Depression, Help, hope, Love, mental health, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention

VETTING LOVE

How many losses have you suffered over your lifetime? A handful, more? What if you endured numerous losses in a single week? 

Losing a loved one is hard. Strike that, it’s suffocating. It’s devastating. It’s traumatizing. It’s confusing. It’s unfair. It’s beyond the capacity of being defined by so simple a word as hard. Losing a loved one is losing a piece of your journey, your memories, your laughter, and your love to an intangible enemy. 

We can all agree, losing a loved one is painful in ways words can’t often express adequately. 

But what constitutes a loved one? 

Any person we have loved throughout our life? 

Is love an emotion that can only be shared between people? 

Any person who has ever shared space with a pet wouldn’t hesitate to express the enormity of their love and how valid a feeling it is for both them and their companion. This love, this shared expression of life is as meaningful as any other. 

Love has been categorized as being unconditional, affectionate, familiar, enduring, and playful. It is a connection shared beyond words. A bond made in quiet moments. A joy created when two souls play and dance together in happiness. Agape, Philia, Storge, Pragma, Ludus, LOVE a word so strong the Greeks bestowed it with 8 categories to try and contain its exponential meanings. The love of a pet could fall under many or even all of these categories. 

But where does the love of another’s pet fall? 

The love that is built when we first held you in our arms as a puppy. When we comforted the scared and confused kitten after their life-saving procedure. When we shared giddy moments as you danced about our space hoping for a treat. Softer hearts don’t often fare well against those literal puppy dog eyes and you definitely have the cutest. We are here because of our immense love of animals. We are here to serve you in your big times and small. We are here, loving your animals as though they were our own. After all they’ve been ours in immeasurable ways across countless dog or cat years. 

Life and love are larger and more evasive than we can imagine. In a single day, we can see both halt over and over and over. In a single day, we can come face to face with death until our hearts can’t bear anymore. In a single day we can experience some of the lowest lows known by man’s best friend. Yours, and our best friends. We’ve formed memories, moments, and meaning that can only ever be revisited. We grieve for you, in our way. We also grieve for them, for those souls who never spoke anything but the language of love. The hardest part is our love and our roles don’t end when their lives do, not for them and not for you. 

We push forward with hope. We cling to joy. And we pray you never forget how grateful we are to you for entrusting your precious lives and loves in our humbled hands. 


If you haven’t recently, thank your vet, your techs, and your clinic staff. It means more to them than you may realize. 

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Acceptance, Beauty, consulting, Help, hope, public speaker, southern fried asian, Suicide, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece

The Joshua York Legacy Foundation

An angel’s wings and ice blue eyes captured my heart this week and I don’t believe I can ever let them fly away from me.

Sunday evening I arrived in White Marsh, Maryland. I made a call to meet up with the Yorks and have our first face to face before we would delve into a long week of work starting Monday morning. I was nervous. My brain was running in a million directions and wondering what I would find myself walking into, I knew the week would be long and full of strategy and more than likely exhausting days, but who would be welcoming me into their world? Would I truly be welcomed? I couldn’t help but feel anxious and hope for the best.

Boy, was I wholly unprepared for the Yorks.

William immediately greeted me with a huge hug and a smile. His first words after our greeting were, “hope you’re ready for some crabs.” I laughed and said, “oh, yea.” When in Maryland, crabs must be had after all. On our way back to their house, we chatted about the humidity and how hot the weather had been for the past few days in Maryland. I had hoped I would be escaping the Arkansas heat, but it seemed I may have unluckily towed it along with me.

When we pulled into their driveway, I looked to the left to see a monument of a rock right in the front yard. I giggled to myself, I mean, what did I expect from the foundation who created the Facebook group Suicide Prevention Rocks? Their walkway lined with a hodgepodge of colored rocks all with uplifting sayings brought a lightness and ease to me. I walked into their foyer, where a variety of different sized shoes had recently been dropped by the front door. I kicked off my heels and commented immediately they must’ve been preparing for the arrival of the Southern Fried Asian. We all laughed at my corny Asian joke. As I walked into the kitchen, I was immediately hugged by Dawn, William’s wife and heart. Saying I was welcomed does not do my first night justice, I found myself watching a family who draws you toward them in the most unintentional but compelling of ways.

After a bit of getting to know each other, they broke out a huge roll of brown parchment paper and covered the dining room table. I noted, “this is getting serious.” We took our seats and jumped into the centerpiece, a huge steaming box of Maryland crabs. The kids showed me how to pick apart a crab Marylander style, everyone brought up family jokes about the importance of not to eating the crab’s lungs, and each of them opened their hearts to me. I was family, on night one and felt nothing less than exactly that for the rest of the week.

Tragedy hits us all too often in this world and it’s aftermath too often destroys those who remain. I knew walking in that tragedy had happened here. I knew this week would be difficult as they were nearing the one year anniversary of the loss of Joshua. I knew I might need to be patient, calm, compassionate, quite possibly forgiving, and so much more because of how difficult this process could be. And yet, I found myself not needing to do any of those things, not because they haven’t felt unflinching pain, but because they have drawn from their love to find strength. They lift one another up and open themselves naturally to others who may be in need of love and acceptance. They are each other’s rocks.

As I write this, I find my eyes full of happiness, joy, and thankfulness. I have felt something beyond myself this week and have had the chance to witness the power love has over pain. We’ve shared unforgettable moments where we each shared some of our deepest pains. We’ve experienced a rainbow of emotions as we worked toward sharing Joshua and his love with as many people as we are allowed.

Nothing is perfect, but this family works and dare I say, makes it look unrealistically easy. They feel, they are gentle and most importantly they are forgiving when they need to be. The Yorks, the family who swerves when a butterfly is in the road. The Yorks, the family who paints rocks in order to heal and bond through tragedy. The Yorks, the family who laughs and loves and welcomes strange Korean women from Arkansas. The Yorks, the family who continues to bring life to their beautiful Joshua.

To say it simply and without flourish, I am amazed by this family and their journey.

With my deepest gratitude,

Susie Reynolds Reece

#jylfrocks #suicideprevention #strengtheningliveswithlove

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Children, Depression, Help, hope, Love, southern fried asian, Suicide, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece

Suicide is #2 Cause of Youth Death

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for children, teens and young adults age 5 to 24….

2nd leading cause of death.

Look at the new age parameters, 5 to 24yrs… yes, you read it correctly, children as young as 5 are dying by suicide.

This is EVERYONE’s problem.

(American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2017).

#depression #stopsuicidenow #youthsuicide

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