Have you had one of the days? One of those days when everything goes just right? You go to bed feeling good about life with a big smile on your face? I have been having more of those days lately. I like it. It feels really good.
I am not sure what exactly the trigger was the other night. I had a really great day! Maybe GOD thought I could handle it. Maybe it was because my mom has been in pain lately. Maybe it was because my cousin’s daughter had to put down her beloved horse.
It doesn’t really matter which one was the trigger, I suppose. Maybe it was all of the above!
I was lying in bed smiling, feeling great, thinking over the events of the day, when this memory surfaced out of nowhere and an overwhelming wave of grief filled me and poured out of me, leaving me lying there with heart wrenching sobs while my tears soaked my pillow.
My first dance with cancer had been a very challenging one. And my two dogs were with me, literally, every step of the way.
Post surgery and post fighting for my life in the hospital, I literally looked like the Michelin man. I was bruised and swollen from head to toe. I felt like I was twice my size. So I would try and go for little walks, to build up my strength again and to, in some way, get my lymphatic system working.
I couldn’t go very far by myself safely, being so swollen and weak I was not very steady on my feet. So I would just walk up and down our long driveway. My dogs would walk with me, one on either side. And sometimes my cats would come with us on these slow plodding walks. I was very grateful to have their love, their support, and their encouragement. Chloe and Benjamin never got distracted on these walks. They stayed focused on every slow step that I took.
My six month all clear checkup should have been a time of celebration. But instead, my sweet Benjamin was diagnosed with cancer. And there was nothing I could do for him! My vet told me to take him home and enjoy the time that I had left with him. I was devastated!
Benjamin deteriorated quickly. As my familiar, it was as if he had absorbed my cancer. One night, he insisted on going outside around midnight. I let him out and sat down to wait for him. But he didn’t come back.
I pulled on my rubber boots and went out in my nightie to look for him. I must have looked quite the sight! But I didn’t care. My only concern was for Benjamin. He didn’t come when I called. I didn’t see him anywhere.
Suddenly, I heard this howling that chilled me to the bone and made my hair stand on end! It was coming from down by our pond.
I raced down to the pond only to find Benjamin up to his chest in the mud and water, howling up to GOD to take him home! I called to him but it was as if he didn’t see me or hear me anymore.
I was becoming hysterical because I knew he was dying. I didn’t really want him to go yet. And I certainly didn’t want Benjamin to drown in our pond. Disregarding the cold and the mud, I waded in and grabbed Benjamin and began to drag him back to shore.
I was still weak from my disastrous surgery and my near-death experience. But somehow, GOD gave me the superhuman strength to half carry half drag my now unconscious Benjamin back to the house.
I pulled open our front door and collapsed with Benjamin in a pool of mud. I called out to my husband. He came running out from the bedroom and I remember him looking down at us from the kitchen. I don’t know who was crying more. Him or me.
The next day, our vet kindly came to the house so that we could say goodbye to Benjamin in the fresh air, under a canopy of cedar and Douglas fir.
But did I have a chance or give myself the time to grieve my Benjamin? A dog that I had since he was just eight weeks old? A dog that was the only child I would ever have?
No. I did not. Trauma and drama seems to come in waves for me and my family. Shortly after Benjamin’s passing, my mom had a serious heart attack. Followed by my sister having a mild heart attack. That heart attack triggered an MS episode so severe that my sister was hospitalized and would require 24 hour care for the rest of her life. This was followed by my older brother having a heart attack and passing away just shy of his 47th birthday.
Did I grieve all this trauma and drama? No. There was just too much of it to process. I just couldn’t. It was like I couldn’t breathe. So I stuffed it all down and got a rescue dog for the distraction and to fill the void instead.
My losses and my grief are not things that I discuss, as a rule. There is just so much of it that they become overwhelming for me and I am sure that it becomes overwhelming to those I care enough about to share of myself.
So why am I sharing with you now? That’s a fair question.
I started and stopped the writing of this story half a dozen times this past week. As usual, I did not want to share something so personal. I did not want to pick the scab off the wound. But Spirit has been very insistent this week that I share with you.
As humans, we are emotional. We feel the full range of emotions. And we are meant to. From grief and despair to joy and bliss. And they are all good. The problem begins when emotions become stuck. Emotions that have not been felt to their fullest and released, especially lower vibrational emotions like grief. When emotions are not fully felt and released they become like a muck or sludge in your energy field and can manifest as disease.
I know of that which I speak.
What is interesting about the other night however, when the memory of Benjamin’s passing came out of nowhere and overwhelmed me with grief, was that, this time, things were different. I was able to process the grief.
I have experienced so much loss and grief in my life that usually, when a memory is triggered, I will be a wailing sobbing mess for a brief time, and then I stuff it all back down again. So only a minute amount of emotion is processed and released.
But, the other night, I experienced something new. The grief and loss overwhelmed me, filled me, poured out of me as usual. Then, unexpectedly it changed. And, like a river, it washed over me, through me, cleansed me, and then it was if I watched it float away! All that remained was the love I had for my Benjamin. I felt lighter. I felt renewed.
Who would have thought that you would hear me say that experiencing grief was a beautiful thing?!
Maybe this is why Spirit wanted me to share.
I believed I had already been doing a lot of emotional work on my healing journey. I believed I had worked through and released all the grief and loss and anger and fear that I have held in my body all my life. But I learned last week, probably for the first time if I am honest with myself, what it is like to truly experience an emotion fully and then to release it.
What a gift! Thank you GOD.