I don’t know how to say goodbye to Dog. My best friend.
Though I think the time has come.
The vet at the ER tonight said massive kidney failure. I keep hoping for some Hail Mary Pass or Lifetime Movie Miracle where my regular vet looks at the data tomorrow and sees something different.
I thought his sad demeanor this week was just an over indulgence of steak and ice-cream at his birthday party. I thought he may have just had a fever and bad tummy ache and needed medication and some doggy pepto bismo.
I just wasn’t expecting to be told that I should say goodbye this weekend.
That’s now. Right now. That’s 24-48 hours.
I saw the movie Gravity a few weeks back. I loved it. For so many reasons I found it profoundly beautiful and stirring.
On the day I watched the movie I was in the process of saying a final goodbye to someone who turned my heart inside out and widened the black hole of a grand canyon that lays within.
Since then I have felt like I am floating untethered in space. He felt like my Hail Mary Pass to love.
On that given day I needed the message of release, renewal, and rebirth to which the movie so eloquently speaks. There was a line that has stuck with me, shot an arrow straight into that black hole. Probably because I’m not particularly good at it.
You have to learn to let go.
Maybe I do. I thought I was getting pretty good at that. I’ve let go of so much over the last 3 years that I thought I would have a period of respite for awhile.
I declared 2013 my year of The Peaceful Heart, because I wasn’t sure I could handle more upheaval and thought it was time to let the Universe know I needed some rest and recovery.
I told somebody back in the spring that I didn’t know if I could take another loss. Any more leave takings of people in my life who held a piece of my heart. At that point I felt I had lost too much and could not bear anymore.
That same somebody held me saying he understood. He wasn’t going anywhere.
He was gone 3 weeks later.
The thing about an old Dog is they don’t want to go. They will never be gone 3 weeks later. They will stay the long haul for as long as life allows them.
I know that my sweet ball of fur is a walking miracle who is only hanging on because of his love for me. I have been clinging to him. Whispering in his ear please don’t leave me… I don’t know if I can do this without you. Please don’t leave me as others have.
He hasn’t. His kidneys have failed. His heart is enlarged. His trachea is collapsed. He has a mass that has subsumed his stomach. And he is still here.
This is what love is. His love for me.
Now it is time to tend to my love for him. I realized tonight that love isn’t about pleading and hanging on, sometimes it’s about letting go.
God I don’t want to. I so don’t want to.
I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to feel the pain of loss, the empty gaps in my life that will exist when the sweet furry heap of love that filled them is gone.
But I don’t want to hurt him. Force him to stay out of obligation. Trap him in a space that does him more harm than good.
That’s not love.
It’s a cage, made out of invisible bars of will and expectation. But still a cage nonetheless.
So tonight I opened my heart to Life. To something beyond myself that I often don’t understand, yet always sense is there. And I cuddled with Dog and told him he has been my very best friend and boon companion. He will never be forgotten.
That I will be here until the end. He can let go if he needs to. I will let go if I need to. I often don’t understand life. But I do understand love. It is about freeing. Releasing. Allowing.
I want to hang on. I so very much do, for I can’t imagine what a day would look like without my best friend.
But even more so, I want not just to love. I want to LOVE.
Love in such a spacious way that freedom and grace prevail. Love in a way that doesn’t seek to chain or entrap, but release another to live over and over and over again… as I want to be released, as I want to Live.
Love in such a way as to allow another to be, BE, with absolute freedom, their true self. Even if that means releasing someone you love before you are ready. Even if it means acknowledging their truth when they tell you they can’t stay. Even if it means you have 24-48 hours left.
Even if it means saying goodbye to your very best friend.
Because Love is about freedom, not hanging on.
Sometimes you have to learn to let go.