What’s a tragic topper to a global pandemic, horrifying murders of innocent black brothers and sisters with escalating violence, economic collapse and record high joblessness…?
The sudden loss of a dear dog in the middle of everything.
2020 has certainly brought a motherload of misery and rocked the world. Once in a great while, something unimaginable happens that shocks the system so suddenly the world appears radically different. Instantly everything is processed with new (usually softer) software. What captured attention yesterday seems unimportant today, and clichés like Don’t take life or loved ones for granted become vividly real. Songs even on the lowest volume reverberate throughout one’s body, trees begin to breathe and look more alive…and old grudges fall away with renewed focus. All that matters are matters of the heart.
Last week, unexpectedly, my husband and I said goodbye to our little dog, Stella. She was 10 years old. The heartbreak has been unbearable. We didn’t have children and Stella was every bit our baby. For anyone who thinks of a furry friend as ‘just a dog,’ there is research confirming that losing a pet can be as intense or worse than losing a person you love.
The grief has felt so significant that I’ve postponed several projects to honor Stella, and allow these waves of love and pain to penetrate the places that need a sacred soul shake-up. Already I feel like a different person than I was a week ago. Stella’s spirit continues to spark magic, even from the afterlife.
First, a little bit about her.
She was pretty damn cute…
She loved tummy rubs…
She was the consummate good girl, but occasionally broke the rules…
She liked to ponder the universe…
She was the model mutt for an Essie ad featuring mommy’s polished paws…
She had many friends…
(She would get SO excited to see certain friends that for the first year of her life she’d often pee upon greeting people. Especially our neighbor Dave.)
Though she didn’t like doggy day care…
But most of all, she spread joy…
If you know me, you may be aware that I talk to animals through a talented intuitive named Sonya. Every communication inevitably brings a few good laughs and many things to think about. I’ve had deeper conversations with my cat than I’ve had with many people.
Our last talk with Stella was particularly poignant. Two days before she left the planet without warning, she told us there was ‘pressure’ in her brain on the left side (which the neurologist’s clinical report confirmed the following day). She also said this:
“Take time every single day to be very present. Be mindful of what’s taking your time and energy. It’s fine to get things done on your to-do list, but coming back into your body is something you both need more of. Take care of yourself first, not everyone else. Please learn from what I’m experiencing before it’s too late.”
Stella would always perk up whenever I put the phone down and follow me into the yard where she’d sit in the shade and watch me water or weed the garden. This simple activity was always more satisfying than tapping away at the mind-numbing technologies of today.
Sonya shared that Stella’s favorite activities were evening walks and being outside with us – simply sitting still and appreciating the beauty of nature.
The day after Stella passed, we talked to Sonya again. We were shocked and confused by the quick turn in her health and wanted clarity about how and why she departed so suddenly. Stella told us to look at her life not by the quantity of years, but by the quality she experienced.
Stella said she accomplished what she set out to do. Her goal all along was to bring a deeper level of love and understanding.
Needless to say, Stella brought loads of love into our home and cracked our hearts wide open on her way out. She taught me that sensitivity is a strength, not something to apologize for or hide. LOVE is the most powerful force of all.
Stella showed that love should be given freely and more often. We all ultimately want and need the same thing. Stella never waited for someone to show affection first. Her love was immediate, healing and unconditional.
In a world where countries and families are fixated on finger-pointing, of noisy polarized politics, horrifying social injustice, a climate in crisis, and a president who gases peaceful protesters and tweets that the best democrat is a ‘dead’ one – I’ll talk to a dog any day.
We asked Stella for some ‘signs’ that she was ok and so far she’s been showing up through white butterflies appearing out of nowhere, significant songs spontaneously playing on Spotify, and a sweet message from my two-year old niece who said, ‘Stella is in my body.’ Yes, she will absolutely live on in my heart as well.
*If you have a pooch who has passed on, I’d love to hear anything you wish to share about your time together in the comment section below ?