Layers

Puppy Auggie

My sister can’t find her face today. It’s there, somewhere beneath the swelling and the sadness. It’s an inherited symptom not new to my family. I haven’t seen my mom today but if I did, I would see hives. Lots and lots of hives.

When we worry, there is a reaction. Everyone has one. In my family, worry has always been a bit too big to contain, so it doesn’t quit at mere emotional manifestation, no. It keeps on and finds physical forms (Grandma Sylvie was epic in this regard). My parents, my sister, my impossibly faithful friends, they wait. As soon as I hear from the doctors, twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, I text them with the report.

Six days ago, our puppy arrived. Finally. The puppy our girls had been dreaming, campaigning, heart-crying for years, honest to God years, for Annie, over half her life. Power points were presented.  Contracts voluntarily crafted. This puppy. This puppy was a dream. A hard earned, could he really be happening, dream.

Five days ago we had to hospitalize him. And now we hold our breaths between calls, waiting to learn how his three-pound body is holding up against Parvovirus.

This is not the situation we thought we’d be in. We expected to be up at night, awakened by puppy whimpers and new-born nostalgia. Not panicked with the prayer that we don’t get the call in the middle of the night.

We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.
If we show a little tolerance and humility.
If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment.
Because here’s the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you.
There are some days when we need a hand.
There are other days when we’re called on to lend one.
This is how we must be with one another.

Those magnificent words, that crystal clarity crafted by a man who knows more than anyone should about the indiscriminating perils of fate. I think of him, our humble president. Auggie was named in honor of President Biden’s inauguration, and after one of the best literary characters of all time, Auggie Pullman. That Auggie, born with a face full of tragedy, believed everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life, because we all overcometh the world.

I come back to words, to truth, to smithing their meanings back to life, the relief and revival in their resuscitation. At the doorstep of the new, the arrival of 2021 and the hope it held, the calendar flip that defied all laws of time (is March over yet?), we sat steeped in the wreckage of what was one of hell of a hindsight year. So how do we turn pain into progress, activate empathy into something prescriptive, progressive, promising? I don’t have the answers. But I think about them a lot.

And then I think about Queen Amanda. Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman, and I think she might actually know.

And I think about Congressman Jamie Raskin, who the day before the mob seizing as he stood on the senate floor, had to bury his brilliant, radiant son, because that unrelenting beast of depression claimed another earth angel. A philanthropist, an animal activist, an embodiment of everything needed to heal our hurting world, and the darkest of all demons, it stole him from us. His name was Tommy. Tommy Raskin, and he too was a poet. When Amanda Gorman’s words pierced my heart with their power and poignant, promising prophecy, I was simultaneously stung. What must Jamie be feeling. That family.

Because here’s the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you.
There are some days when we need a hand.
There are other days when we’re called on to lend one.
This is how we must be with one another.

It is day six that our brand-new puppy sits in intensive care. We wait for the doctors to call. Where do we find strength in these moments? When our insatiably hopeful children try and make sense of a reality that wasn’t supposed to be, and we can’t explain it to them, where?

From one another.

From the suffering souls who survived worse. We look to them. They’ll never see us, they do not need to. It is enough that they are there. With their stories and their truths and let that be our legacy – that we connect in the place we are most fraught, where empathy, while invisible, is an embrace. It holds us when little else can.

That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.

At this hour on this day, I do not know how our layers will unfold. What they’ll look like undone. But I do know this. Swelling will go down. Hives will heal. The Tommy’s have taught us and the Amanda’s have autographed and as we pray our little Auggie pulls through, the Auggie Pullmans of all the world remind us… all and everything we feel, we feel nothing on our own. Nobody ever should.  Because it’s together. Together is how we overcometh the world.

– Jolie Loeb

With quotes from President Joe Biden, Future President Madame Amanda Gorman and His Majesty, Auggie Pullman.

Author Bio:

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.

18 Comments

  1. In a time when you want something good and hopeful and unconditionally loving to thrive…this. The threat to the life of this little pup is fragile like so many other things we want to survive right now. The swelling of all your feels is understood. Sending love and healing to Auggie…and to you and yours.

  2. So beautifully said….rooting you little Auggie! With the kind of love and hope you have surrounding you I know you can do it.

  3. Oh my, I am so sorry that your family–especially the girls, are going through this!!!
    Your words are inspiring, they will get you through this. Little Auggie is adorable and I want to see more pix once he pulls through.

  4. Little Tiny Auggie! with a perfect name and a perfect face and a perfect family. This tiny but mighty little pup is a fighter! He has no idea how much love is coming his way.
    Jolie, thank you for sharing your heart.
    Go Dauggie Go! Can’t wait to meet you.

  5. Oh no!!! It’s like 2020 all over again. Prayers are being said for your little Auggie. We love our pup Cocoa (who doesn’t realize she’s a dog) and I don’t know what I’d do without her. Please keep us updated on your doggie!! Love you guys!

  6. So beutiful and relatable. My heart goes out to your family, and thank you for important reminder how much we all need each other’s support!

  7. Layers are right. So much in one moment. So much for one family… for one 3 lb. puppy. Auggie we are rooting for you! There is so much love waiting to meet you! ❤️ I can’t wait to meet you! ❤️

  8. Jolie, I send prayers up for little Auggie and your family. I thank you for this amazingly-beautiful gift of an essay — an essay which, at its core, I believe shares the gift of vulnerability. It is something we all must feel to experience love, and yet can be so frightening. Your layers are, to me, like wrapping paper, each adding their own beauty and meaning to the gift you are presenting. My favorites are the sturdy gift wrap of history and perspective (power-points were presented; contracts voluntarily crafted) and the shiny cheerful wrapping paper of optimism (Future President Madame Amanda Gorman). But every layer beautifully wraps your perfect gift, and for that, I sincerely thank you.

  9. Praying for puppy’s continued healing and full recovery! He won the Human Jackpot when the Loebs found him! Wishing you many, many years of love and joy with your precious boy.

  10. “ When you are sorrowful look again in your heart and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which [is] your delight”. K. Gibran
    This year has given us so many ups and downs, so much push and pull…. now we will pull for your family and Auggie…. because, “ this is how we must be with one another”… moving forward and forever. Sending you much love!

  11. Oh no! This was always my worst fear when our dogs were puppies. I’m so sorry your family is going through this! Praying for that little pup, and your girls, and you too. xoxo

  12. I hope little Auggie pulls through fully. I’m so sorry you are all going through this. If anyone can find the silver lining it is you.

  13. Jolie, my thoughts and heart are with you and your family during this gut wrenching time. I am sending healing energy Auggie’s way and love and hugs to your family.

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