Meet Jasper.

Those of you who know me IRL (which is probably all of my readers at this point  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) know that I have a disability. It’s not something I try to hide – in fact, if anything I’m quite open about it. I have been diagnosed with several illnesses, both of the mind and of the body, which have taken a toll on my physical health and ability to function in school and many day-to-day activities. This has been an ongoing struggle for at least a decade, and we have tried so many treatments that promised to help. At this point, medication has been the only thing to provide any symptom relief, and even with them I am not where I’d like to be.

I am 20 years old, and had I been able to go the traditional college route, would be heading into my junior year. Unfortunately, going the traditional route was not an option for me as I have always had severe anxiety that seems to manifest especially in a school setting. It has been a struggle for me to go to school, and while college is a bit better, I am still only able to do about 4 class sessions per week reliably.

It has been recommended by my doctors that I get a service dog to help mitigate my symptoms and provide me with the tools I need to function at a level where I might be able to go back to school full time. That said, I’d like to introduce you to Jasper!

 

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Jasper is my 9-week-old goldendoodle mix (supposedly??) service dog prospect. Fully trained, he will perform tasks that will assist me in my daily activities. He’s very smart and loves to play with our other two dogs. We are looking at trainers at the moment but have it narrowed down to a small handful. In my next few posts I will explain more about my symptoms, how Jasper will eventually help me deal with them, and our plan for training.

As anyone familiar with dog training knows, training a dog is not cheap, and a service dog much less so. I have started a GoFundMe for anyone who wishes to contribute to his training. Jasper and I will be so grateful for any help and are so excited to move forward with his education.

I’m running low on spoons for now but will type up the aforementioned posts in a bit.

As always, feel free to leave a comment if you feel like it! I love hearing from you guys.

Britt

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Grandma’s Unveiling (& The Memory I Shared)

 

I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I felt I didn’t really have the right, in a way. I never really got the chance to have a close relationship with her as my cousins did. My siblings and I lived states away and weren’t able to come visit often. I suppose I worried that crying could be mistaken for me being fake or an attention seeker. I’m not entirely sure why I felt that, I have never been given any reason to believe that my family would think anything negative of me, but that irrational thought plagued me throughout the ceremony. So I didn’t. Cry, that is.

I almost did – multiple times. She was my grandma, after all. Instead, I held back the tears  that threatened to spill, and mourned.

I mourned for the relationship we should have had. I mourned for the relationship we did have. I mourned for my grandpa, who despite his best efforts, was unable to prevent his sorrow from leaking out of his eyes. I mourned for my aunts and my dad, who lost their mommy. I mourned for my cousins who did get to have a close relationship with her. I mourned for the wonderful woman my grandma was, and all the great things she’d done in her life. I mourned, but I did not cry.

We stood in a semi circle, her grave closing the gap between the rabbi and my sister, who each stood at one end of the group. My cousins, siblings, and I were asked to do the ‘unveiling’ part of the ceremony – to remove the cover from atop her final resting place, and reveal the grave marker that will honor her memory long after we are all dead and gone. It was an honor, to be asked to be a part of such a significant act in honor of Grandma. We pulled off the sack and sort of stood there as we looked at the headstone.

It was beautiful – Our family name engraved at the top, and my grandma’s name on the bottom right. Above her name was a picture of hands creating pottery, a symbol of her love of all things crafty, and her special talent for pottery. We sort of shuffled back to our places, waiting for the rabbi to lead us on in the memorial.

The rabbi read with us some prayers in a beautiful language that I did not speak, but somehow felt the significance of the words. My cousins once removed followed along with the prayers, speaking in time with the rabbi. I wish that I could have also spoken the prayers, and may in the future go out and learn some of the language.

After the prayers, the rabbi (I wish I knew his name, but in the commotion of family, friends, and emotions, I forgot to ask) asked us to share a memory of Grandma, and something that we learned from her. Among those who spoke, I noticed a common theme in the memories. In each, Grandma had gone out of her way to do something for the person, whether it be make them feel better, be there for them in difficult times, or whatnot. She did such things without asking for, expecting, or even considering getting something in return. She did it because that’s the kind of person she was.

As it slowed down and started to look like everyone was finished sharing memories, I mustered up the courage to speak up and share mine.

I was 15 or 16 years old, and suicidal. I’d been admitted to a psych hospital as I was having a really hard time dealing with my anxiety and depression. The hospital was hell. I don’t remember much about it, thankfully. However, one thing that stands out to me was on my second or third day at the hospital. I remember sitting at my desk writing in my journal, when a nurse came in and handed me an envelope. It was addressed to me, from my grandparents. I opened it and read what was written. I think I cried. I don’t remember, anymore, what exactly the letter said, but it made me feel so loved. I was so touched that my grandma, who I hadn’t talked to or seen in probably a year or more, wanted to write such honest, hopeful things to me when she heard that I was in the hospital.

Of course, I didn’t say all that. I spoke about being in the hospital and receiving a letter from Grandma and Papa, and how much that helped. I said that that is the kind of person Grandma was. She was a selflessly kind person who gave love and expected nothing in return. She gave because she loved, and that is the most precious thing a person can do.

Grandma has shared so much love and strength with all of us in her life and in death. Her words and actions; her memory; will stay with everyone whose life she touched for as long as we all live, for which I am forever grateful.

Sometimes, I feel like I know her better now than I ever did before. I do hope that she’s watching over us. I hope she’s doing well, wherever she is.

We love you Grandma.