Friday, July 27, 2012

Entry # 80 - "A Special Reflection for Belle"

August 1, 2003 - July 24, 2012
This week we lost our dear sweet Sheltie, Belle, after a two year struggle with kidney disease.  She was the perfect companion for our writing life. A Brilliant Girl! She was quiet, curious, wise and kind.  Her best furry friend was a cat.  They spoke a language that we human friends couldn't share.  I believe they spoke softly with great wisdom about their world. The cat continues to search everywhere for her.  Although I explained it all - at least the parts I understand - about life and death, the cat is sad and cries for her, as we do. 

Belle brought a finely tuned structure to our household; we timed her walks around her needs, but those walks helped us to get in touch with parts of the outside world and our inner world that we might have missed without her.  She always kept an eye on where we were. Her herding instincts were strong and she watched our lives with interest and concern. But I think it was her kindness that let her love us. And I know it was our kindness for her - that allowed us to let her go. It was difficult and necessary.  But her herding instincts remained intact even at the end. She raised her head and counted her people before she relaxed that last time.
Sweet Belle

I am reminded of the second to last stanza of Naomi Shihab Nye's poem. "Kindness" and I truly hope and pray that she won't mind if I use it here.
"Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, 
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow. 
You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows 
and you see the size of the cloth."

And this picture is one of my favorites. 
Sweet Belle on a lovely spring afternoon when she felt better. This is how I will remember her best. This was our Belle.  

Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:


  1. So sorry for your loss. Every writer needs a companion like Belle.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Marie. The house feels 'empty' without her.
    It has been a rough week.

  3. Sorry for your loss. She looked like such a sweetie.

  4. Hi Maggie,
    She was a lovely friend. Thanks for your note. It helps to share this with others who understand. Jan

  5. What a wonderful tribute to your companion. Time will heal the pain and leave the memories. Thinking of you!

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my personal email site. Tomorrow will be a difficult day. We are to pick up her ashes and we'll be planning a good-bye moment in the next few days. It is too soon to think of any other dog in our lives, but someday....perhaps a sheltie rescue dog.