Our dog, Breyer, passed away nearly two years ago, before we moved to London. We had her cremated, and we brought her ashes with us in a beautiful wooden box. That box is displayed on the ledge of the opening between our kitchen and our lounge. It’s not the final resting place we had envisioned for our beloved husky.

Back in May 2014 when Breyer passed, we were making our preparations for moving to England later that summer. It was a difficult time, as she was 14 years old and had been a part of our family for 10 years. Since we knew we would be leaving our house behind, we thought it would be fitting to spread her ashes on the Fox River, where we had taken her for lots of walks and adventures. However, time got away from us, and the movers moved much more quickly than we realised, so Breyer’s remains ended up making the 4,000 mile move with us (yep, the wooden box came over in our shipping container!).

At the end of last week, I had to have a tough conversation with Jack about this. Steve was going to be traveling back to Chicago, so we thought it might be a good time to take Breyer back and finally spread her ashes on the Fox River. As we started to talk about it, Jack got very upset. And understandably so. So we started reminiscing about Breyer. I asked Jack if he remembered going on walks down the river with Breyer. He didn’t. Then he said something that broke my heart a little. He said, “It’s been almost two years since we moved, and I don’t remember as much about back then.”

So off to my photo archives I went. And I spent over an hour searching through the last several years of Breyer’s life to find some photos to help Jack remember and to tell him the stories about him and his dog. And I was devastated.

As I scrolled through the pictures from folder after folder, there were barely any pictures of Jack and Breyer. I finally found one from the first time Jack got to hold her leash on a walk, but it was one I had taken with my cell phone, so not the best photo ever.


I couldn’t find any from the countless walks and runs we took with Breyer along the river. I couldn’t find any of Jack chasing Breyer around our living room and kitchen as they did on almost a daily basis. I couldn’t find any of the one memory Jack did have, the two of them playing in Breyer’s yard. I felt awful.

Now, I do have many lovely pictures of Breyer. One of my favourites hangs on the wall outside of the boys’ bedroom. Breyer is standing on a couch in my aunt’s screened-in porch at her cottage in Wisconsin. We visited my aunt there one summer when Jack was about 18 months old, and we had a great time. Breyer loved being out in nature and a little more free than she was back home. So I am not completely without good memories captured in photographs.

Breyer 2009

But I did learn a key lesson here. I’m great a taking photos of special occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc), but it’s only recently that I have started to focus on capturing the daily details that make up our lives, the details that I want to make sure we remember.

I took out my camera the other night and photographed Jack as he had a video call with his cousin and best friend, Nick. I snapped a few photos of Colin as he explored Play-Doh, one of his favourite activities lately. And I’ve gotten a few pictures of Reid helping around the house too.




So I’d like to challenge you. How do memories stack up? Will you be able to share them for years to come, even when they start to fade from your mind? Take my Special Family Memories Challenge to see!

As for us, Breyer is staying on the ledge for now. And the boys and I had a great time looking at the pictures I did find and talking about how much we loved our Breyer.