Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Letter To My Mom

When deciding what to get my mom for Mother's Day I came across a book called A Letter To My Mom. I saw the author on the Dr. Phil show and the book seemed exactly like a book my mom would love so I ordered her the book and decided to write her a letter myself. The basis of the book is people who have written letters to their mother's who are both alive and deceased, it is a tear jerker. The letter I wrote my mom is very personal, there are things in it I don't share with most people, I am showing my letter because I am proud of my struggle and the person I have become and I am thankful that I had my mom by my side through it all. Grab your tissues as there were lots of tears all around, as I wrote it, as she read it, and while watching her read it. Take a chance to say thank you to your mother for all that she has done whether you write it or say it, you never know when it could be your last chance. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.

Dear Mom,
    I want to thank you for the wonderful life you have given me. Growing up without Pete ever being around, I never felt like I was missing out on anything, thank you for being both mom and dad. I want you to know how proud I am of you for retiring this year after your twenty plus years of teaching. Throughout those years, you battled brain tumors, breast cancer and a hellish divorce; you are the strongest woman I know. I hope I can be even half the woman and mom you are someday. Thank you for moving on as best as you could after the divorce. I want to thank you for teaching me how to be a strong and independent woman and for pushing me to pursue my education.  Thank you for teaching me how important it is to be able to stand alone before standing with someone else. Thank you for paying for my college tuition so I don’t have any college loans hanging over my head. Thank you for not giving up on me that day when I told you that I didn’t want to live anymore.  Thank you for sacrificing your happiness for the sake of Jennifer and me ever since we were little. Thank you for saving me from countless unhappy and dangerous situations even when I fought you on them, I have learned that at times I may not see it but you truly do know what is best for me. Thank you for stopping Josh from continuing to abuse me when you found out what was going on; I truly don’t know if I ever would have been strong enough to get out of that relationship on my own. Thank you for all the times you grounded me or punished me when I was out of line so that I have become a well-rounded person with boundaries. Thank you for setting boundaries but letting me have enough freedom to be young and enjoy my life. Thank you for always helping me when I am in a bind. Thank you for dealing with my picky eating and always making me a second meal different than what you guys ate. Thank you for dealing with my quirks and nuisances.  Thank you for always being on my side and showing me right from wrong. Thank you for tucking me in every night and checking on me the silly amount of times I would ask you to.  Thank you for your countless words of wisdom, smartass remarks, snarky comebacks and wise advice on life, love and the pursuit of happiness you have given over the years. More than that thank you for continuing to give them regardless of if I listen or not.  Thank you for all the small and large things you have done for me over the 28 years I have been alive that I may not have said thank you for or seemed grateful for, I am truly lucky to call you my mom.  Thank you for being a fighter and a survivor and showing me what true strength is both emotionally and physically. Thank you for being my best friend, my role model, and my mom. I love you so much.
                                                Your favorite child,


Monday, March 9, 2015

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I haven't blogged in awhile and I figured since I have recently started to take better care of myself physically by working out everyday and eating clean, it's time to do the same for my mind which for me has always been writing. Writing has always been cathartic for me so here I am, at it again to make you smile, laugh and maybe cry a little, God knows I do writing these. I treat my blogs like a diary, for me it's easier than writing in a diary, I have never been one to hide my feelings  or thoughts so why not allow everyone else to read it? Bare with me as this post may be all over the place, lots of thoughts on my mind tonight.

There have been many changes in my life recently and many more to come. Having an, at times, toxic 7 year relationship end, moving back home, losing a dog and now planning to move is overwhelming to say the least. Within the past two years I have lost and grieved (am still grieving) for JoEll, a shitty relationship (over it), and a dog who my ex failed and gave away. To say that I am not willing to lose anyone else in my life at this time is the biggest understatement of the year.

