It’s a rainy morning here in "mostly always sunny south Florida”. I’m sitting out on our screen porch, which is my favorite place to be when it’s raining. I’m missing my “side kick” that usually accompanies me in this morning adventure. When I wrote the bio for this website, I wrote about how on most days you can find me back here on the porch, with my trusty companion… “My fifteen year old killer Cockapoo, CharlieBean-dog.” He would sit right next to me with his head pressed up against my thigh. This has been his behavior since the day he joined our family fifteen short years ago. He was born a cuddle pup.
It has been about a year and a half since C.B. lost his sight and over the last six months he began to experience hip problems. As I talk with friends I hear this diagnosis more often than not. It seems to be the way it goes for our senior dogs these days. My Charlie-boys heart and lungs were strong, and he just kept going. But things had gotten progressively worse since the holidays and I kept wondering if I was going to be required to make that sad drive to the vet’s office one day. I prayed diligently that he might just go to sleep one day and not awaken, but that was not to be.
A few people said to me, “You will know when its time” or “He will let you know.” Well, earlier this week, those prophetic words came to pass, and He did, and I knew.
If there has ever been a peacefulness in one of these last trips to the vets office, then I guess we had one, and I’ll leave it at that.
Meanwhile, Mr.Wonderful and I are lost, feeling like empty nesters all over again. We didn’t realize just how much our duties with C.B. had begun taking over our time. Yesterday, I stayed away from the house for as long as I could, and then when Mr.W got home we left again, trying to avoid the emptiness that awaits us here. "This is going to take some time" I hear from friends. The loss of a pet is the loss of a family member. My Charlie was my sons puppy when he was twelve years old. These dogs usually stay on with you when your children leave home, and fill the void left behind. In them we still have a piece of our children’s childhood and the promise that they will return home to visit and everything will be as it was. For others that have no children, their pets are their children. I have many people in my life like that, and losing their pets has been devastating for them. It’s just such a hard thing, no matter what.
About two weeks ago, I began writing a letter to myself about letting go. One of those exercises you learn in counseling, church camp or writing courses (funny, who knew there would be a correlation between those things?) I have struggled so much with the practice of “letting go” in my own life, so this is certainly no exception. If I’m in your life, chances are you’ve known me for most of your life, I don’t give up too easily. Anyway, I share these words from that letter here with you today. Maybe it will be helpful to you in some way. Meanwhile, I’ll be here on the porch missing my companion and writing to you from our little yellow house.
How do you know, when its time?
In a marriage, a friendship, a family pet, a job, a home, a dream not fulfilled?
It’s hard to move on…
Feelings to consider, the feelings of others, obligation, guilt, tangled circumstances.
Tough things that each of us have to face in our lifetime.
There is no clock, no calendar, no real right or wrong
Each circumstance is unique
But if you listen with your heart
You will know the time
And you will take comfort in knowing:
That you have tried your best
Given it your all, Served with your whole being
Loved with abandon and that you are being true to your own self
Release with the same hands with which you’ve clutched to it so tightly
Relax and let go of the negative talk that seeks to ridicule you in your own mind
Cling tightly to the sweetness that remains
Burn the fond memories into your very being
And let all else dissolve
Leave the rest behind
With a sweet abandon
Walk forward and go on