A New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve…
I’m waiting your arrival
To ring in the new year.

We dated years ago and
Despite our differences
I loved you so.

Parting as the best of friends
We still get together
On Saturday nights
And Sunday afternoons
And New Year’s Eves
When there’s no one involved
With you and me.

Sometimes I think, maybe?
Maybe we could love again?
Maybe it would work this time?

It’s New Year’s Eve
The call comes in:
You won’t be coming after all.

It’s New Year’s Eve.
I understand.
Nothing’s New.

by Kate McGahan


Getting Through the Holidays when you Grieve

Every grieving mother knows how old her child would be today. You know how old I would be now and how long I’ve been gone. The heart remembers everything. You are connected to me by the love that we share, a love that tugs at your heartstrings at special times. You might find yourself thinking about me continuously one day. You just can’t get me out of your mind! Maybe you even have a dream of me or receive an extraordinary sign. You look at the calendar and realize that it is the anniversary of my passing or my birthday. The heart remembers everything. 

“One day without him…”
“He was still here this time last week.”
“I’ve made it through the first two weeks.”
“I can’t believe she’s been gone a month.”
“It’s been 2 months, 2 days, 7 hours, 35 minutes.”
“3 months have passed now.” 
“4 months.”
“5 months…152 days”
“I’m coming up on 6 months.”
“It’s my first holiday alone.”
 “This would have been her birthday.”

We’ve been through one round of all the anniversaries of the heart. 365 days of “first times.” Oh, but it’s still complicated isn’t it? Leaving the first year behind, it’s like we lose that too. The anniversaries will keep coming. There will be days when you just aren’t feeling so strong. Maybe you go a park or a restaurant where we used to go and even though you might have a new friend with you, you are filled with tears and memories of our days together. It’s okay. Let them come. Those were the days my friend… 

Creating new traditions is a very good way to move forward, to honor me and to honor the special days of the year. Sometimes you need to create new traditions for yourself when you are faced with loss---or if you are struggling with family issues and disappointments.

Anniversaries and holidays can be difficult at best when your life feels empty or incomplete. One of the things you can do for yourself during these times is to celebrate the life we shared. Do not mourn my loss. Celebrate my life. Create a lovely altar, light a candle. Say your prayers. Invite me to visit you. Talk to me. Tell me about your hopes and dreams. Reflect on the good times. Tell me you love me over and over again. Soak in the happy times of being blessed by someone in your life who loved you and who loves you still. Someone who taught you the meaning of love, not fear. Celebrate our love. Know that love never dies. 

When you are visiting people over the holidays who might not understand what you are going through, take something tangible and subtle with you; something that you can wear or hold in your hand when you are you are longing to be with me instead of them. It's okay to talk about it if it feels like the right thing to do for you. It’s okay to not want to talk about too. Just tell them that. It can also be quite handy to excuse yourself so you can go to bed early. That's okay to a point too. You have a very good reason and you are learning at last to take care of yourself. Balance the holiday and try to stay balanced within yourself as you move forward to the next anniversary without me. Balance is the key to all healing. Time and support will take care of the rest.

When you are surrounded by joy and celebration it can actually make you feel worse when you feel worse. If you want to avoid parties and celebrations altogether you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or some other charity event. It often helps one to feel better when they help people less fortunate. You can also opt to stay home, but I will be hoping that you will be willing to share the holiday with someone you love and trust. Someone who lets you be you. Go easy on yourself. 

The first of every month would loom ominously. She braced herself every time a new month approached. The August 1 anniversary was tough. Then a funny thing happened. December 1 arrived; sixteen months. The day came and went. On December 2 she realized she had not noticed. She felt guilty at first until she realized it was a sign of her healing. My life was the important thing and our relationship, now on new terms, was all that mattered. She forgot February 1 too! And March! She didn’t remember until after a whole week had passed! Who knew what would happen on April Fool’s Day? Well! She fooled me and remembered! This is how it will happen for you too, 
in your own time and in your own way. 

This post is an excerpt from our latest book, "Only Gone From Your Sight: A Personal Approach to Human Grief & Loss"  Currently available on Kindle and coming soon to Amazon in Paperback!