Opie and I

Thinking about moving away from my best friends and the people who know me the best scares the hell out of me. I cry when I think about it, I can't even talk about it. They have been the only constants in my life since I was little. I have my best friend since Kindergarten Stephanie and her husband Danylo, my best friend since 5th grade Mandy, my college friends, my co-workers (the few I do enjoy) these people are my core, they are the people who keep me standing on days that I don't feel like I can. What will I do without being able to go to Stephanie's house for a sleepover for girl talk, sad movies, drinks and to torture Danylo by overfeeding the cats when I need to get out of my own head? Or going to Mandy's parents house to see her family who are my family? I know they will always be in my life but they will be out of reach and that scares me. 
Steph and I in Kindergarten

Steph and I at her wedding 12/26/14
Mandy and I at her wedding August 2013

How do you pick yourself up and move on and trust that in a relationship you won't lose someone else when you have taken so many hits lately? I always do pick up and move on, so I know I will, I just don't know how to say here you go, here's my heart, please don't leave, don't screw me like the idiots before you. JoEll used to tell me, "you can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one." I think she always knew, like my mom, that I needed to move on, that my last relationship was not the relationship that I was going to end up being in the rest of my life. I guess I should've listened, I would've loved to see her smiling and laughing at my wedding. If you had told me two years ago this is where my life would be I would have told you that you were out of your mind.

I realize that this post seems sad or depressing but hey this is my diary so deal with it. Onto the positive things that I have done recently....

I have gotten to see my two best friends both get married. I have never seen either of them more happy then they are now. Stephanie and Danylo are so adorable they disgust me because I want what they have :-) 

I have gotten to go see my favorite comedian Trevor Noah perform live with my good friend Lin and my sister downtown at Up Comedy Club which was a blast! 
His South African Accent is <3

My sister, me, and Lin
I was lucky enough to get asked to interview for the job I have always wanted in Naples, FL, so I flew down for a quick trip and interviewed. I had one day to enjoy myself, I felt like a real World class traveler it was such a quick business trip. While I won't say what the job is because of jinxing it or for privacy reasons, I will say it's an amazing opportunity and one that I have always wanted. I was very fortunate that my favorite college professor wrote me a great letter of recommendation and it was probably the best interview I have ever had. 
On the plane 

Naples Pier

My grandparents pool at sunset

Also I have recently started a new workout/clean eating program called the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology. I have to honestly say it's amazing. It's the easiest program to do, the shakes keep your cravings for sugar at bay and the workouts are awesome. You workout everyday for 30 minutes, have a shake for one meal and have to eat all of your containers (which I have a HARD time doing, crazy right a diet that you are full on?). I have become stronger, leaner, more flexible, and have lost weight and am only on week 2. While it is only a "21 day fix" I don't see myself ever not eating like this again or stopping the workouts or working out everyday now that I am again. I am truly proud of myself to be able to say no to things like girl scout cookies (Samoa's are my Achilles heel), donuts, candy, and anything else that isn't a fruit for my sweet source. I am also drinking water ONLY. Never thought I would see that day as I was an avid pop drinker, boxes of it a week. Ask me for more information if you want to know about it! 
The 21df containers and shakeology shaker cup as well as workout DVDs

A little motivation ;-)

While I am not exactly thrilled about the changes ahead, I am cautiously optimistic. I know that my friends will always be my friends and there is always planes, trains and automobiles, and facetime, skype and texting there is nothing like being able to get in the car and drive to see them. I am thankful for both the good and bad things that have happend lately, they continue to make me stronger both physically and mentally. No one said life was going to be easy, but I know when I get to where I am going it'll be worth it. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why I Stayed

While nobody likes getting older, I can honestly say it is something that terrifies me. I have watched my mom go through a lot as a kid and I watched JoEll die in front of me last year. This year would be my 10 year high school reunion and there isn't a snowballs chance in hell you will find me there. See, I'm envious of my friends who liked high school, it was a traumatic and awful four years for me. I got into a relationship that wasn't healthy for me, that was mentally, emotionally and physically abusive. It didn't start out that way, of course it started out with the romance and the whole part of him sucking me in and then slowly he began breaking me down and making sure I knew that I was nothing and would never be loved if I left him. Soon the name calling started and then the physical part. While I don't have to discuss the details of it, I will say this, it changed me. And anyone who knew me before it happened and knows me now will tell you the same thing. I was pretty outgoing before it happened and then after I became much more introverted. 

