Time Given to Us

“I wish none of this had happened.

So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
This was taken March 31, 2020

Kiki died in her sleep on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Before we went to bed that evening, we spent time on the golf course under the spring breeze and sunset. I blew bubbles as I rubbed her and Chibi investigated the surrounding area. We went for a walk but she hadn’t eaten and barely drank water that day.

Wednesday morning I woke, jumped off the couch and into the shower while I could and before her presumed whining started. I got dressed, came out to the living room, and didn’t hear her call for me. I walked over and noticed she was not breathing. Kneeling next to her, I reached out and found her body was cold. I had been in contact with the mobile vet to set up her appointment for euthanasia earlier in the week. This time, I was asking them what I should do next now that she had passed. They responded immediately and suggested that I reach out to Best Friends Pet Cremation. I called, but it was before hours so the answering service provided details and took my information. I was grateful for the kindness and tried rather unsuccessfully not to cry throughout the conversation. The thoughtful team called me back immediately when they opened. Because of social distancing practices, they took payment over the phone. They asked that I deliver her body to their facility, remain parked in my vehicle, and call back upon my arrival so someone could meet me at my jeep.

I wrapped her in a royal blue towel (for the QUEEN that she was). I slowly made my way to their facility and I did as instructed. A kind woman came out with a face mask, gloves and surgical gown, carrying a small basket to take her away. Again, I tried not to cry as I watched her walk away, and again, rather unsuccessfully. I decided to go for a drive heading east on Menaul to Tramway I took Tramway North through the North Valley. I decided to drive through my childhood neighborhood before returning home. I informed my minis and then shared socially.

My heart was absolutely shattered. She was the DIVA QUEEN in my life with so much personality. However, the experience made me think about two things. First, I was so incredibly grateful to be home during this time. If she didn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep. Not having to go to work, I didn’t have to worry about sleeping through the night. From March 17th through April 7th, she was basically right next to me (unless I tried to escape for a shower, the bathroom or to make something to eat). However, the rest of the time, I was holding her, taking her for walks or outside to use the bathroom, giving her baths when she did have accidents, and setting up her bed right by my yoga mat or in my Atelier. The second thing that occurred to me is while we’ve been confined to our homes, life still goes on. Life and death. I can’t imagine funeral services during this time and not being able to gather to mourn a loved one. It was hard with Kiki, but again I was grateful to all my family and friends that mourned with me and sent flowers. It truly helped.

Walking in sunshine, rain and snow…yes, sometimes it snows in April.

That night I was able to sleep in my bed for the first time since February 8th. It was quiet, too quiet, and I didn’t sleep well. Chibi and I continue our walks and he’s become entirely too spoiled. I am trying to create a routine for him that I can keep up with upon my return to work.

I love when our memories pop up…this, 5 years ago.

The following week was another emotional roller-coaster dotted with Easter and not having the availability celebrate with my family and Jennifer’s memorial anniversary. During the month of March, our Macy’s team had designated Roadrunner Food Bank as our Bag Hunger campaign recipient. What this meant was that our change round-up campaign benefited the organization, we had a monetary goal for employee donations, and we were to volunteer hours at their facility. Unfortunately, all of this was cut short. So I decided the best way to honor my friend, was to volunteer for this organization, that I knew needed the help right now.

Her memorial anniversary fell on Friday, April 17th this year. I knew I wouldn’t be able to volunteer without some emotional barrier that day. I opted to volunteer on Wednesday, April 15th. I arrived at the facility with some apprehension.

Always introverted, within the past month, I had almost become recluse and agoraphobic (I can’t go to enclosed places with large crowds, having anything I can delivered, and when wearing the mask, I feel like I’m suffocating). So when I arrived at the parking lot, it took everything for me to get out of the jeep.

Roadrunner was completely organized with each required step listed on large boards. First, volunteers would proceed to bathrooms to thoroughly wash their hands. Then, we stood in a socially distanced line to put on gloves, complete a waiver and volunteer expectations form. Next, we waited until we received instruction. There were approximately 30-40 volunteers during this shift, ranging in age, and the room was completely silent and almost eerie with the lack of purposeful excitement that volunteering brings. We were broken up into groups. My group was assigned to build frozen food boxes. Again, we started off quietly, but as we got in our grove, we began to work in a rhythm and with a sense of camaraderie. The majority of the boxes contained pork roast, Alaskan pollock fillets, a block of cheddar cheese, a pint of milk (until the supply ran out), ham, and frozen peaches. It was the hardest manual labor I’ve done in a month yet incredibly soul filling. I was grateful I followed through on my commitment. It was the best was to honor my friend.

That week, I also shared my favorite photos of her throughout the years. I don’t know why I always feel weird about doing that, but I do. Such an incredible beautiful soul, I just need my reminders of her every so often.

Now that my schedule wasn’t completely dictated by a 12 lbs pug, I kind of fell into a path of nothingness. I had fallen off my Keto diet, my sleeping pattern was a mess, I wasn’t doing much more that two walks a day, and had binged on more Netflix than I’d like to admit to while probably, nah let’s get real, definitely, having too much wine. That lasted for about a week. I let myself slip down this slope until I kicked my own ass into gear.

