Just over a week ago I lost my beloved dog, Cinder. He was 13 1/2 years old and my soul mate. We shared such a close connection. His death propelled me inward...deeper inward...and has brought many gifts to me.
Cinder's health began to fail over a year ago. He had sustained a back injury which conventional treatments failed to relieve. I arranged for hydrotherapy, cold laser treatments and in-home acupuncture to help relieve his pain, strengthen his muscles and remove energy blocks to healing. None of these treatments seemed to help, and his appetite began to decline. His weight dropped, his stomach was constantly upset, and we were at the vet's office frequently. We tried so many medications. Ultrasounds and x-rays failed to tell us what was wrong. His bloodwork was perfect. Then he stopped eating entirely. I requested an endoscopy and we found the reason for his decline....gastric carcinoma, very advanced. Devastating. There was nothing we could do for him medically. So I prayed...I prayed a lot to all the healing angels, and I gave him daily Reiki treatments in addition to his medications. I hoped for a cure.
Caretaking of a sick loved one is very stressful. I woke up in the mornings with knots in my stomach. Had Cinder passed in the night or was he considerably worse? Would he be willing to eat today? Will he take his medications? How could I help and make him more comfortable? Peace was elusive. I spent nights on the sofa beside his bed, always close if he needed me, sending him my love, and I contacted a wonderful animal communicator...Nancy Windheart.
Through Nancy, Cinder expressed his deep love for me and for all our family. "I know I am loved very much, " he said, "there is nothing I need or want as I have everything. Please tell Madonna how much I love her and all she's done for me. I trust her to keep doing that. I love you all. Rememer that healing is bigger than a cure. Death is also a healing, and this is just one small part of our relationship together. We are forever. Be with me, and walk this sacred path with me. I love you all so much." Ahhhh, the tears flow. Nancy told me that Cinder was already turned toward the other side, his energy was thinning, and he was spending more time out of his body, with his angels as they worked at healing him. A physical cure was possible, but I had to drop my expectations and accept what Cinder wanted and what was best for everyone. I had to trust. This was incredibly hard, and I was emotionally drained. Trust has always been a challenge for me...a pattern I see throughout my life.
Two days after our conversation with Nancy, Cinder took a turn for the worse. I had been up all night with him and knew he was ready to go. I also knew I was the only one who could make this decision. I loved him enough to let go. We spent his final morning on earth outside in the shade of the maple tree...our favorite spot to be together. It was cool and sunny...a beautiful day. We watched the world go by...the squirrels, joggers, children on their way to school, dog walkers with their healthy charges, neighbors on their way to work. He was clearly dying, but continued to grace us with his dignity, his affection and his love for life. I poured out my heart to him...my love, my thanks and my wonderful memories. And I cried....an ocean of tears. My family and I stayed with him for hours as we waited for the vet to come to our home. He left us in our living room, on his favorite, big round bed, the love of his family surrounding him completely. It was incredibly hard, but deeply moving. I will never forget his calm acceptance, his readiness for the next phase of his journey. He was not afraid. His eyes held nothing but trust...and a deep, deep love.
I miss this sweet soul intensely, and this past week has been extraordinarily difficult. The grief is flowing constantly...a river of tears. I am letting it flow, not making any attempt to stop it or control it. It is what it is, and I accept it. I have done absolutely nothing this past week, save get up, get dressed, go shopping once...and breathe. That is all I can do. I am just "being" in my grief. I don't suppress it to make anyone else feel better. Grief is an individual journey...something I believe we get through rather than over. We make space for it in our lives, accommodating its presence. We learn to live with it. But we also have to give it the freedom to move through our experience. We have to embrace it, not push it down or put it aside for later. We have to love ourselves enough to feel, and in doing so we honor ourselves and our loved one who's passed.
Cinder is a very old soul...a wise teacher....educating me even on his final days here. He taught me about deserving, that all of us are worthy of receiving great love. As he became sicker and in greater need of my help and assistance, he allowed me to care for him intimately. He deserved that level of care, and he knew it. He believed it. He also trusted. He trusted me to provide all of his material comforts, he trusted me to take care of him medically, and he trusted me to love him enough to say good-bye when he was ready. Can you know the gift of such trust? Cinder was teaching me to let go...to accept the love of this wonderful universe because I deserve it, if I believe it, and to trust that all will be provided for me. He taught me grace, dignity and love of life. Cinder lived in the moment, no worry for the future or re-hashing of the past. He was a comedian, a pizza grabber, bed hog, protector and guide. Above all, Cinder was stunningly beautiful...a gentle, peaceful soul who touched the hearts of all who met him. A treasure.
My life is forever changed because of Cinder. It was an honor to care for him...the most precious time we spent together. And as my tears flow, I look forward to more teachings from him as my path to animal communication becomes more fixed. Along with Nancy Windheart, Cinder will continue to guide me in this next phase of our relationship. I begin that journey in October. For now, I simply cry...and that is just perfect for me. The waves come and the waves recede, but I let the rhythm take control. I let go. I let it be. The silence in my home is deafening, but there is healing in the silence....a quiet gift that says, "surrender." I accept.
God bless you my sweet Cinder....I love you so much. Thank you for being you and for loving me. Beautiful bright light....shine on. xoxo