People always ask why did you stay? Sometimes they ask with judgment, sometimes curiosity, sometimes with honest concern. I think for someone who has been in a domestic violence situation it is one of the most common yet difficult questions to answer because even though it made sense to that person at the time, it will never make sense to anyone who hasn't lived through it. People who are abusive thrive off of power and control, it's not just like breaking up with someone who is a bad boyfriend or girlfriend, this person has a hold over you that they have worked hard to maintain. They have broken you down to nothing and made you believe you are nothing without them. They have done this through name calling, intimidation, physical power, isolation from family and friends and they do this deliberately. Something I have never understood is why abusers abuse the people they claim to love when most of the time the abuser themselves were abused and know the pain, I would think they would want to save their loved one that pain, but it doesn't work that way. I stayed with my ex because I believed he didn't know better because he was abused, but that was a bullshit story I told myself because I didn't believe I deserved better. He knew better, he made the choice not to do better, and I allowed it. I think aside from the invisible scars left from the abuse the hardest part is forgiving yourself for allowing someone to violate you in such a profound way. My mom will tell you that I will go toe-to-toe with any and everyone who pushes me and I truly believe that is because I didn't protect myself from my ex so I feel the need to over protect myself now. I lost myself in a relationship and in a guy who ruined the core of who I was. I still don't know how to forgive myself for that. Yes it's been ten years since I've been out of that relationship, but it doesn't ever go away. Ask any survivor of domestic violence, it never goes away, you are triggered by certain things at any given moment. 

One of the hardest things that I've had to learn and am still learning is that even though he told me that I was damaged, I'm not damaged, sure I have cracks and breaks but everyone does. And how else will the light get through without cracks? There's a really good documentary out right now called "Private Violence" on HBO about Domestic Violence, it's worth watching. If nothing else, I hope next time you find out that someone you know has been abused and you ask them why they stayed, you ask them with compassion and genuine concern, don't judge them, because at that time, they didn't know better and when you know better you do better. And if you are going to get into a relationship with someone who has been through this or fall for them, you are really lucky because these people have been through hell, know how to survive, haven't given up on humanity and are still willing to give their hearts. Be patient with them, be strong, and be loving. 

I think I finally broke free of that relationship when I went away to college, because an order of protection and an arrest didn't even stop him. When I went to college and he couldn't find me, I finally felt safe again. In college I did a speech in my Women and Gender Studies class about what I went through and even though I cried the whole way through it, I know my Professor and my class was so proud of me for talking about it. I even did my Independent Research Study on implementing a Domestic Violence Notification System for repeat offenders, similar to what Megan's Law does for sex offenders. So yes, high school was an awful time in my life, and he ruined who I was, but he also showed me how flawed our justice system is and how sharing my story can help other people. If I can save even one girl from going through the hell I went through then I will know it was worth it. I hope to someday make domestic violence a felony, because if violence is going on in the home, where are you safe? I know it's a big goal, but I'm confident that it's something that can happen. I will never call myself a domestic violence victim, I will always call myself a domestic violence survivor. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Queen B

Lately I have become somewhat obsessed (in a healthy way) with Beyonce. I started to really like her when I watched her HBO special on her life a year ago, she came off really down to earth. Then I was shown her and Jay-Z' On The Run Tour on HBO and to say that I have watched it a few times would be an understatement. I should go to AA meetings for how many times I've watched it. It is my "Dirty Dancing" movie like Jess on New Girl. I have always loved Beyonce and Jay-Z as a couple because they are both incredibly talented and independent apart, but together....they are a powerhouse couple, and you know OF them but NEVER hear about their personal lives. Every girl should be dreaming of a Bey and Jay love story, minus him selling rocks and her sister beating the shit out of him in an elevator, but hey every family has their issues. And as she says, "Of course sometimes shit go down when its a billion dollars on an elevator."

 I digress, two songs of Bey's new self titled album Beyonce I think need to be talked about because they not only show the type of artist she is but they also highlight serious issues in society and for that I like her even more. The first song is called "Flawless" 

The song discusses how women are expected to be flawless at well, all times. And even features Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Chimamanda is known for her speech titled "We Should All be Feminists," and parts of that speech are featured in the song. You will see those below...
When I heard this song, no doubt this part was my favorite part. Everything Chimamanda says rings so true in our society. Girls are raised to believe that their most important job they will have in their life will be to be a wife and a mother. A woman is seen as different or odd if she chooses not to marry or have children, seen as if something is wrong with her. Women are held to different standards then men, if a woman sleeps around she is promiscuous but if a man does, he is celebrated with his friends. Men are taught to be successful but women are taught to be somewhat successful but look for that man who will be her husband and father of her children. UNLESS, you grew up with a badass mom like mine who told me never to depend on a man. Based on this description of a Feminist I would proudly call myself one, would you? This song made me like Beyonce even more because she is a mom and a wife, a wife to a very successful man, but that doesn't stop her from building her own empire and from continuing to find her own success regardless of being a female, a mother and a wife. OK next song... Pretty Hurts....

