You’d think head over heels, intoxicating love would do it – it doesn’t.   The swooning over the perfect house, to nest -to have and hold, would do it – it doesn’t.   The exhilaration of getting the promotion – the dream job, the raise would do it – it doesn’t.   You’d think crippling defeat of the heart, of slavery to addictions and failure to launch would do it – it doesn’t.

Only bone crushing, total annihilation of life as it once was, or as it was supposed to be, does.

Weathering storms of epic proportions in love, health and finances, I stood strong and resolute.   While holding onto the vestiges of my dignity and imagined, impenetrable self – reliance, I was barely still standing.   I thought my heart was open to my family, my friends and community.   Little did I know, it was not.

There was a secret garden with a trap door – that led into a bomb shelter.   This is where my heart of hearts laid.   Hidden, wrapped in a fierce cocoon – like Anne Frank waiting in the attic to be saved.  Forged by an unspoken pact, under fire, decades before – my heart laid entombed.

Then came Mugsy, a warm, brown puppy, bounding into my life and heart amidst the rubble of my crumbling reality.   With an indomitable spirit and a totally raucous heart full of love for me,  Mugsy loyally stood guard at the portals of my home and heart!

He slipped by the guards – past the secret garden’s gate, past the trap door and into the bomb shelter of my heart.   To a place, the inner sanctum, where no one has been – even me!   He romped around, trampled down the doors of my heart and let in the light.   Mugsy gently led me out into the world, I never knew existed!   Valiantly by my side, we played in the garden of delights, where rainbows, dreams and magic were possible!

We are soul travelers – Mugsy and I.   He traversed through the breakdowns and the breakthroughs of my life, for close to sixteen years.   It is the longest standing love relationship with a male, that I have had thus far!   My valiant warrior loved me to the other side of divorce, losing my house, change in careers, near financial ruin, two moves and a love affair that never took flight. .

Mugsy and I together, manifested my fabulous petit condo, with a big ass terrace and a front row seat to the magnificent NYC skyline.   We’d sit in the sun and reminisce on our adventures and soul journeys, side by side.   This also became his final resting ground.   I realized that Mugsy was the only being on this planet, that I have given my total unconditional love to — because of the miracle of his love.

As I moved from my marital home and single mom apartment, left my career and life as I knew it – Mugsy helped settle me into my new house of belonging, with all the wisdom and dignity of an elder statesman, even while sporting a diaper.  We had a glorious final six months together.  We’d lie on the couch side by side, and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears.  Blessed are the pure in spirit!

Mugsy taught me about what true unconditional love is.  It is a free fall and a trust – into the depths of your soul, no holds barred!  There are no reservations, no looking back – just jump into the waiting arms of my tender heart and accept the floodgates of love yet to be given and received.

My soul companion crossed over, to the other side, on January 24, 2013 – gently and loving in my arms.   I was bereft and lost at sea.   The tsunami of grief and despair, that threatened to take me down and take me out – was my heart cracking wide open – for the very first time in my life!   The floodgates of emotions that ensued, nearly drowned me.   They pulled me down so deep into an undercurrent of sorrow and loss – that I almost surrendered, before the miracle.

One night in the twilight of slumber, Mugsy reached down from the heavens and gently soothed my newly cracked open heart, with celestial love, tender mercies and with a centering dictum.   “We will travel together always.   Do not give up on love!  Embrace its gifts.  And finally – live the life you were always meant to live – with your heart cracked wide open!”