My Grandmuumuu died in the early hours of the Winter Solstice on December 21st, 2023.
Her name was Tuulikki Woods, and if there was ever a life that represented the idea of wonder, it was hers. Not that she did big, wondrous things in her life, but that every day was full of wonder for her. She found it everywhere, and shared it with those she loved.
I do not have a single memory of her that doesn't include moments of curiosity and wonder around whatever the day presented to us.
My family is convinced that her curiosity and love of life is what kept her healthy and alive for 94 years, and is what continues to keep each of us connected to her, and each other.
As my mother, sister, and I sat around Muumuu's hospital bed (we stayed up all night to be with her as she progressed through the stages of dying) two nights before her death, we were inspired to name all the things we knew she loved.
We took turns, each naming one thing at a time. She loved so many things. Like hunting for mushrooms. And talking to birds. And eating parsley straight from the garden. And sleeping outside. And waking us in the morning with squeaks (you are never too old to squeak). And getting presents. And naming all her dogs some form of “Mutley.”
And so many other wild and beautiful things that kept the game going on and on. It felt so good to know the names of the things she loved. It felt so good to laugh about the silliest things, and to feel closer to her while realizing we loved those things too.
And to understand that many of the things we love most about ourselves came from her.
And that we carry her in us, always.
In the weeks since her death, I've found myself returning to that night spent around her hospital bed naming things she loved. And wanting more than ever to continue this game with the people in my life. To know them through the things they love. To see them through the things they love. To be connected through the things we love, together.
This is the wonder of us. The wonder in us. And when we share it, it lifts us all like a bird on the wind.
P.S. I originally wrote this post a few weeks ago, but my heart wasn't ready to share it until now. And then, on the 13th of January, four days before my 40th birthday, my grandfather died. I'm not ready to talk about this part of the story, but it's important to mention here because at the top of the list of the things Grandmuumuu loved, was my Grandpapa. Always and forever, they were each other's everything.
SoulDog Wonder Journal is a reader-supported space. Your paid subscription helps me make more art and tell more stories inspired by Soul Dogs and the places we love. If you'd like to become a paying subscriber, you can upgrade your membership here.
About the artist
Marika Moffitt is an artist and storyteller focused on expressing the spirit of dogs through photography. As the owner of SoulDog Creative in Washington state, Marika helps clients throughout the Pacific Northwest to honor their journeys with their Soul Dogs with one-of-a-kind artwork. Full of life and movement, Marika’s photographs touch deep within the heart of what it means to live the journey with the dogs we love.Learn more
What's moving me this week:
- I just finished this book called, "Tomorrow," about a 200+ year-old dog who has been waiting for his person to return after they were separated 127 years before. I may have cried when I read this part of the description before checking it out from the library: "Tomorrow is a spellbinding novel of courage and devotion, of humanity across the ages and of the eternal connection between two souls."
- In memory of my grandparents, I've been listening to a lot of Credence Clearwater Revival. The Airbnb James and I rented for my birthday this week, had it on vinyl, and I was so happy to listen (and dance) to all four sides of CCR's Greatest Hits.
- Finding mushrooms in the wild. Not for picking, just for meeting. My mom and I have spent a lot of time in the woods over the last few months, and we have made friends with so many trees and mushrooms in our adventures. For Christmas, she gave me a book about PNW mushrooms (this is an affiliate link to bookshop.org) so that I can learn the names of all our new friends. The best part about this gift is that Muumuu got her hands on it first, and looked through every page, telling my mom about the mushrooms she knew. When I hold the book in my hands, I feel closer to Muumuu. When I meet a new mushroom on the trails, I will greet it with her in my heart.
Wild Wonderings are opportunities to dig deeper into ideas presented in this post. You can choose to do the prompt on your own, or as a paying subscriber, you can share what comes up for you in the comments.
As you gather with family or friends throughout the coming year, I encourage you to invite them to go a few rounds of sharing what they love. One at a time, name the things you love. Laugh at the silliness of it. Cry at the beauty in it. And feel how much more connected you are through sharing these pieces of your heart.
If you want to share in the comments, I'd love to know three things you love. I'll start with mine, then you can reply with yours.
Three things I love:
1. Dogs sleeping in ridiculous positions.
2. The moment a creature (a bird, a raccoon, a seal, etc) in the wild sees me from afar.
3. My Grandmuumuu, forever.