This song I think every female can relate to on some level. Never being thin enough, having big enough boobs, or pretty enough face, or teeth or whatever it is. This song hits that and drives the point home that perfection is a disease of society.  The song is about a girl who is told by her mother that nothing about her matters except for how she looks, and she carries this with her through her life and it destroys her on the inside. Magazines nowadays tell us how to be thinner, have crash diets and ways to look better but no one discusses what this does to you on the inside. No one discusses the pain that pills and surgeries and diets don't take away. The self loathing, the negative self talk, how it feels to be rejected by peers or boys. In the beginning of the song Beyonce is asked what her aspiration is and she says 
That should be something so easy to be yet it seems so hard to achieve in this day and age because of all of society's expectations. The lyrics, "Ain't no doctor or pill that can take the pain away. The pain's inside and nobody frees you from your body. It's the soul, it's the soul that needs surgery," hits home for me and I am sure it does for many other females too. I think for someone like Beyonce to make a song like this and put it out there that this type of thinking isn't OK shows the type of role model she is for young girls. She doesn't sing about getting high or drunk in her music she sings about stuff that matters, stuff that needs to be talked about, stuff that young and older women can relate to. 

If you have a chance and have HBO watch the On The Run Tour with Jay-Z and Beyonce, you might be able to find it on youtube if you don't have HBO, but it's worth seeing. These two are an awesome couple and Beyonce has really shown her true colors this past year with her music. 

How To Die In Oregon

Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman who is terminally ill has been in the news lately for making the decision to pick up and move her and her husband to Oregon where she will utilize the Death with Dignity Act and take a medication that will kill her when she is ready to stop fighting with her illness. To be honest, I have always been unsure on how I felt about physician assisted suicide. I saw on facebook that there was a movie on Netflix called How To Die In Oregon so I decided to watch it. After watching it, I no longer am unsure on my feelings. I now feel that every state should legalize the Death with Dignity Act, currently only 5 states have it, Oregon being one. 

Most of you know that I watched JoEll go through round after round of chemotherapy and radiation and what it did to her body. I watched her get sicker and sicker, I watched her rapidly decline in front of me and her kids. I watched her continually enter the hospital for various illnesses; pneumonia, broken hip, dehydration from the chemotherapy, etc. After I saw this movie, I couldn't stop crying because all I thought about was what if this had been an option for JoEll, and she wouldn't have had to suffer all those months. What if she could control when she died by taking this pill when she had decided that she had fought enough and was sick of being sick. 

The movie follows various people who are terminally ill and who are going through the process of deciding to use the Death by Dignity Law. The woman who hit me the hardest was named Cody, age 54. She had gone through having really bad stomach aches and went into the doctor to find out she had a huge mass in her stomach which turned out to be cancer of her liver, after having one surgery her oncologist informed her that the margins weren't clean and the cancer was back and that she had at most 6 months to live. Cody then decided to call the Compassion & Choices, an organization that assists people with getting in contact with the right physicians and counsels them through the whole ordeal. Cody was married and had adult children, and they really struggled with their mother's decision, as any child would. Who would want to lose a parent? The daughter said something that I found really insightful she said one day she was going through scarves and jewelry with her mom picking out the ones she wanted and she had a moment where she thought to herself how fortunate she was to be able to be doing that WITH her mom instead of having to go through her things WITHOUT her mom. For me, what a bittersweet moment. Cody repeatedly says, along with all the other people in this movie, knowing that she has this medication in her possession, this control in a situation that feels so out of control, gives her a sort of peace. She can decide when she has had enough, when she has fought enough, when she feels she is about to become a burden on her family and humiliate herself by the decline that will inevitably occur with this terminal illness. Cody does live past her 6 month deadline, but a few weeks later starts to decline, she goes from being very frail and thin to looking almost nine months pregnant because the amount of fluid build up on her organs, making it hard for her to walk, breath, eat, essentially the tumors inside her are growing causing her to starve and lose the ability to do basic daily tasks. She goes to meet with her oncologist who offers the idea of having fluid removed from her stomach again, they show the first time where they take over 3 liters of fluid off of her stomach when they are putting a new drain in her, and her husband likes the idea of her doing it again so that she will be around for the Holidays. Cody looks at her doctor and she just says, "I've had enough," she looks to her husband and says, "I've had enough, I can't do anymore," it is the most devastating and heartbreaking moment in the documentary because you are pulling for her, you have this false hope that maybe she will live longer than doctors think, you too are hoping for a miracle for Cody. On top of carrying the fluid around she has had high fevers, can't keep food down, and is increasingly uncomfortable on 75 mg of Morphine AN HOUR. That's A LOT of morphine, and she is still in pain. She makes the decision to do it on a Monday at 6 pm, and asks her oncologist to be there along with family and friends. Although you do see some people take this medication and slip into a coma and pass, for Cody, the cameramen stayed outside the window with the blinds drawn so you hear the conversation but do not see what is going on. At this point in the movie I was hysterically crying, imagine saying goodbye to everyone you love and being told to drink this cocktail made of a fatal dose of a barbiturate in 60-90 seconds and that you would quickly slip into a coma and then slip away. 
So many things were going through my mind at this point, I thought of my mom who had breast cancer, I thought of JoEll who suffered and passed away from cancer, and I thought of how much this pill was similar to how Vets euthanize a dog, I was in the room for putting my golden down and was a mess then. You feel for her kids and her family, even her oncologist who struggled with the idea of writing a prescription for someone to basically end their life when they took an oath to "Do No Harm." But in this situation, letting her live and suffer would be THE HARM.

