begin to know then you would teach me how to be a beautiful blend of confidence and elegancy. You were gentle yet strong, a quiet listener and a confident speaker through your heart – a heart more precious than the gold symbolically you. You taught me integrate the same into my dance through life – my life made better dear Libby, because of you.