Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Audrey Stringer knows and can appreciate her genuine down to earth honesty. Audrey doesn’t pull punches, she tells it like it is. The second thing people quickly learn about Audrey is her sense of humour, a quirky ability to see the lighter side of life and how it can help as one faces the depths of loss.
In her book, Buddy’s Life Lessons: My paw prints on grief & loss, Audrey, a strong advocate of journaling, helps give her beloved dog a voice to share his final days. Still trying to understand and deal with the cancer diagnosis of her husband Brian, only three weeks later their lives are further shaken to learn that Buddy also has cancer. The vet has given him three weeks to live.
With her remarkable ability to share and to draw out others’ stories in order to heal, Audrey channels and journals Buddy’s thoughts. For a dog, he has an amazing ability to understand the grieving process and the difficulties
of seeing our loved ones in pain. Fortunately Buddy has learned some great wisdom along the way, “grief is the price you pay for love.” He is definitely one well loved dog as Audrey does everything she can think of to extend his days and make them as comfortable as possible. Buddy loves the attention, extra snuggles and treats, especially the ice cream!
Through Audrey’s pen and Buddy’s thoughts, love and shared memories allow an honest look at the fears experienced as each look death and loss in the face. Life continues around them with others experiencing and sharing their own losses. Everyone has a different style of grieving and handling their loss. For Audrey that means, “I am not going to the future! I am only going to deal with today. I will deal with what I have to deal with when it comes along. No wasted energy.”
Wanting to leave a legacy, Buddy shares his life lessons. Wisdom learned along the way – Audrey style. From a dog or human’s perspective the words ring true.
Buddy’s Life Lesson #8: Live in the moment for that is all we have. Go to the past but don’t tarry. Glimpse the future but don’t stay there because if you do, you will miss the moment. Be aware that the only change we can bring about is within ourselves. Don’t make yourself a slave of worry. Save your energy, toss worry to the curb, kick up your heels and laugh and laugh so loud you embarrass yourself.
As 21 days are prolonged to almost as many weeks, 26 life lessons are shared. Each is filled with love and the importance of being in the moment. After Buddy has died, Audrey also shares how important self-care all along the way has been for herself. She writes of her Carpe Diems or “Wow” days that helped to replenish and sustain her as caregiver. As ever, even in the face of death, Audrey leaves us with many teachings and a feeling of hope.
Audrey is bereavement counsellor, author, motivational speaker and a favourite facilitator at the Threads of Life family forums. To order your own copy of Buddy’s Life Lessons, please visit: www.astringofhope.com.