Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Grief Is For the Living

Boulder, Colorado

We are in that place some refer to as "20 square miles surrounded by reality."

Maybe so, but reality or not, there is much to learn here.

Our good friends, Bob and Sandy, share their home with us this night.

More importantly, they share a recent loss and gain with us.

Their Barney, an American Red Cocker Spaniel, passed recently, and they handled his loss with grace, with understanding, and with learning for them, for all who will listen.

Barney was 13 years old, in pain. Rather than let him die “naturally,” which is not natural at all, Bob and Sandy set up a shrine in Barney's life, called their veterinarian, lit candles and incense and waited.

When the vet arrived, Barney suddently became excited, as if he was ready.

He was. Barney was ready.

Barney lay on his bed on the floor.

At first, he seemed reticent. After all, no one wants to die.

But Bob and Sandy carefully and slowly coaxed him back onto his bed.

He was at peace.

The first injection took away any regret.

The second took his life.

Or maybe it didn’t.

Barney’s “wife,” Bessie, a beautiful English Cocker, was pensive throughout the process, until Barney stopped breathing.

Then, suddenly, Bessie became excited, literally bouncing off the walls.

“Why?” Sandy asked.

Their veterinarian, more than a doctor of medicine, said, “Dogs have a special sense – they are in touch with the astral plane. Barney has moved there. Barney is young again. Bessie can see Barney. Bessie is playing with him.”

Bessie remembered me when I came into Bob and Sandy’s home last evening and I could see in Bessie's eyes what she could see in mine.

There is no end. There are only beginnings.

Tomorrow we leave our friends but we also remain – just as Barney remains here forever.

Grief is for the living.

And living is for the dead.


Blogger Liz said...

Aloha Jim, Kelly, Bob, Sandy and Bessie..and Barney,
My heart and kindness is with you all for all the love you share. Jim, keep writing and accept my gratitude for all the pure and selfless acts you and Kelly aspire to. I'm looking forward to your next writing as always. I'll be in SMA next week and look forward to seeing you and your dogs. Please extend this Aloha to Mark and Angel, too. xoxliz

12:13 PM  

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