Learning How to Surf

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.” ~ Jacques Prévert

Happiness forgot us for a bit. With the loss of Bella, the house feels quiet and empty to us, and to Bella’s “brother” Jackson. From the moment they met, they had been best playmates and friends.


Only a year separated them – and we hoped nothing else ever would. But sometimes, the universe has other plans.

You can’t will grief away; it takes its own time. But wallowing in it never banished it faster. So, while we mourn our loss, we have to put Jackson’s needs first. And today, he needed some happiness.


We took him on one of his favorite adventures – an early morning hike and swim in the river.


And along the way, we met and made a new friend; her name is Riba.


A few years younger than Jackson –


a powerful ocean-trained swimmer,


and a mighty shaker,


she could probably show him up if she wanted, but they were well matched in personality and play.


When the heart is heavy, create good times and new memories, and eventually, happiness will find you again.


“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn


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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

22 thoughts on “Learning How to Surf”

  1. I have to wonder: Did you take Jackson on one of his favorite adventures, or did he take you? I suspect that he will do as much to lift your spirits in the days, weeks, and month to come as you will for his. I also wonder if . . . perhaps. . . Bella sent Riba as a special gift for her little brother. I like to think she did.

    1. Perhaps she did, indeed. Jackson has never met a dog he didn’t like, but rarely does he play as he did with Riba – and used to with Bella. You know what they say “watch for the signs; she is with you.” I like to think that she was with us today. Thank you.

  2. Sweet Bella was definitely there with you all today. With you and for you. She knew you – and Jackson – needed her and so she sent Riba to help lift your spirits. She will find ways in the days to come to let you know she is there with you, even if you can’t see her.

  3. What a beautiful healing morning!!
    It is great to see Jackson romping, and swimming, and playing with a new friend.

  4. Sweet Bella’s energy is present, she is helping you, Chris and Jackson to heal.This morning Bella’s energy was present in sweet Riba. She’s still with you in so many ways. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images and words, she is
    so loved and missed!

  5. A wonderful story, wonderful photos and just as wonderful comments from your thoughtful readers. Of course, as usual, made me tear up! 🙂 ❤

  6. Hooray for the light scattering through your days; may it keep traveling with you. This day, it took the form of Riba, and the delight shines right off the page in these lovely photos. Gentle peace.

  7. May the happiness return on a regular basis as soon as possible. So glad you had a lovely glimmer of it with Riba and Jackson.

  8. Wonderful story as always. So happy you all had a wonderful day. Bella definitely was with all of you and I believe did send Riba for her brother.

  9. Our hearts are always so torn when we lose those special gifts like Bella — but a day like this goes a long ways to mending it. As always, your sharing your feelings and photography touches my heart, thank you.

  10. Dear friend, my heart goes out to you – I’m so very sorry for your loss of your sweet Bella. I love the wonderful photos of wet pups, reminds me so much of our Lucy, such a playful waterdog herself. Take care of your heart! Hugs!!

    1. It would be good on a t-shirt! Riba is a friend we made on the trail. We hope to meet up with her for more adventures. Someday in the not too distant future, Jackson will find a new companion to share every day adventures with. We’re just not quite there yet.

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