When our beloved animals cross over the rainbow bridge-part III-These are the days to remember (like the song.)
I had a dream last week about the subject of today’s blog post, and in that dream I was dictating this into a recorder so that I wouldn’t forget to post it. The topic addresses my continuing series on dealing with grief after the loss of animal companions.
I was thinking about how our animal companions have much shorter lifespans than we do. The 14-15 years that I was graced with having Juneau and Jarvis here with us, I somehow managed to be a little bit in denial that someday they would cross over. Of course some part of me “knew” it would happen, but it was a “far off in the distant future” concept in my mind.
When Jarvis was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, it shook the foundations of my world, a world where I believed I could always protect them & keep them safe. This was something I had no control over. It was past the point where treatment would work. I was able to give him healing Reiki energy and medicine to keep him comfortable, but ultimately his wishes were to simply enjoy the time he had left. Less than a year later Juneau also got sick & followed his brother across the rainbow bridge.
As we enter a third year with our beautiful kittens Gracie Belle and Merlin, I have noticed that sometimes I experience a sense of “energetic overlay” where I am very aware that our time is limited. Hopefully limited as in “20 + years limited,” and of course there are no guarantees, but I am more conscious of time. I have to be mindful not to give in to fears of losing them someday, and instead focus on the only thing we have control over, which is now, today.
Today I can make sure to indulge Gracie Belle when she wants me to stay in bed longer for an extended snuggle, smiling as she purrs, today I can play for an extra few minutes with Merlin even though I am running late already, and watch him smile as he chases a ribbon toy. I can treasure each second we spend together and be fully present when they need me. Of course there are lots of times when we simply sit together and maybe they sleep on my lap while I read or watch tv, but when they ask for attention they get it. Because even as I am grateful for each minute, I now know these are finite. I think once we have gone through that type of loss & grief, it takes an extra dose of strength each time to adopt again, to start over, in a sense, knowing that the end result will be the pain of separation.
But it is not about the end result, it is about all the days & hours in between, no matter how many we are lucky enough to have. About lives shared & lived fully together. About memories and love that does last forever & transcends lifetimes on earth. And I have found the best way for me to deal with that is to remain in the present as much as possible, grateful for the sweetness, every single moment of it.
*The hawk in the photo was perched on our garden gate the day we adopted Gracie Belle & Merlin, in the morning before we went to the adoption event. I thought it was a lovely sign.