If we don't let animals suffer, why should we let humans suffer? The Death by Dignity Act allows terminally ill people the right to choose when they have had enough, when they are sick of being sick and constantly having to rely on someone else, it allows them to die with their dignity in tact. I remember when JoEll was going through one round of chemo she was VIOLENTLY sick from it, couldn't keep anything down, carrying around a pink basin you use to pee in at a hospital as a puke bucket. We were sitting on her couch watching a movie and she felt like she was going to get sick and she tried to cover it up from me because she didn't want me to see it, as if it was going to bother me, but more than that it bothered her because she was such a fiercely independent woman that she hated that we all waited on her hand and foot and would even clean her puke bucket for her. This poor woman had nothing left to be in control of, she lost her hair, lost control of the way she looked, lost control of the way her body reacted to food and medication and yet she still tried to keep her dignity in tact by covering up her face when she threw up. Cancer patients feel so alone, they are going through something that no one can understand unless they have gone through it but someone who is TERMINALLY ill, meaning they've been given a death sentence have to feel even more alone, why not give them a little bit of control back by enacting the Death with Dignity Act? 

There is a difference between suicide and what these people are choosing to do. Suicide is an act that is done by perfectly able bodied people who are mentally ill, Death by Dignity is the right to end suffering of terminally ill people who have no other option but to die when they are no longer able to be functional and live the quality of life that is up to their standards. Every one has their own idea of what quality of life is good enough for them, and I do not think anyone including the Government should be policing when that time is. It is not a cowardly thing to do, in my opinion it is incredibly brave, I'm not sure I would be strong enough to make the decision of when to leave my family and loved ones. The people who use the Death by Dignity act are incredibly brave and should be viewed as fighters and survivors as much as the cancer survivors who beat cancer. Society doesn't celebrate the cancer survivors who pass away and I find that incredibly sad because anyone who lives with cancer is a survivor. It's an incredibly terrible disease that takes over your life, and anyone who loves you. 

I cried pretty much the entire documentary and I'm not sure if it's because I am still grieving for JoEll or if it's because I can't help but wonder if she would have used that had it been an option, I know it was because I truly felt for these people in this movie and you can't help but put yourself in their place. If you have ever had anyone close to you have cancer, it hits home, it's incredibly scary. I know in my heart of hearts that JoEll wouldn't have used something like this because up until her last days she kept asking for more and more chemo even though she was told it wasn't working, she was fighting for her kids, she didn't care what she had to go through she was determined to fight and win, however, God had a different plan for her. 

