The Gift of Grief

June 29, 2016  

On December 16 last year, my beloved 11-year old Boxer dog, Sofie, had a seizure in front of me. It came out of nowhere. She hadn’t been at all sick. She looked great for an 11-year old girl and still had the enthusiasm of a puppy. I rushed her to our vet and as I waited for him to return to the room after taking x-rays, I went into full meditation mode. Breathe. In and out. In and out. In. And out.

Listening to his monotone voice and looking at his expressionless face lulled me, briefly, into a false sense of security. Until I heard the words “lymphoma” and “cancer seizures.” Hot, wet tears rolled down my now expressionless face.

There was nothing they could do for her. “Prognosis: Grave,” read the report. The possibility that she might have another seizure at home while I was at work and die, alone, was a risk I was not willing to take. And so three agonizing days later Misty and I did the thing I had always dreaded but knew I would one day have to do. I had my beautiful dog, my best friend and the true love of my life, put to sleep.

Whilst grieving about my loss to the masses on Facebook, and asking if and when I would ever stop crying, one of my oldest, wisest friends had words for me that stopped me in my tracks. She said,

“Rest assured that Sofie is in a wonderful state of joy and freedom out of her body, as she was with you in her body. A little physics here might be just what the doctor ordered. Energy can not be created or destroyed. Sofie isn’t gone, destroyed, lost, or absent, she is simply in a state that you can not see, and thus don’t trust or experience as easily. Sofie is love, as are you, and can not be separate in that state, only united.”

As impossible and inconceivable as it was for me to wrap my head around my dog being gone, the truth was that everything my friend said to me was exactly what I had always believed about death!

I had often thought about where we come from and where we go when we die, and have always believed that we are energy, a part of the Universe, and that when we die our spirit becomes one again with the Universe. Exactly as Carl Sagan said, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”

But as much as I believed those words, I had only ever gotten to speak of them in theory – no one close to me has ever died, so I have never experienced the bone-shaking grieving process that makes you question your very existence.

One morning early on I woke up at our usual time – 5:30 – and in my half-sleep, grief-stricken state, I softly begged Sofie to come see me, just once. I promised I wouldn’t try to hold on to her. She didn’t come and I fell back asleep.

I dreamed we lived in a two-story house with people living below us, not separated by doors. Sofie went down the stairs to the other apartment, and I went after her. I found her and I picked her up and carried her back up the stairs to our house. She disappeared again, and again I flew down the stairs to get her. Only this time she was gone. I woke up sobbing.

I knew that I had summoned her to me when I had woken up earlier and that she had come to me in my dream, in the only form she could. But I had broken my promise to her – I did hold on to her when I brought her back up the stairs and so she left. I was devastated.

But then something amazing happened. The next morning at the end of my yoga class I was lying in savasana and our teacher had relaxed us up to our eyeballs. She then asked us to focus on our third eye. The instant I did that, my Sofie’s beautiful face popped right in that little window. She said, “Hi Mommy!” I smiled a huge smile and said, “Hi Sofie. Hi baby.” We just looked at each other and then she turned and walked away. In that moment, I knew healing had begun.

My Sofie came to me after all, like the good girl she had always been. She was able to visit me there in that place because, in third-eye gaze, my consciousness was raised to a level where we could meet each other. In my earthbound existence of daily life, in my grief and overwhelming sadness, she could not visit me. We were no longer on the same plane or on the same playing field.

I haven’t seen her since that time. I may never see her again. But my dog loved me so much that she gifted me with the greatest gift I’ve yet to receive. She allowed my beliefs about death to come full circle, something that is surely going to come in handy when those closest to me start to die. To rise above my grief and to allow myself to truly believe – not just in theory anymore – that we are energy that can never be destroyed, only transformed, is a gift I will treasure for as long as I shall live.

I love you, Sofie, even though you are spinning at a higher vibration than I am. You are a part of me and I’m a part of you. As it should be.