Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Depth Of Our Love

Originally written for and reprinted here with permission from: The Dog Files

The Depth Of Our Love

By Nadine M. Rosin For The Dog Files

There’s little if anything I can think of that brings more instantaneous joy than time spent with a beloved dog. That silly grin, that waggedy tail, the rush you get from flinging your heart wide open without fear or reservation while simultaneously being showered with totally accepting, faithful, and unconditional love. What perfect and precious moments our dogs provide. It’s the stuff great mystics have described, this safe and blissful love.

Our furry apostles are constantly reminding us that regardless of circumstances, worldly events, or economic climate, life is supposed to be fun. It’s to be lived with our awareness seated in the present moment without regret, judgment or betrayal of others. One never needs to protect oneself emotionally with a dog. Instead, they show us by example, how to live freely and love completely.

There have been people in my life who have done or said things that I’ve reacted to by feeling extremely hurt, sad, angry, or irritated, sometimes for years on end. But the truth is, I have never felt irritated or angry towards a dog for more than a few seconds. Our canines embody the highest, best parts of our humanity, and I believe, they make us better people. So, is it any wonder, then, that the death of a beloved dog can cut so deeply, can be so utterly emotionally devastating?

Taoists, quantum physicists, and motivational speaker and author, John Bradshaw, all agree that emotion is energy in motion. But instead, in our culture, we are encouraged to keep our grief, one of the strongest of all emotions, under control, private, and subdued. Above all, we are admired for our stoicism in the face of profound grief. Those who care for us strive to help us get over our pain and loss as quickly as possible- to stop all that emotion, not to take the longer road of letting it move around and out at its own pace. And as pet parents, we are often hurt the worst by the words of well-intentioned friends when they ask us, “So when are you going to get another dog?”

When my heart-dog Buttons, died in my arms 1 week before her 19th birthday, I thought the pain, loss and heartbreak would kill me, too. But as I began to spend less and less time listening to those who were trying to make me feel better, and instead, spent more time surrendering to and leaning INTO the pain, it took me to a place where I could begin to find true, authentic comfort. I found that when I let the emotions move through me and allowed myself to experience them fully, they allowed me access to a place within my own heart that no mantra or meditation had ever taken me to. And there, in that very deepest part of myself, where the agony and the ecstasy merged, there was no pain- there was only love. Because, of course, the depth of our grief is in direct proportion to the depth of our love.

In the nearly 2 decades we were together, I never once saw Buttons try to squelch any of her emotions. Yes, I could have gone out soon after her death, gotten another dog and eased some of my pain, but oh, what a gift I would have missed by not letting that pain lead me into such a deep and special place.

I am honored to be a guest writer for The Dog Files and I look forward to sharing more about my perspective of pet-loss, grieving, and the holistic approach that gave Buttons and me so many joyful and healthy years together. In future columns I will be sharing about the cancer Buttons was diagnosed with at the age of 8 when she was given 6 weeks to live without chemotherapy, radiation and amputation and how she went on to thrive an additional 11 years with exclusively holistic treatments. I will also explore with you, the many tools and paths to emotional healing I have discovered when a beloved animal passes.

But now it’s your turn. Please, share with us about your own heart-dog. Talking about it is a way to put the energy in motion.


TC said...

My heart dog is laying by my side. I lost my other heart dog July 30 of last year, his memorial is on my animals blog. It is hard..I can still cry thinking about him but it's getting better.

Nadine M. Rosin said...

Thanks for your sweet comment, TC. There is a gift waiting for you in the depth of your pain. The more you can lean into that pain, the better it will REALLY be. Keep crying. Be willing to take the hero's journey into the grief. I wish you peace.

Gypsy's Mama said...

I lost my heart dog, Gypsy, a little over a week ago. It feels like it's been ages since I last was able to touch her, to hear the jingle of her collar, the sound of her foot-steps, or her voice as she would greet me when I returned home. She was 11 1/2yrs old, and was 3/4 siberian husky, 1/4 lab. She was the most beautiful dog anyone had ever seen, and the most friendly & happy dog as well. Her absence has left a gaping hole in my life. She came to me as a puppy when I was 19yrs old and has guided me into adulthood, for which I am forever thankful. Now, I don't know how to continue living without her. She was my baby & now I am a mama with no baby. I don't have children, and don't know if I ever will - and she filled that need for me, and now that she's gone - I don't know what to do or how to live. I catch myself looking for her, and listening for her, especially when I first wake up and don't remember right away that she's gone. I got myself into grief counseling & also purchased a couple of books on pet loss, which help in their own ways, but I know that time is going to be the real healer, and I await the time that my Gypsy-girl and I are reunited at the Rainbow Bridge.

Nadine M. Rosin said...

Dear Gypsy's Mama-

I understand and am so sorry for your devastating heartbreak. Of course, I highly recommend you purchase my book- it is truly unlike every other pet-loss book in both its tone (it reads like a novel) and its suggestions (the only way out is in). I know it will bring you great comfort, validation, and empowerment like no other book.