With Emma's passing, my suffering is her blessing

[If you are new to this blog, my grief over the loss of little white dog Emma has been the subject of five posts since July 6 when she suddenly and unexpectedly, died. In chronological order they are: Here, here, here, here, and here!]

I did it again this morning, went on petfinder. This time to look at maltese/poodle mixes. For about 20 minutes. “Wasting time.” If I’m going to look online, why not just go and pick one out? There are lots of homeless little dogs at shelters in both Martinsville and Poland, Indiana. But no. Not yet. Going online to torture myself with “what if” is not the first step to action but a repeating note in the mysterious rhythms of grief.

Yesterday: “Get another dog. Just get another dog.” My 95-year-old father, on the phone from Seattle, sounding so concerned he’s almost desperate. Dad wants me to “replace” Emma. NOW.

As if we only have so much “down time” before we must get up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.

As if one blooming beauty can ever replace another.

As if each precious expression of the life force that fuels the universe is not unique, original, and deserving of full remembrance, re-membrance: the process of putting back together again all the dismembered parts, the bits and piece of memory, to honor the entire experience of loving connection.

As if I can just plug in, one after another, to different “objects” that will satisfy my own need to belong — be loved, seen, heard, smelt, felt.

As if it would be fair to whoever will be the next precious canine being that I invite into my life to be always reminded, and compared, to the incomparable Emma!

Given the sweet, well-meaning efforts of first, my sister, and now my father, to lessen or hasten, or bury my admitted suffering, I am reminded of how difficult it is for us in this madcap society to sink below the restless, grasping mind, and stay there, floating in the ocean of feeling, its waves rising and falling and rising and falling again. Simply, I must do this until done. I must complete this round of attachment, this cycle of communion with one exquisite little white dog, with all the grief and gratitude that is in me.

This is real. This is my reality. Amidst the swirl of international events so extreme as to stagger the imagination, I must attend to my own unique, original body’s expression of being as it struggles to absorb this latest shock to its survival.

Yes, at night when I feel the presence of her absence on the bed. Yes, on campus, when I ride by the places where I used to free her from her leash to chase a squirrel and her quivering anticipation and leaps of joy would, every single time, startle me to laugh out loud. Yes, when eating chicken and not cutting up little pieces of white meat for her. All these memories, each a jewel refracting light in all directions.

It is this process, this full immersion into oceanic surrender, that will not only allow me to go on, but as I pause to absorb the briefly lit candle of her forever young life into this seemingly endless present of suffering, the universe will fold my grief into regeneration, seeding endless blessings into new life.


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