It has been incredibly challenging to simply survive this week. One week ago today, my beloved Dexter transitioned to another realm. So far this is a realm I cannot reach. I sincerely thank everyone here for their love and support. My longtime readers know that this year has not been an easy one. Your unwavering loyalty is priceless.
While writing is both my joy and my solace, words have not come easily to me lately. My pain is too great and my motivation too meager. Yet I do have a message to convey and I will attempt to do so to the best of my ability.
The week that Dexter died was a very busy one. While I know the word busy is relative, for me the increase in activity was substantial. Tuesday was the dentist, Wednesday and Thursday Caryn visited me, and Friday I took my car to the shop. Saturday, my last full day with Dexter was a blur, except for posting about master/students late at night. Sunday, of course, was my own private circle of hell. I wish I could remember more of my final day at home with Dexter, but I don’t. Unfortunately the details of last Sunday seem to be on a rotating loop inside my heart.
But I want to go back to earlier in the week to share some resources that have helped me and may help others who “stumble” upon my blog. Caryn and I have not been together in Philly since the 1990s. We did hang out last fall in NY after reconnecting on FB. I plan to blog about what brought me to NY, but that draft is not ready for completion. Caryn and I were so so busy: special Impressionist exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, movie night at an old lovely theater, 2 incredible meals ( one was Indian since we both adore it!) and a mini road trip to Longwood Gardens. Our 2 days were go go go and rather frenetic. The weather was horrible both days and my patience often wore thin. Yet grace did surround us in many ways: a deer crossing on a road where this “never” happens; a “random” encounter with a waiter that was filled with synchronicity, a gratis fruit platter that was a work of art in itself and discounts off our bill; and the sheer joy of watching Caryn frolicking at Longwood for the very first time. The waterlilies I am sharing were a highlight of this particular visit for me. They were not in bloom during my last two trips.
Another source of peace was Matt Kahn. On Wednesday Caryn and I spoke about relationships and the nature of connections. That very evening I come home to notice a brand new video by Matt on soul mates and twin flames. In it he mentions, among many other things, that for some a soul mate may be their pet. This idea prompted me to refer to Dexter as my soul mate on my latest post. Matt refers to a soul mate as a balancing counterpart with little drama or intensity, but great love. While I do not agree with every point made, I find Matt’s take on the different type of soul connections to be fascinating and quite revelatory. This information is especially relevant in regards to next week’s Venus retrograde event. I offer his video here:
Now I want to share some resources that have softened the loss by providing a rare understanding of my bond with my cats ( and most animals and inhabitants of the natural world) and some insight into the grieving process.
They are both courtesy of Caryn and Karin, “the Carings” in my life. Caryn provided me with this link that really spoke to me. I am very picky about these grief expert offerings, perhaps because I provide these services in my work, or because I am quite discerning. In any case, this article was profoundly insightful. For those who may not understand the connection between human and animal, please take a look and your impressions may shift.
I especially like both these passages:
The love of an animal permits us to unfold, to open up, drop our defenses and to be naked, not only physically but psychologically and spiritually as well. With an animal we let ourselves be seen instead of hiding behind our personalities, our cultures, our jobs, our clothing or our makeup. They know us as no one else does, in our private joys, angry rages, deepest despair, in sickness and in health. All the while their calm steady presence companions us with an unwavering love like few others on this earth. Our animal companions see through us to the very soul of our soul, encouraging the unfolding of a sacred trust. If there is such a thing as a soul mate, then surely this is it.
Many people have never been blessed with, or felt for themselves, the true love of an animal. They are incapable of understanding that your love for an animal may surpass your love for the humans that are the closest to you. It is a different bond, in a way, more profound; something only the heart understands. What I have learned over the years, as a student of grief and a student of many spiritual traditions, is that no guru, guide, master or friend no matter how enlightened can comfort the heart that believes it has lost what it holds most dear. Whether grieving ourselves, or consoling a grieving friend, often the most useful thing we can do is to simply tell our story. For in the story of our own journey through the gates of grief, or in bearing witness to the grief of another, we can at least legitimize the experience and make it “Sacred.”
Karin turned me on to this excellent video with medium Danielle MacKinnon that was posted just a few days ago. While I do hold some skepticism regarding animal communicators, Danielle is someone who naturally conveys authenticity and warmth. Please check it out if you are called to explore this topic further. What really struck me most was the question posed near the end of the interview.:
Animals choose to pass at a particular time. Ask yourself : What was it about this time that has meaning for you?
Here is the link for the video: https://wingingwithwhitehawk.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/pets-in-the-afterlife/
Finally I want to share some closing thoughts. It is so ironic that I have been so successful as a grief counselor. So very many clients over the years suffered unimaginable trauma and loss. I seem to be rather effective at facilitating healing for those in pain and was quite driven to focus on this area of therapy. Personally though, I suck at loss and death. I do not judge how I grieve, so please do not misconstrue my meaning. I just do not like to let go. I do not detach easily, especially if the bond was deep. Losing my first cat brought me to the brink of depression from which I doubted I would ever recover. Yet I did recover and I will recover from this loss. But this journey has just begun…
Let me conclude with a song that helps express the enormity of my love for Dexter. When I call him my best friend and soul mate, I am not exaggerating. It does not mean I do not love or have not loved other human beings deeply.
It’s just different.
For a tribute to Dexter circa 2013ish, please visit OM’s site here.