The Natural Cycle of Life and Death -- and Life

An excerpt from our latest book, 

"Even the tiniest perennial grows only to die. It comes back again and again when the season and the time is right. Even annual flowers grow seeds as they grow so that they can drop the seeds of themselves and live again year after year, life after life." 

Nature continually reminds us of the natural cycles of life. If you were a flower, when the harshness of winter comes you would pull yourself deep inside to protect yourself from freezing, to prevent yourself from dying. You toughen up the outside, close yourself up and go deep within where you are always safe.

Then after quite a long while there comes a bit of warmth and a welcoming day brings with it the thaw. Spring comes and something inside of you stirs. You realize you’ve survived another winter. The ice melts away and you can feel the outside of yourself again. As the warmth so long gone from your life surrounds you, you decide maybe it’s worth blooming again for another season. Hope returns to your heart as you prepare for new life.

You begin to open again as the sun fuels your soul. Your energy returns. An infusion of life force comes to you, giving you more power than you have known since you went into hibernation. This power is the force that pushes you to develop your stems, to press through the soil, to stretch forth and reach towards the light again.

Sometimes Spring can make you an April fool, bringing a bluff! What you planned on, the rain that waters your roots so that you can grow again, turns unexpectedly to ice then snow and it finds you unsuspecting. You are vulnerable and alone, exposed and unprotected. Your tender life is threatened. In some seasons the storm will pass quickly and you will survive; other seasons you can be hurt so deeply that you must withdraw and retreat deep into your roots where you will take the remaining seasons off to rebuild yourself and prepare for the distant day when Spring returns and gives you another chance to thrive.

Despite everything in this year you have survived and in the next season you will grow hardy and beautiful, thriving for the harshness that once threatened you. The early blooms that sprouted, only to be frozen, pinched back by Nature Herself, are destined to return brighter and stronger than ever.

This is the YOU that has grown from the cold harsh winter of your loss. You are the flower that is destined to bloom again. You are the root. You are the bloom. You are the spirit; you are the soul that lives inside every living thing. With each passing season you become stronger and wiser. You go deeper and deeper within where your power can be found. Your roots reach further and further into the quiet nourishing protective earthy space that surrounds you. Look how far you’ve come from being the fragile shoot that first made itself known in the landscape of life!

Your colorful blooms will burst forth stretching now to the sky and you’ll show no fear because you know that no matter what happens you will adjust to the climate that surrounds you and you will be okay. It’s what you’ve learned.

And so it goes.


Book 6: "A Unique and Life-Changing Book"

Now Available on Kindle 
Coming Soon in Paperback !

Author Kate McGahan brings 35 years of clinical hospice experience and end of life social work into this uniquely powerful life --changing book! Kate offers her compassion, empathy and understanding which fill this healing book to the rim with substance, spirituality and love. Her empathy allows her to be the voice throughout the book of the one who is dying. This book was written to help the grieving reader to open their mind and heart to all the possibilities in the afterlife.
Learn to communicate with your loved one in new ways as you work together to get through the grief, keeping the powers of faith and love at the forefront. This book applies to anyone grieving the loss of a spouse, partner, parent, child, family member, pet or friend, no matter where they are in the dying process. Life is too short and too long to live under the cloud of heavy grief.
There is no “right way” to grieve. There is no “wrong way” to grieve. There is only YOUR way. Empower yourself with the guidance given in this book and you will find your way out of the grief and back into the power of a love that never dies. 


Holidays and Grief

If you grieve the loss of someone you love, holidays can be especially difficult. As you rise to meet social obligations, try to keep your focus on the love in your heart, not the grief in your head. Try to keep it as positive as possible and know that you are blessed for having had such a great love in your life. All the love you ever gave is waiting for you on the Other Side; it's waiting for you when the time is just right. Keep the faith that love never dies.

Prayers to all over the upcoming holiday season. 

