Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall. Grief. Cycle of Life. Winter.

Ishkode - Oct, 2013
This morning I found myself thinking about seasons. How the leaves are changing colors. We were up north this past weekend for a short trip. My partner and I visited Lake Bemidji State Park. On our drive up I was noticing the vibrant colors. I love fall. It is also a bittersweet time for me, as it was fall (October) of 2008 when I first met my spirit dog Ahnung up at Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. It was October, 2013 when I returned up to Leech Lake for the first time after the passing of Ahnung, and when she let me to my Ishkode.

How is it one's heart can be so full and so empty at the same time? How is it one's heart and one's body can hold memories like they were just yesterday? How is it the sadness of today can trigger and bring up so much from years ago? Today, I am sad as I watch my boy 11 year boy Mister struggle with pain. Yet he still has sparkle in his eyes and a wag in his tail that is exuberant and full of life. I trust he will let me know when it is time.

Mister - Oct 2017

I remember when he first arrived into my home in July, 2007. He was a little bundle of energetic puppy. He had some serious separation anxiety and I learned, he always needed to be with someone, or a companion. So he and his sister, Missy, became so bonded. He was my running buddy when I trained for my first Twin Cities marathon.

Today, Grief visits me again. Anticipatory Grief. Once again, preparing myself for our Final Walk. In 2006, I lost my beloved Shen to spleen cancer. It took her suddenly (on my Papa's birthday). I wasn't prepared. Then Shadow who was so bonded with Shen, followed her, and he was gone 7 months later -- intestinal cancer. Then in 2011 I learned Ahnung had mammary cancer. The journey of preparing for this final walk began. I also got diagnosed that year with a rare heart condition, left ventricular non compaction. Together we walked what was going to be a final walk, and we didn't know if that final walk was for Ahnung, or for me, or for both of us. In 2012 Ahnung developed another rare cancer, and then on Aug. 25, 2013 I held her as her spirit was set free. Ahnung taught me to become friends with Grief. To invite Anticipatory Grief into my home. To sit with her, to have tea, to honor what is a natural part of the cycle of life. To embrace the pain and to honor the sharp edges of loss, of grief, of losing a being you love with all your heart, that it feels like you can't breathe anymore. After Ahnung died, there were times I didn't think I could breathe, that I could go on .. yet, I knew she was with me, holding me up even though I couldn't see her, touch her, or feel her. Ahnung guided me, taught me, to BE with her in a new say.

And so, as we begin this final journey with my boy Mister, I have asked her to once again walk with me ... to walk with Mister ... to guide us.

Dear Grief, you are once again knocking on my door.

I will once again invite you in ... to sit by the fire, to have a cup of tea.

And today you come with Ahnung ... with Shen, Shadow and my partner's beloved dog, Piper.

I ask you to surround us with Love, Wisdom, Courage, Comfort.

I ask you to give me the strength to honor and hold Mister up, and to make decisions and choices that will honor his spirit and the life inside of him I know will never end ... I ask you to guide me, and when the times comes, to hold my boy, and to set his spirit free from a body that is asking to rest, to hibernate, to move from Fall to Winter.

Until then, I will celebrate this innocence, goofiness, joyful nature of a beautiful rescued pup, who came to me in July 2007. And i thank his original rescuer Donna, from People for Pets in Spencer, Iowa for taking him.

We are planning a road trip this weekend to visit his original rescuer and the shelter that took him after he was found in a ditch in rural Iowa with two of his siblings. Thank you Donna for being his angel and for trusting me to be his companion for his time on Earth.

And thank you Mister (and Missy) for being my companions every morning in meditation.

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