What a name! It evokes beauty, wisdom and honor contained in the roots of the word. It shadows the awakening woman of Ibsens’ ‘A Doll House’ who leaves her world of illusion formed by the men in her life to venture into ‘the real world’ to become whole. And of course there is Nora Charles, feisty partner to her husband Nick in the famous ‘Thin Man’ stories. The image of Myrna Loy! It is strong, clear, and distinct. It attracts me. But I don’t even know this is her name when I see her picture for the first time….
It was ten days before Yankee passed. I saw her picture on a friend’s facebook page, a rescue puppy living in a foster home and wanting to be adopted. I see these pictures all the time and scroll right past. I remember clearly stopping and being taken in by the face and eyes of this puppy. But my heart was filled with the presence of Yankee’s journey to let go, and I didn’t dwell on this response, committed to holding space for him, giving him everything I could at the time. Then, just five days after Yankee’s passing, her picture appeared again. Apparently she had found a home temporarily, but was back with her foster mom and again looking for a forever home. Now, not only did the expression in her eyes find its destination in my heart, now I could actually see her name: Nora.
It was only about nine o’clock in the morning and I knew I needed to wait a hour before making the call. It was an interesting hour. I was giving myself time to process the intensity of emotion I was feeling. It was like a tangle, this emotion that on the surface filled me with excitement and also a hint of guilt. Was it too soon? Was I being impulsive and wanting to jump into something prematurely? A puppy? Really? I was just registering the quiet and the hole in the field of ‘home’ that Yankee shared with us for so many years. Was I just trying to fill this hole? Am I judging myself for doing this? Underneath all of this and trying to find a way to surface was a certainty that a connection was being made.
Nora would be with her foster mom and available for meet and greet all day at the pet store she worked at in a town about an hour away. I finally dialed the number and foster mom Kera answered. I said I wanted to meet Nora and told her my story. When I was done I felt the shift, that little breeze that flows through my body signaling that the situation is now, firmly, beyond my control. It was that clear. I think Kera felt it too because she offered to drive Nora out to meet me the next day (on her day off). Now I had to wait. I had over twenty four hours for ‘reality’ to set in and think this through logically. But as soon as I’d start to think, I was led right back to the place in my heart that was jumping up and down with joy. Every doubt that surfaced and registered was immediately re-routed. When Kera arrived and stepped out of her car, promptly bursting into tears, I knew that all my doubts could wash safely away. Nora came bounding up to me and Molly and that was it.
It hasn’t even been a week now. And though Nora is the one actively expressing the ‘jumping up and down with joy’ in her puppy enthusiasm, I feel how this joy has beamed up from the bottom of my heart and thrown light on the rightness of us all being here together just the way we are. And thank goodness for Molly being here to share in the work of making a safe home for Nora. We are like a couple of besotted teenagers seemingly in love for the first time with the same person. We are already negotiating each night who gets to have Nora at bedtime. We are also having to cover every minute of every day maintaining presence for Nora, and that is humbling! ‘Training’ will begin soon enough for our very smart and completely loving puppy, but in this initial bonding phase, we are still exploring the limits of our indulgence, taking lots of pictures and marveling at every endearing gesture. Molly captures her here beautifully.