Find our books to heal your grief on Amazon Worldwide in Paperback and Kindle Unlimited 


We Are All Lost Until We Are Found...Losing Immy

Tonight I was walking Immy and Joey in the tiny artist colony of Tubac, Arizona. As we headed up the gravel road to the Montessori School I stopped to take a photo of the cranberry colored monsoon sky. In that very moment a cottontail rabbit sprang from the nearby bushes and Immy took off like a rocket after it, the leash flew from my hand, catching me totally off guard.  

Joey and I raced after her, but she was going 45 MPH and we were going maybe 8 MPH. She was absolutely nowhere to be seen as we came to the crest of the sloped gravel drive. A giant field, the frontage road on one side of it with Highway 19 just beyond. My mind was taking me to crazy places. I called her name over and over. Almost crying. "Hey Immy, Good Girl Come On! Let's go home!"  I whistled, the same whistle I would whistle to bring Jack home. No luck. She was nowhere to be found. 

Joey and I then ran as fast as we could all the way home to get the car.  Of course dusk was upon us. It was getting so dark already. I left the patio door open in the event she came home of her own accord. I grabbed my flashlight, stopped to post a Lost Dog post on my Facebook Page and the Tubac Barrio and Surrounding Area pages. I tried to post on the local Lost and Found Pet pages but was I a member? No of course not. I was never going to lose a dog. My hands were shaking so badly and between that and Spellchecker I was about insane already.  We took off in the car on the DARK roads of Tubac. Immy is dark! The roads are dark! My mind, still taking me to terrible places. 

We drove back up to the area where we last saw her. I drove all over the schoolyard, the nearby acreage. I climbed into the deep rocky ditches and the water-filled arroyo with my flashlight. Calling her calling her. Meanwhile the huge trucks are bearing down on the nearby highway. 
"Dear God, not the highway."  She is smart but I do believe she would walk right out in front of a car despite my years of trying to teach her otherwise.  

Then the train.  Whoo Whoo!   OMG. The railroad tracks! The train! Just 1/4 mile away on the other side of the village from the highway. I start hyperventilating. Crying. Driving slowly on all the streets of town, crying her name out. I had no whistle left. To the Frontage Road for 1/2 mile. I refused to consider the highway option.  It had claimed enough canine lives since I moved here so I tried to believe that statistically she was safe.  : / 

I was getting more and more upset. Hyperventilating.  Three times I came back to the house to see if she was there, but no Immy.  Each time I got more upset than the last time. A third drive through all the streets of town. I realized how upset I was getting; sick with it really. 

"Stop." I say. "Where's your faith? God's got this." 
God. The angels. Jack. Anyone else? I asked for help from all of them. 

I started to imagine her walking along the side street with her leash dangling behind her, waiting for me to find her walking along, ever so nonchalantly.
A song popped into my head and I started singing. 

🎶"There she was just a walkin down the street singin do wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo..." 🎶
I turned a corner, got nervous again. Those tears, that fear is so persistent! 
But so's the tune. 
"She looked good, looked fine..... "🎶
"God's got this. He knows what he's doing."
The tears, the fears still trying to get through. My imagination, trying to get the best of me.   
".... and I nearly lost my mind."🎶

We're all lost until we're found
Then I remember my pendulum. I had not dowsed in many years.
It was in the console of my car.  I pulled it out.
No, it said, she's not at the highway. No, she's nowhere near the railroad. Not there. No, not there. She was in the village limits. She was within the 9 square blocks of our quiet little village.
She was safe. She wasn't dead or injured.
🎶" wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..."🎶
Around and around the town I went. Visiting all the nooks and crannies.
Coming back along towards our house, I'm crying again!
OMG what if someone finds her and uses her for dog fight bait!  OMG!
"Dear God protect her. If she doesn't ever come home, take care of her. Please."
"I promise I'll never use my phone again on our walks if you only bring her back."
Entering the Bargaining Stage of Grief now.
"Get into your faith Kate. It's life. Whatever happens will happen."
I thought of Jack's excerpt from Book 3, Return from Rainbow Bridge...

Whatever happens there's a reason. I have to trust God with His Plan. 
I have to trust myself that she loves me enough that she would want to come home. 
I have to trust her that she is smart enough to find her way home. After all, we walk these village streets every day. She must know her way around quite well by now. She is a hound dog after all.  

