Finding Purpose

A Break for a Tired Heart

You guys I can’t. I just can’t do what I’m supposed to do today. There is heartbreak in my family today. We lost our beloved Donder. Donder was a tenderhearted German Shepherd who just didn’t wake up this morning. He was almost nine years old. I can’t even summons the strength to look for the best photo of him for this post. Instead I’m sharing one from the last time I saw him.

This is Donder. A boy so good, you could put your Easter dinner on the table and know he’ll smell it, but he won’t touch it.

Donder Overland Corner

Donder was one of three dogs that helped my husband Paolo get past a very real fear of big dogs. As a young child Paolo was nearly attacked by a very big dog. Paolo remembers the dog towering over him, growling, and barking at him. It stuck with him nearly his whole life.

Then Paolo met Chance, Chewy, and Donder my brothers and my parents dogs. Slowly but surely these boys worked their way into his heart. In time, Paolo shifted from fearing big dogs to looking forward to seeing them.

We lost Chance an English Golden Lab and Chewy a Black Lab to old age. Losing Donder today is breaking my heart because it was completely out of the blue. It’s breaking my heart for Donder who really loved his Mom and Dad. For my Mom who loved her Dogs with no less heart than her daughters. For Mark. The man who rescued Donder and gave him a home, just as he gives my Sister and I a home too.

Finding this picture is a reminder that due to COVID it’s been a year since I’ve seen my Mom, Mark and Donder. My heart is broken for many reasons but not being able to hug my Mom and Mark right now over the loss of Donder is at the top of the list.

Folks I’m tired.

There’s missing my family beyond words. There’s being a straniera (foreigner) unable to speak Italian well or make new friends due to lockdowns and social isolation. There’s being without a home for a year during a pandemic. Then there losing Donder today and you know what I need a break.

As I sat down to write my Friday post about our home renovation I realized I just didn’t have it in me. I don’t want to try and find a positive angle through a difficult time anymore. My heart’s not into sharing my life right now. As bloggers, we’ve all been there and today, I’m most definitely there.

One of the best things about being my age and my own boss, is knowing when I need a break I can take it and guess what, nothing is going to break. Most certainly not me.

It’s time for me to stop and ask myself questions like, what’s working and what’s not? Is what I’m doing helping anyone else, or just a hobby? Could this be more? Should it be? Can I do this (ALOR) and make strides towards finding my purpose in life? Are they one in the same or is blogging a distraction from finding a purpose filled life?

As you can tell, there has been a lot on my mind that’s been calling for this break before the loss of Donder. Yet seeing the pain in my families eyes and feeling it in my own heart cut through all the noise.

Thank you for the support, comments and positive vibes you all have shared with me this past year. I’m not sure how long I’ll be pausing from ALOR. All I know right now is the next time you’ll hear from me (which you will) I hope to be in a much better place. A stronger place. A place I can finally call home.

Donder you’ll be missed down here, but we all know you’re running on a beach in dog heaven with Chance and Chewy right now. Say hi to your brothers for me and keep and eye on Mom and Dad from up there will you? Thank you for being such a good boy and friend to us all while you were here.


  1. Thank you for such a heartfelt blog. Miss you so much, but we will get through this and soon be hugging in your new home.

    Love, Mom



  2. Ah, finding purpose. To paraphrase: “the examined life is very much worth living”. May you enjoy the adventure of finding your purpose…and all the experimentation therein.


  3. My deepest condolences on the loss of Donder. Our pets are so much a part of our lives. Please be comforted by the wonderful memories you have of your beloved dogs. And yes, take a break, take a rest. Every time you pass a mirror, look into it and smile…..put your arms around yourself. Things will get better.


  4. I am so sorry for your loss 😢💙. Donder sounds like a wonderful dog. It’s not easy dealing with this and adjusting to a new culture. I hope you have a nice rest. Glad you’re taking some Me Time. Lots of love and hugs 💙💙💙


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