Posts Tagged ‘death’

Angels of Autumn

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Death is difficult…….

for those who are left behind. It is amazing to me how the passing of one small creature can make the world seem so empty.

This is a time of year I love. The way the light filters through the trees. The magnificent beauty of the colors and the crunch of the leaves under my feet. Fall is a time of transition and change. A reminder that nothing stays the same, and although quantum physics can’t explain it, that time moves in only one direction. To me fall also means losing many of the older animals I work with. Each life gone, a small hole in my universe.

I have an amazing job. How else to describe getting to work with these beautiful, kind and fuzzy beings. I am invited into people’s families and into their animal’s circle of care, to comfort and help. Many of these animals I work with for years. Seeing them age, seeing their people grow and change, seeing children grow up around them. It warms my heart to be part of this. And then seeing them die from this life.

In animals we get the opportunity to see all of life. When we first meet our animals they are like our young children and by the time they leave us, like our grandparents. This is a hard, we are not used to our children aging before us, and most of the animals I care for are like children. My clients carry few photos of people but they can pull out their phone or wallet and show you all their animals in a second.

I so appreciate the amazing being I have known and gotten to work with and while each passing is very sad I know that my life has been made fuller by being touched by all of them. The gentle noses, the wagging tails, the kind eyes and the gentle purrs. None are forgotten.

Sometimes I think I must have more guardian angels than the average person, however I think mine are mostly fuzzy. Thank you for touching my life.

A Jake shaped hole in the universe

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

jake7Old Black Dog

Warm brown eyes, clouded by age,
touched lightly with pain.

Deep understanding. Alert for other eyes,
a touch, an opportunity for play or communion.

Soft ears, moving toward my outstretched hand,
leaning into the tenderness.

A weathered torso, thick with fatty tumors, like the
trunk of an ancient tree.

Muscles stiff, contracted against the pain of simple deterioration,
A long life. With a touch, frozen muscles melt, a sigh, a stretch.

Our morning ritual. Sweet. Intimate. An almost invisible thread of daily life.
Comfort for an old dog.

But what of the exquisite texture of black fur against each finger?
Warmth and softness. The sounds of a sigh. The unmistakable
presence of breath – rising and falling.

I am here. You are here. We are here together.

The simplest need.
The rarest pleasure.
Noticed now in its absence.
A Rufus-shaped hole in the universe.

Now, humbled by grief, I see something essential.

We are not alone.
We must not be alone.
We are born to breathe together
Touch one another
See one another deeply

And then we go.
And then we go.

Lynn Morrison (written on 12/18/07 in memory of Rufus, 11/1/93-11/15/07)

jakecloseThis poem was written by a client of mine when her dog passed away and gifted to me a couple years ago. At the time I knew it was special and put it away for safe keeping. But it wasn’t until our beloved dog Jake passed away this weekend that I realized how special it was. Lynn has given me permission to share it and I hope it can help others who are also grieving.

Jake was 14 years old and for the last six months had slowly progressed to the point of barely being able to walk and not always knowing where he was or what was going on. Our lives had come to revolve around making sure we were there for him, cleaning up after him when he had accidents in the house and on himself, and helping him get up and down as he would often get stuck and could no longer go outside on his own.

While I am very sad to have him gone from my life, I realize that the dog I mourn was not the dog that was confused and unable to do any of the things he loved the last few months. It was clearly time for him to pass from this world into a place where he could run again and be free of a body that stopped him from doing anything and just caused him pain and suffering.

The dog I mourn was the happy dog who loved everyone. The dog who would bounce around the house in joy whenever I would get home (even if I had just walked down the steps to the mailbox to get the mail). The dog who heard every sound, kept an eye on everyone and was proud of the job he did protecting our home. He was the dog that sometimes tried too hard and was always inches behind me. The dog that would go up stairs backwards bouncing his bottom into each step so he could watch me coming up behind him the whole way.

jake-2At the dog park he would bound ahead with his curly tail waving in the air. He made friends with everyone, even the dogs who didn’t like anyone. He was the dog that all the little kids wanted to pet. In his later years he would limp up to anyone who passed on the street and captivate them with his kind eyes.

He made us laugh with his inability to realize that he had a whole body sometimes as he was a little on the clumsy side. In fact my son used to introduce Jake as,”this is my dog Jake, he thinks he is a floating head.”

He was always there for us. He helped my son when we was young and was afraid. He helped me through my divorce and slept by my side every night I was alone. He showed us all that love is a wonderful thing and that it can be unconditional. We will miss him very much.

May 1995-June 29,2009