Driving up the gravel road to the school for the fourth time, 
did I see two shining eyes up the road in the headlights?  
🎶"Before I knew it she was walkin' next to me...singing do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do."  🎶
No. It was my imagination.  Maybe a premonition. 
Wait. Look! Is that her standing over there?    
No. It's a downed tree that just happens to look like her.

Hey, a rabbit! It looked like the same rabbit she went after. 
Came out from the same place in the bushes. 🐾
I followed the rabbit.
🎶" Whoa-oh, I knew we was falling in love..."🎶

A left turn down into the nearby neighborhood. Into a vacant side lot. 
Drove my car over the bumps and rocks to search the lot with my headlights. 
Did I see two shining eyes ahead?
  🎶"She looked good. She looked fine. And I nearly lost my mind."🎶

From the Archives
🎶 There she was just as natural as can be. Standing perfectly still. Looking at me.
The rabbit was sitting there watching us the whole time.
Immy seemed confused, scared, not moving. Looked like she didn't recognize me.
This sighthound had to get a close smell of me to know it was me.
She often lets fear get the best of her. (Sounds like someone I know.) 
As I got closer I was able to see her dilemma. She had gotten the handle of her 16' retractable leash caught on a nearby mesquite bush. (so strange, we usually use the retractable on the wilderness trails and the regular leash in town, but for some reason we used the retractable one tonight. Divine Intervention?) Not only that but she had obviously tried to get herself loose and had it wrapped around quite creatively on an upside down tree stump beside her. Knowing how she gets when she is scared, I was not surprised to see the rest of the leash wrapped round all of her legs, like a cat's cradle, so she couldn't move an inch. 
The rabbit just watched. Immy was silent. She never complains about anything. She just endures. 
🎶"Whoa-oh, I knew I was falling in love..."🎶

It took about ten minutes to get her untangled from herself. 
Gosh she must've heard me crying and calling for her all over town, from her tangled web on this dark vacant lot. I wonder what she was thinking. Feeling. 
As soon as she was loose I hugged her and hugged her and hugged her. She is not usually tolerant of much affection but she was hugging me back. 
She was thrilled to get into the car. I wish I had a picture of her and Joey when they reunited at the car window.
But no more pictures when I have a dog on a leash. 

We headed home. 
🎶"...and so I told her all the things I'd been dreamin' of..."🎶

I had to be calm. I had to have faith. I had to stop crying and Be Still.
The stress. The adrenalin! Imagining the worst.
The moment I stopped worrying and put my faith in God and all the rest of us, everything turned around. 

I came home to hundreds of prayers from my frantic posting on Facebook two hours earlier (gosh it was only two hours? It felt like ten!) A very kind and helpful call came in from the local Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department who had received a call from a friend in Connecticut about my lost dog, wondering if they could help. (I was a little nervous, I thought they might have been calling me because I had been driving off-road all over the town screaming "IMMY!" and carrying on). I also received a call from an Animal Communicator friend I had met in Sedona who has expertise in Finding Lost Pets, calling to offer to help me free of charge to locate Immy. And one of my home care patients who is now a Facebook Friend offered to drive down with her husband to help me try to find her. Wow. I am overwhelmed with the care and concern and offers to help us tonight.  

What an adventure. She's exhausted. Joey's exhausted. I'm exhausted. 
But we're happy.  🎶So Happy Together 🎶

When you lose something precious and then get it back, you make sure to fulfill your promises. No more taking photos along our walks. It's going to take some discipline for me, based on my history. 
🎶"Now we're together every single day...
We're so happy and it's how we're gonna stay..."🎶

You do what you have to do and you honor your Promises. 
🎶"..Do wa diddy diddy dum diddy do..." 🎶

Night Night Miss Immy.  

Lyrics Do Wah Diddy by Manfred Mann
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry
My apologies ahead of time if this song sticks in your head for the rest of the night too! 


Only Gone From Your Sight: For Humans. Coming December 2018.

