Dec 16 2013

Wes Hamil,


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Letting Go, Love, Spirit


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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.



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Wes Hamil is an author and songwriter currently living in Lone Tree, Colorado with his wife Victoria. His book “White Man-Red Road” is available on iBooks and Amazon, and his various recordings are on iTunes, eMusic, CD Baby and other retailers under the artist name Wes and Victoria. His songs can be found on television, in feature films, and on numerous compilations as well.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.

  • AxeGrrl

    Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this

    • Wes Hamil

      Thank You for responding. It is so healing to know that others are connecting.

  • Steppie Royes


    Irwin and I had to deal with the loss of our guinea pig (our first fur-baby together) last month. You would think that dealing with the death of an animal would get easier the more often it happens, but it doesn’t. As volunteers at our local zoo, we grow relationships with the animals we see on a weekly basis, both great and small. We’ve had a number of them die off (goats, sheep, tiger, lion, seal, giraffe, alligator) due to either cancer or old age. We cried for each one
    of them. When Princess, our guinea pig, passed away, we grieved just the same. One of the things listed in “Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” is that everything dies. It’s a tough lesson and sadly not a single one of us can skip it. Our fellow animals have the same problem that we do; their bodies are
    temporary. But I believe they have the same blessing that we have; an eternal soul. Their main purpose is the same as ours, but they do it a lot better and that is to simply love. Sounds like Layla did it quite well. Prayers and blessings to you and Victoria. Great blog!

    • Wes Hamil

      Thank you so much for the kind words! Layla gave us so much, and i deeply appreciate the prayers and blessings. I hope they return to you many times over!

  • Larry

    The tears flowed. Thank you so much for so eloquently sharing you heart wrenching story. God Bless.

    • Wes Hamil

      Larry, thank you for reaching back. I really appreciate the fact that you were able to connect to the story, and God Bless you as well! Safe travels down the trail…..

  • Robin Madsen

    Tears are running down my cheeks. It’s been over 30 years since I lost my beloved Tara, my best friend ever in this world, and she’s still in my dreams. I will always cherish my memories of our time together, years of unconditional love and complete understanding of each other. I know you will do the same with your dear Layla. Thank you so much for sharing this in your time of grief. Bless you both.

    • Wes Hamil

      I am so sorry for your loss. Pain is always present tense, it seems. We appreciate the blessings, and return the same your way! They do run around in our dreams, we have seen Layla a few times since, and it’s comforting to know the love is still out there past the physical separation….

  • michele

    Wes, first, please accept my condolences on the loss of your beloved family member, Layla. I actually read this very early this morning but I was so deeply touched by your beautiful sentiments that I couldn’t respond until now. My family has always included fur babies usually too many. For many years there were 8 four-legged members to the 4 two- legged ones in our home. In September, about a week prior to my beloved partners passing, he started to talk about our shih-tzu, Andi that had passed away almost 2 years ago. He kept telling me that she was with us and she would rest with him when he napped, he didn’t “see” her per se but felt her warm presence. Three days prior to my Larry’s passing, I felt her too and told him that I thought she was in the house as his guardian angel protecting him as he was recuperating from some serious health issues. Later that day while shopping I actually came across a statue of a shih-tzu with angel wings. I was stunned, I took it as a good omen and brought it home. Several hours later, my Larry became septic and fell into a coma, he passed three days after that. I was with him when he left this world. I knew then that our little shih-tzu was not his guardian but rather his guide. I know he heard me when I told him to follow her. I held his hand and felt the slightest squeeze as he did just that. As a medium friend told me at his service, Andi led my Larry to the rainbow bridge where not only his mom but his beloved four-legged family enfolded him in their love. I have no doubt that it is true. There is no love as pure or unconditional as the love that our pets give us not only in this life but always. Thank you for your beautiful heartfelt words. The timing of this blog was almost too much for me to bear emotionally. I like to think there is a reason and a message in that as well..

    • Wes Hamil

      Michelle, please accept my deepest sympathies as you go through this grieving. I am also completely convinced that Andi was there to help Larry into the Light. These bonds forged through Love endure beyond all limitations of perception and physical boundaries, and I believe they become infused in the souls we are all growing as part of our journeys. I am so sorry for your loss, and am touched that you were moved to share this story. I will be sending up prayers for you, Larry and Andi on ceremony this weekend, and wish for you some peace during what has to be a difficult period of change right now…..many blessings. Walk In Beauty. Wes

  • Daphné Battaglia

    Your wonderful article brought tears in my eyes… The death of an animal is something really painful, because they give us all their love, all their trust, and they share their life with us… They are a part of the family.

    Few weeks ago, my family and I had to euthanize our beloved cat. After 19 years of kindness and complicity, Noisette left us… She arrived at home when I was 1 year old, so that was like she was by my side all my life.

    She was like a sister for me, a faithful and silent best friend who was lying ON me when I didn’t feel well… purring all the time… An adorable baby. When the vet told us she had a big tumor who slowly started to inflate her belly, and when he add he could’nt do anything because she was too old for an intervention, we had to make a decision. I was absolutely not prepared for this.

    It was something really, really painful. She fell asleep in my arms, on my heart. When she left us… a part of my heart broke.
    I’ll miss her forever.

    My sincere condolences for your loss. Your Layla was really adorable, so cute, I can feel love and kindness through his eyes.

    Thank you for sharing this with us : beautiful tribute and poignant story.
    Bless you