I started jumping on invitations for virtual happy hours and socially distanced picnics in the park. I started walking the Bosque (creeping upto 30 miles now), running, pulled out my P90X dvds, and added time to Madfit and Yoga with Adriene, all while ensuring Chibi got his time walking.

While running one morning, I realized it had been two months since I had seen my gram even though I run through her neighborhood often. I reached out to my aunt and asked if it would be okay to run by, call her when I’m out on the street and have her and my gram come to the door. As much as I wanted to hug her and go inside or to her beautifully manicured backyard garden, she is 90 years old, so I stayed about 30 feet away as I asked her how she was doing, and about her garden. She asked about me and my minis. She too was upset about Kiki’s death (they had a mutual love for each other). I blew her kisses, and made my way down the road, eyes filled with tears.

Throughout this time, I’d hear from family and friends asking about Project Runway. The season was planned to start tapping in June with the big reveal on the winner during SS21 NYFW. I had been reading different articles about designers and fashion weeks, in general, canceling or postponing fashion week related events. It wasn’t until April 22nd, that I received a message that I knew in my heart of hearts I’d receive.

I was grateful that it wasn’t the “thanks for your time but no thank you message”. I am grateful for all of you reading who have supported me before and after. It really helps me in times like this. It also makes me laugh, because of course I’d be invited and move through the process during a global pandemic. If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all. LOL!

Sadly, I haven’t been entirely inspired to create beyond sketching and draping fabric on my dress form. I am still hoping for a burst of inspiration, even as Paris Fashion Week is feeling a little out of grasp this year.

Travel memories and images that make me SMILE (IG: HauteNMGirl)

I tried to stay off of social media and the news, unless it was to share beautiful things and to read things that wouldn’t make me crazy. BUT, I missed (and still do) my people. As an introvert with “Chandler” smile (and only comes alive when feeling the warmth of a kindred soul), I’m totally missing you during this time. There were a number of years that I didn’t like to take photos. I used the excuse that I’m behind the camera. Just know that when it’s ok to do so, I will be hugging on you tightly, taking photos (Chandler smile y todo), scheming ways to better impact the community and creating wicked fashion.

https://www.facebook.com/dara.sophia13/videos/10219659818300007/

I don’t consume my time with the news. However, there have been a couple of things that have ABSOLUTELY boggled my mind (beside the lack of leadership of our egotistical, and completely senile President—that would be a completely different post except his ego loves for ANY mention of him).

There is so much wrong with these pictures

The first thing that I just can’t wrap my head around is that as an industrial nation, we don’t have the infrastructure to take the food that is being dumped by farmers and distribute it to food banks and restaurants that are feeding the front-line workers? In my mind, this would be a good stimulus investment, but what the fuck do I know. Honestly, I just don’t get it. Here is one of the first articles I read that infuriated me, CLICK HERE if you’d like to read it yourself. And, there have been so many more since.

courtesy of Brene Brown

The second thing, is found in our backyard, here in New Mexico. I read an article about the Navajo Nation. Now if you follow the news, you’ve learned that the area that encompasses the four corners area, has been hit hard with not only the corona virus, but in high numbers of deaths related to the virus. When you don’t have electricity or running water, it makes it difficult to disseminate information and not to gather to get your basic needs, or to wash your hands for 20 seconds to help stop the spread (WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE WATER). Again, how in the hell is it 2020 and our own brothers and sisters don’t have access to basic needs.

In response to the needs of my neighbors, I’ve opened up my Bonfire account again. This where so many of you reading this have purchased your Hopeless + Cause Atelier to support my trek to New York and London Fashion Weeks. This time ALL proceeds will be split between Roadrunner Food Bank and Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief. The Hopeless + Cause Atelier store will be open through May 15th. If are interested and can support this campaign, I am TRULY grateful. The more sold in merchandise, the more raised for these organizations. To view and/or purchase, visit:

https://www.bonfire.com/store/hopeless–cause-atelier/

This week, as states were starting to slowly open back up, I learned that Macy’s will be opening 68 stores across the country with the remaining 775 stores opening within the next 6-8 weeks. While I don’t have an exact date for my store. It made me happy to realize, that hopefully soon I will get back to what I love.

Of course, the world will be different. Everything I used to do as a personal stylist/shopper will have tweaks. You won’t see my smile beaming, unless you can see my eyes crinkling behind my mask (which will now be required). I will be taking great care to ensure your safety and mine. It is going to be a time of change and everyone will have their way of reacting to it. Here are a few things I will be taking with me.

I came across this posted note as I was exploring London Town last September. At the time, I thought it was one of the many “notes” left by my guardian angels as I kept stumbling upon throughout my trip. I had no idea how prolific it would be. I saw a post this week about this very subject, and as we hope to transition to the new normal, it is worth resharing. 💜

🛑 Some people don’t agree with the state opening…. that’s okay. Be kind.
🏡 Some people are still planning to stay home…. that’s okay. Be kind.
🦠 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind.
💰 Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind.
👩🏾‍⚕️Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind.
📝 Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job….that’s okay. Be kind.
😷 Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind.
💅🏻 Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.

❤️ The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind. We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind. If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind! Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, please be kind!

I’ve always loved looking at the clouds to see what I find. This particular day was a Koi pond.

The other BIG lesson is to appreciate EVERYTHING. The time given to us is all we have, you determine what to do with it. I am sending you so much love and I truly miss you.

With light and love,
Dara Sophia

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