Written in the style of "Only Gone From Your Sight: Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss & Grief," Book 6 shares material that applies to human beings but includes additional material related to planning, options for end of life care and encouragement and support to help humans with their loss of their human loved ones.   



Sacrificial Lamb: On Adoption

So often I wonder where I belong?
Those around me are open-armed.
They've cared for me and loved me so;
Ensured that I've not been harmed.

They adopted me from someone
Who, for one reason or another,
Couldn't care for me and gave me up
To another kind of mother

Who loved me as her own and he
Did just the very same.
My Dad gave me my role model,
My confidence, my name.

But who had this nose? These eyes? This hair?
These questions haunt me so!
And the biggest one of all is why
They had to let me go.

Were they too poor?
Were they too young?
To take care of their child?
Or to take care of each other?
Might they have reconciled?

These questions haunt me all the time!
What kind of life would I
Have had if Mommy kept me
And wound not have said goodbye?

Perhaps I would have been a prince
In some faraway place.
Perhaps a pauper on the streets,
My family a disgrace.

I lead two lives and when I take
The time to really ponder,
I look up in the endless sky
And cannot help but wonder

The infinite possibilities!
I try to visualize
How I'd feel, how I'd react
If I saw my mother's eyes.

The drive is there to seek the truth
Disappointing it may be.
Would I feel for this strange woman
Who gave my life to me?

My eyes refocus from the sky
I come back down to earth;
I look at what surrounds me now,
I think of what's it's worth.

Some people live their lifetimes
Never knowing they are loved.
Conceived by accident in youth,
Inevitably shoved

Aside for more important things
They learn to fret and worry.
Seeking love they find indifference
And they grow up in a hurry.

In the possibilities
Of the "what ifs" and the "whys"
I know that I've been blessed
When I come to realize

How very lucky I have been
To have had parents styled
To be conscious of their need
To want and love and child.

My parents chose to take me in
Their lives with welcomes warm.
No fear, no hesitation,
Simply glad that I was born!

So I feel I've always been a gift
Somehow I'll always know
That I'm considered precious
As I find my way and grow.

And through the years this strength will
See me through the darkest days.
Self confidence will guide me
As I share my loving ways.

From the book, "One Heart's Journey"
© 1999 by Kate McGahan 


Book 4 Now Available in Paperback!

This little book will answer every question you ever asked about the end of life -- and some you haven't thought to ask yet.  Let Jack guide you gently through the decisions, the Stages of Grief and into the Healing that will show you that you have become so much more for the love you have shared. 

Charlie's Story is Unfolding

Once Upon A Time a golden cat was abandoned on the busy highway at the edge of a sleepy border town.... 

It's another true story!  Our lives are a little different now since returning from a recent week in New York. While we were away this orange cat took up residence on our porch. He made himself quite at home ...and he has never left. Having already become the local "Resident Cat" here in our neighborhood, life is really quite good for him. Yet he has no home to call his own. He clearly had a loving home at one time, for he is loving, tame, domesticated, clean and smart! Yet he survives within the feral community around us, for the girls come around to see him, neutered and all.  

Will he take up residence with Kate and Joey and Immy?  Will he choose to go with Katsy, who is lonely and wants him desperately to live with her and who gives him all the comforts of home?  Will he adopt himself into the feral community where Tiny, the elderly man next door puts out a Friskies Buffet every day and leaves his door open for 'his' cats to freely come and go? Or perhaps he will choose to stay with Dennis, the loving owner of the park, who waits for Charlie to make his daily rounds and who, with his poodle's approval, allows Charlie to roam freely in and around his house. It was Dennis who arranged for him to be neutered. It was Dennis who started calling him "Ocher" for his color, long after Kate started calling him "Charlie." "Charlie," because not only does he somehow look like her father, Charles, he is the spitting image of Charles's little cat Barney, who fell through the ice at their Canandaigua home many long years ago.  Who IS this golden feline? 

Destiny is at work once more. How it will end? Find out soon, as Jack McAfghan tells the story that is By Design and unfolds in the lives of those in the sleepy little border town in Arizona.  

Subscribe to updates at

We'll keep you posted on progress! 

