Sometimes it is good to dust off your portfolio and update its look.  This older video that was completed a few years ago fits that thought to a “T”.  The pictures and clips in this touching video are primarily comprised of sweet moments and events that took place in 2012.

It is not easy to describe the creative process that goes into the planning of a video.  However, I feel that if I’m going to share it, a quick timeline of my method helps you, the reader better understand the reason I had at the time to put it together.  “Mirrors of Our Reflections” is no different.

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Sophie Chardonnay - As captured by Abbey at Dylan Blue Photography

Sophie Chardonnay – As captured by Abbey at Dylan Blue Photography

You said you created this video two years ago, why share it now?

Well, for starters, I did not have a blog back then.  This video file was on my iTunes account and I had shown it a few times to my family and friends.  That is why I have made videos for so long now.  It allows grandparents, neighbors and other family and friends to enjoy a special look into the goings on in our immediate family, in a poetic fashion.  These video milestones which are captured might otherwise stay locked away on a hard drive backup on my computer for years.

To be more specific to your question, I am sharing this video now because of a tragic event that took place a few days ago, which compelled me to try as I may, do something special to honor a very dear friend.

Everyone has their own unique ways of mourning a loss.  Last Sunday, we lost our dog, Sophie.  Even if you are not a dog owner, you will probably admit that dogs are such a unique friend who never wavers in their loyalty, love and devotion to you.  All they request from you is that you love them back.  As far as I’m concerned, Sophie our lovely papillon was touched by the hand of God and placed in our lives at the perfect moment of our marriage.  She taught my wife and me and eventually our three children, with the greatest of ease, how to love unconditionally.

“Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake was picked for this video primarily because of my daughter’s dancing in front of a mirror at the Georgian in downtown Athens one evening when we were having a fun family dinner.  That moment of spontaneous dancing was what initially inspired me to create the video in the first place.  However, this past Sunday evening, the meaning of that song took on a whole different meaning.

“A whole different meaning?”  Could you please explain?

My wife and kids and I had gone to Atlanta on Sunday for a family get together.  Upon arriving back home in Athens later that evening, we could tell something was very wrong with Sophie.  She had suddenly, over the course of the day, lost all of her spunk and had a somewhat distant gaze in her eyes.  In my heart of hearts I had a terrible feeling that our 12 and 1/2 year old dog was in trouble.  We had only one option, take her to our local emergency vet in hopes that the doctor could just get her an i.v. and some medicine and all would be okay.

It was not meant to be.  Sophie’s kidneys just weren’t working anymore and she was struggling to hold on.  God bless Dr. Brandon and his staff at the Athens Area Emergency Vet Hospital, they tried everything to help her and at one point were somewhat optimistic that she might pull through.  We had been there for two hours and really needed to get our kids to bed for some rest for the first day of school the next day.  Dr. Brandon told us he would call us with good or not so good news as needed throughout the night.  Around 11:30 that evening, my phone rang and within the first few utterances of words from the doctor, I could tell that Sophie just wasn’t going to be able to fight anymore.  We called a neighbor to sit at our house while the kids slept and Jennifer and I drove quietly back to the vet.

We were a few minutes away from the animal hospital and Jennifer asked for me to at least turn on some music because the sad silence was not making things any better.  After one change of the station, the wonderful song, that was special to us just because I had made a family video out of it years before came on and it was “Mirrors”, of course.

‘Cause with your hand in my hand and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there’s no place we couldn’t go
Just put your hand on the glass
I’ll be tryin’ to pull you through
You just gotta be strong

‘Cause I don’t wanna lose you now
I’m lookin’ right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I’ll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin’ back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along

It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me

With tears in our eyes, Jennifer and I drove quietly, we both knew what each other were thinking.  As the song continued, I think I remember Jennifer finally speaking up in a higher pitched voice than usual because she was fighting back her sadness and emotions, “It’s perfect“.  She was right.

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Sophie waited for us to get there to see her.  She was in no pain and looked peaceful almost as she was reflecting back in a mirror at a life well-lived.  She brought such joy each and every day to us and our children and neighbors.  Jennifer leaned in and kissed her as Sophie turned towards her ever so slightly as if to say “I love you mom” one last time.  I then, outwardly trying my best to be the emotionally stronger of the two of us, leaned in to Sophie as well and began to cry.  I gave her a kiss, rubbed her little butterfly ears and told her, “If you need to go now, it’s okay“.  With the doctor standing behind us, I slowly pulled back and hugged on Jennifer.  Sophie slowly moved her head and with one long last breath of life, she peacefully passed away on her own terms.  Dr. Brandon told us that every now and then a dog will wait for its owners before passing on.  It was truly an amazing experience to behold.  Like an award winning author, Sophie, our beautiful little papillon wrote her final chapter of a well lived and well loved life.  She wasn’t just a dog, she was perfect in every aspect in life and in death.


As stated, this video was completed a few years ago.  Luckily, I had never finalized it and deleted the framework of the editing process of the video.  I went back last night and updated it for the last time as my own personal tribute to Sophie.  I certainly hope you enjoy this video.

Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
-Anatole France

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