Sunday, October 26, 2014

Light .. in the midst of darkness

This morning the following poem appeared on my Facebook wall .. a post from the A Year of Being Here page and a link to the following blog post:

The Unbroken
By Rashani Réa

There is a brokenness
 out of which comes the unbroken

a shatteredness
 out of which blooms the unshatterable.

There is a sorrow
 beyond all grief which leads to joy
 and a fragility
 out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space too vast for words
 through which we pass with each loss, 
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound
 whose serrated edges cut the heart
 as we break open
 to the place inside which is unbreakable
 and whole
 while learning to sing.

I immediately thought of Ahnung ... of our journey together from that day in July, 2011 when I learned my sweet girl had cancer. For a little over two years from that day (and until she crossed over to the spirit world on August 25, 2013) ... we walked, we cried, we celebrated .. and there were many moments where my heart shattered into a million pieces, and I couldn't contain the pain in my heart as I thought of a day when I would longer have Ahnung by my side. And in those moments, as I held her close to my chest, praying and asking her to guide me and give me strength to walk this walk with her, Ahnung showed me that I needed to let go; that i needed to live and cherish the moment; that the light, yes, the light was there in the midst of what felt like pitch black darkness.

It's been 14 months now since Ahnung's spirit was set free. It was time for her to move on to the next stage of her work. Last October she led me to a young puppy (the first surrender at the October 2013 Leech Lake Legacy spay/neuter clinic ... and the first clinic where I did not have Ahnung by my side). I resisted bringing a puppy into my life, yet Ahnung continued to send me signs that this puppy was meant to come into my life even though I didn't feel ready. Ahnung's rescuer, Karen Good (an elder of Red Lake Reservation) said to me, "Marilou, sometimes it's not up to us." In 2008, I wasn't 'ready' to bring Ahnung into my life. I listened to my gut which told me Ahnung was meant to be in my life. That was the best decision I ever made in my life, and in all honesty, I believe is what saved my life with all my health issues.

And so that fall day on October 11, 2013 I opened up my heart and my home to a puppy who Ahnung asked me to name 'fire'. I welcomed an 8 week old puppy into my home and named her Ishkode (Ish-ko-DAY) which means 'fire' in Ojibwe. 

It's been a year since Ishka has been in our home. There were many moments when I would ask Ahnung, 'Why???' ... as I was on vigil with a puppy who was getting into everything and needed constant supervision. I soon learned she had many qualities that Ahnung had yet had many qualities that were different. It became clear why Ahnung wanted me to name her 'fire' and why she wanted me to have a puppy. Ahnung gave me two months to grieve deeply for her loss before leading me to Ishka. It was as if she was telling me, it's time for me to move forward. Ishka's constant mischief and antics kept me busy and she made me laugh as she would drag shovels around my back yard last winter, and pooper scoopers and anything else she could find to drag. Ishka was also a gift to Legacy. After Ahnung left there was a deep sadness in Legacy who grieved deeply the loss of his big sister. I witnessed an incredible bond between Legacy and Ishka that almost immediate, and has continued since then. I witnessed the life come back in Legacy.

Legacy and Ishka - winter 2013

And these past few weeks, I have felt the presence of Ahnung in Ishka in such powerful ways. There are moments when I look at Ishka and I swear I am looking at Ahnung. I know Ishka is her own unique girl with her own fiery, independent spirit. Yet, now .. after a year and maybe Ishka maturing somewhat, it's as if I feel that wise way of Ahnung manifesting in what used to be just a fireball trouble maker who was also an adorable puppy!

I witnessed amazing things happen with Ahnung when she was around. I believe she continues to work in her mysterious and magical ways .. and yes, I believe her spirit continues to live on through Ishkode. Thank you Ahnung for the gift of Ishka .... thank you for the gift of your presence in physical form through little Ishkode :)

Thank you for teaching me a powerful lesson ... that light is there in the midst of the darkness, and that to feel the light in our hearts, we must be willing to let go and to immerse ourselves in the darkness .. and Rashani says it beautifully in her poem, "There is a brokenness
 out of which comes the unbroken,
 a shatteredness
 out of which blooms the unshatterable .... There is a sorrow
 beyond all grief which leads to joy
 and a fragility
 out of whose depths emerges strength ..."