"Only Gone From Your Sight" - #1 New Release on Amazon

Only Gone From Your Sight:
Jack McAfghan's Little Guide to Pet Loss & Grief
by Kate McGahan



It was hard for friends to know how to comfort her. After all, I had been like her child, her boyfriend, her husband and her best friend all wrapped up in one furry package. Pets can become like family members especially for those who do not have a family of their own.
You might find it difficult to open up your heart and talk with most people because you fear they might think you crazy for loving me more than you’ve loved any human. All too many who deeply grieve the loss of a pet have been ‘reassured’ by a statement from a well-meaning friend, “It’s just a dog/ cat/ horse/ hamster/ rabbit/ parakeet... You can get another one.” Forgive them for they know not what they do or what they say.
   Even other animal owners might not understand. Some people who own pets are only master, not friend, and they miss out on the best parts of the human-animal bond. If only they could see that we are there to teach them and to give them the love that has otherwise been missing in their lives. The love most humans do not know how to give…or receive. These are the people who might laugh or sneer at you now when you call me your soulmate because they never have heard of such a thing. They think that all soulmates are romantic relationships between two people, not loving relationships between two beings, two friends, two soul travelers such as us. Pity them for what they do not know. Pity them that they cannot treat anyone else better than they treat themselves. Pity them for the love they’ve never had or recognized.
Love is chemistry beyond our control. When true love comes into your life it can transform you in the most extraordinary ways and change everything you ever believed in. You are never sure where true love is going to come from and it can be quite a surprise when it comes from your pet.
While it may sound strange that someone can grieve more deeply for a pet than for a human, there is a certain undeniable depth that comes from sharing a life of unconditional love. It doesn’t matter how many legs I have or how many you have, it’s a soul connection. No matter how we found each other, no matter how long we have been together, it is a relationship like no other. I have given you the kind of love that takes humans a lifetime to learn, if they ever learn. I know the power of love and I want to give it to you. It is the most powerful force in the universe. I came into this world to give true love to you and to draw true love out of you. How many people in your life do that?
Of course people do the best they can, giving and receiving their imperfect human love. There are a few special people on earth who are very old souls and they are capable of loving at a very deep level. They give the highest form of love; love that is divinely pure, honest and unconditional. It holds the loved one more precious than oneself. It sacrifices without complaint, without resentment, without keeping score. It gives and gives and expects nothing in return. It’s the same kind of love that I have given to you. I came into the world to love and be loved and I chose you. Love is why I came here. You are the reason I came. My love has become a part of you but you don’t seem to understand that yet. When I am gone you don’t seem to know who you are without me. You don’t know your identity without me. I will teach you. I will teach you through life and I will teach you through death. I will teach you that love never dies.
When you love from the depths of the soul in your heart, you are never apart from the one you love no matter how far away you seem to be. Even when I am gone from your sight, I am never gone from your heart. We live in the heart of one another for eternity, beyond the reaches of this world. The love runs deep. That's why it hurts so much for so long when we have to say “goodbye”. That’s also why you will get through this. Our love runs so deep that nothing can touch it, no, not even death. Our love will win. It always does when it is true.

I tried to comfort her. I spoke in a voice she could not hear. her grief and sadness drowned me out. I wanted to tell her what I have always known. That life is but a dream leading to love. Love, more powerful than her fear could ever be. Love cannot be destroyed. It grows and grows until it is stronger than death. 

Soulmates change all the rules in the game of life. We have been brought together, you and me, by a common destiny. We have known each other before and we will know each other again. I will continue to transform you from beyond the grave and help you to see that love is more valuable and powerful than anything else.
There will be others who will not understand this kind of love. They will raise their eyebrows as they stand in judgment of you and comment how silly it is that you loved me this much. Don’t worry about them. I feel sorry for them. They obviously have never encountered a soulmate of their own or they would know better. They would know that traditional rules do not apply when a match is made in Heaven. Once you know this kind of love you will never question love again. You’ll know it when you see it. You’ll know it when you feel it. You will never be confused by something that is something else.


Keep Going! Click HERE to preview the first 5 chapters and/or order the book, 
available on Kindle and in Paperback! 

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