I heard or read somewhere in recent weeks that the risk of loving is loss. Until today, this didn’t really “hit” me.
Today, hearing that a friend’s beloved pet was sent over the rainbow bridge, it is hitting me. And I’m remembering the deep grief that my family has experienced with the loss of a beloved pet. Sam, Nouk, Kelly, Tasha, Lille, Max … all critters who lived with me and were such a big part of my family at one time or another. Who wagged their tail or sat on my lap or went for a walk in the woods with me. Fur family.
Loving is being willing to take a risk. A risk that we can give a piece of ourselves to another being and be embraced and accepted as we are. It’s humbling and makes us very vulnerable when we let a person or a pet have a piece of our heart. The honeymoon phase of love is that new, wondrous, can’t get enough of it which then grows, if we’re lucky, to the place where we can trust and depend on the love to be there for us when we need it. And when we don’t need it. And in return, we show up for them, too. Protection from danger, a comfort when we don’t feel well, sharing in life’s experience both good and not so good.
Pets are so special in that they ask very little in return for the love they lavish on us. They don’t judge us when we don’t feel like taking a shower or getting out of bed. They still love us when we get angry at them because WE forgot to get them outside before they made a mistake. They’re happy to see us when we get home, greeting us at the door, tails wagging. They’re excited about the same old kibble every time we give it to them (in our house, twice daily). They become an essential part of our days and nights.
So, when a pet dies, we experience a deep sense of loss. Perhaps a deeper loss than when we lose human friends. Because who else but our pet can truly love unconditionally? And we can feel it.
I swore, after Lille died, that I’d never have another dog. It was too heartbreaking. But years later, Lola & Boq entered my life and I’ve made them promise that they’ll never die. And while, on some level, I know that’s not possible, it makes me feel better for now. We’ve started to heal from the loss of Max and have invited Monk to live with us in our family. I’m sure I’ll make him promise, too. For today, he’s lucky he’s cute … because he’s so much puppy in a big brown body!
I’ve shed a few tears today for Pokey and for all the humans who loved him. I know he’s romping free of pain on the other side of the rainbow bridge. While the people who loved him mourn his loss with aching hearts.
The risk of love is loss. It’s hitting me today.