If you have time it is a great documentary to watch. I hope that one day Illinois catches up and Death by Dignity is enacted here so that everyone has the right to choose when they have had enough suffering from a terminal illness. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Why Men Love Bitches

I am reading the book Why Men Love Bitches. This book is so foreign to me because as much as most of my friends and family would like to make you believe I am not a bitch. The preface of the book is about being a bitch in a relationship but not like a bitch bitch more of a boss bitch. Here, I'll give you an example, if a guy texts or calls you late at night after he's been out with his buddies and asks you to come by you need to tell him no because that shows him that he needs to make plans with you and that you aren't waiting around for him to call. Get it? While reading this book I have learned that in a "man's" eyes I am needy because I am too nice. Well guess what? That all changes right NOW. Maybe I have been the doormat for too long and that's why I haven't had a successful relationship. I tend to be the one who likes, loves, does, too much for the other person. I jump through the hoops while the other person does nothing. 
   In all honesty most of this book feels gamey to me like you are pretending to be someone you are not. Being fake and not real with the guy so he thinks that you are one way when you are another. The book instructs you to pretend not to like him as much as you actually do, play it cool, don't be the first to call or text, wait a certain amount of days before hanging out with him again, etc. These are all stupid dating games that end up ruining or causing miscommunication between two people early on in a relationship that could ultimately end the budding relationship. There are some good ideas within the book, like focusing more on yourself and spending more time alone doing things you like to do, not making your life all about him, etc.
   Since I am back in the dating game I figured I would take a minute to say my truth, ahem, ready?
   Yes at times I am needy and/or clingy because I have been screwed over in previous relationships and trust is incredibly hard for me. Yes I can be stubborn and a royal pain in your ass because I was raised to be independent and not depend on anyone especially a man because my mom was a single mom-even when my parents were married my dad was an absentee parent. Do I need reassurance more than other girls in the beginning of a relationship? Yes I do. But not one person will love you, care for you and be more loyal to you than I will. You will not find someone with a bigger heart than mine. I know I am a lot to handle but that's why you have two hands and damn it I'm worth it! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ruby Roo Salerno

The past few days have been a roller coaster to say the least. I feel like lately when I write it's always sad, but hey this is my blog, I'll do what I want. 

Yesterday, we lost the first (other than my dog Morgan) pack member, and second dog I ever rescued and re-homed with great friends of my family. Ruby Roo, always such a loving sweet golden retriever. She first lived with a family who was friends with my dear friend JoEll, when that family moved, Ruby stayed with me for a month or so while they moved out to Southern Cali. Then Ruby flew out to Southern Cali to live her life with her family. About a month after they moved out there I got a call from the mom saying they didn't have time for her or a big yard and they were going to take her to a shelter out there unless I wanted her. Obviously we said we would take her and they flew her out to O'Hare for us to pick her up. I went to the over sized baggage terminal and pulled out a groggy golden retriever puppy from a dog crate and she was so happy to see me. In the car on the way home she laid in my lap the whole way home. Our good family friends had just had to put down their dog Griffie so we called them on the way home and said, "hey would you guys like to meet an awesome dog?" Joe, was not totally sold on the idea because of how much he loved their first dog. We stopped by on our way home and the Salerno's opened the front door of their house and Joe sat down on the floor and Ruby got into his lap and gave him the biggest kiss and the rest is history. Ruby became a Salerno. Ruby had the most lavish lifestyle, she got to go to the Lake house with Grandpa and Grandma, she lived in a beautiful house, had everything she wanted and the best part was, I was allowed to stay in her life by being the dog sitter when they went away. She had 10 beautiful loving years with a great family-three boys, a mom and dad, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and tons of neighbors who loved her, along with us-my family and I. Ruby was diagnosed with foot cancer and went through multiple surgeries trying to remove the cancer, unfortunately Ruby was also losing a lot of weight during this process and yesterday morning she decided to stop eating, and breathing was hard for her. The Salerno's made the tough decision to end Ruby's suffering, on of all day's, Joe's birthday. There are no words to express the sadness I, myself, feel for the fact that I will never see that beautiful red coat come flying at me when I say "RUBY ROO!!!" More than that, I can't express the sadness I feel for Joe, Kristen, Matt, Brian and Justin and all of the Salerno family. They opened their hearts to Ruby 10 years ago, trusting me when I said "this is the dog for you" and for that I am eternally grateful. Here are some pictures from Ruby's life and the people who love her. Matty, the pic of you saying goodbye to her, KILLS me. I love you guys. I miss you Ruby, I hope you are pain free at the Rainbow Bridge with Morgan and Nicky. 
Matt saying goodbye to his best friend

Ruby LOVED the pool 

Ruby and My Morgan both now at the Rainbow Bridge
Ruby as a pup, and Ruby this past Saturday

Ruby had her own chair that she ALWAYS laid in
Always taken care of 
A true golden

Ruby in her chair 
Ruby and my Sophie as pups 
Always in our hearts Ruby Looper Salerno

Ruby on Saturday at my house saying our last goodbyes