THE GIFT OF LETTING GO
Doing the right thing can sometimes break your heart. When there is no way around but through, when the obvious act of Love is Sacrifice, the only way I can honor the higher angels of my journey is to act upon what I know is called for. Life has shown me there can be a profound difference between comfort and contentment. Chasing comfort at all costs lies near the core of any of my selfish and addictive actions. Acting upon the highest good, despite temporary or even prolonged discomfort, always leads me to a place of contentment. Then there are those times where comfort and contentment show up hand in hand. I always appreciate those times.
My wife Victoria and I recently had to face the heartbreak of doing what was right. We had to euthanize our beloved little poodle Layla. She had been a soul companion to us for over ten years. Born with an enlarged heart, Layla defied every medical prognosis as she progressed through liver disease, congestive heart failure and chronic pain in her journey. That enlarged heart was an easy metaphor to recognize for her huge Spirit. Her energy filled every inch of our home, and those times when she was away the absence was anything but subtle. It was as if someone had tinted the windows and the sunlight was living in its own shadow.
Layla brought Love. That Love helped us through ten surgeries in ten years, numerous hospitalizations, countless struggles. That Love also celebrated every success, every joy with the same laughing face and waggling tail. That Love taught us Loving, and to be able to give love to that little dog grew our own lives in a deeply spiritual way. Layla’s nature was nurture.
Then came the end. The big Spirit began to dim behind the once laughing eyes. The treats were turned away. Then the water. The back yard, once the province of squirrel stalking and barking back at coyotes, became a distant place beyond sliding plate glass. My wife and I had to stare into the unflinching reality of her pain. Still there was the waggling tail. Still the puppy kisses. We knew we had to let her go. She would stay as long as we asked her to, enduring. Love does that.
On her last day we just held her for hours, nurturing her and being close. The grieving starts long before the living ends. The drive to the veterinarian was sacred and slow, windows down, with one last chance for her ears to flap in the wind. Our caregiver was extremely compassionate and kind, having treated Layla for so long. “Love has kept this sweet dog alive for years”, she told us. I could not help but wonder if she meant the giving or the receiving, and in my heart I know it was both.
We walked her into the Light. We laid her small body to rest on the land where we pray and conduct ceremony, next to her old running buddy. The Gift of Letting Go. She now runs free. Through the tears Victoria and I are left with the Gratitude that our Creator Trusted us with such a relationship for so long, and allowed us to give and receive with Layla in a way that grew our souls. I can find contentment in that, though comfort seems far away right now, out beyond the nighttime cries of the coyotes, who have one less voice answering back.