Letting go

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 11:33 pm by admin

Since this spring I have mourned the loss of my dog. We shared fourteen and a half years together. During that time many changes occurred in my life, but through it all she was by my side. When Daniel came into my life, she not only accepted him, but embraced him. The bond between them formed almost instantaneously and continued to grow over time. When she died, Daniel’s grief was almost unbearable. He had never had a dog before, and during the months since she passed, he has reflected on the impact she and their bond had on him.

During NaPoWriMo, April 2008, I wrote a poem each day. One of these poems is significant, because it was the last poem I wrote before I realized there was something wrong with her. This poem is probably the only one I will ever write like this.  It is not really my style, and it was written on the evening of April 10, 2008. The poem begins with a strophe written as a quote, but it was written by me. It came to me that evening as a rainstorm was winding down.  I believe it was my subconscious mind telling me to pay attention.  During the next three days my mind was quite unsettled because I began to sense a change in her, and then I knew there was something wrong.  I wrote this particular poem with her snoring quietly beside me.

I’m not quite sure I can explain this poem because it’s a complicated concept for me. The language of the “quote” is quite different from that of the poem, it is more sophisticated.  I’ve thought about this for months, and I believe it was my sub conscience’s way of reaching beyond my years of training and clinical experience, which were blinded by familiarity and denial, to look at the situation in a very basic and simplistic way.  I was intent on writing a poem that evening, and after I wrote the quote the path that the rain flowed became very clear to me.  I simply followed the raindrops movement in my mind.  The poem is about the sound of water, and there is a line in it about the “rush of life” as it relates to the sound of the placental souffle, the sound of blood as it flows through the placenta in a pregnant woman. It is only this evening that I realize this line, “rush of life,” was speaking to me about the passage of time.

For two weeks after her death, my dreams, my thoughts, and my writing all reflected our life together, my guilt about having her put down, and my grief over her loss. During this past week I began to let her go.  I’ve held my grief in, only breaking for fleeting moments, for four and a half months.  I dreamed about her last Friday night, and the next morning I opened her folder on my computer and read all her poems. The tears flowed and it took a long time to get through them all.  I decided to post the few poems that I felt were poignant yet written with at least some degree of clarity and accuracy, and did her memory justice on my poetry forum.  The response I received from the members of the forum was a cross between condolences, and candid critiques of the writing.  Each time someone commented on the thread I reread the poems and cried again.  This has been a very cathartic week for me. I have not yet responded to the comments and critiques so as to allow a little time to pass. The philosophy of the forum is to support the work of each poet in a positive way to improve the work and prepare it for publication, if that is the intent of the poet. I can tell you that all the members have been stellar in their endorsement of this philosophy and their support of my writing about her.

This past Tuesday, I told Daniel I had begun to research dog adoption. I called the shelters and rescue organizations in our area in the hopes that I would find another canine companion. Daniel and I have talked about another dog, but until I was able to let go of my grief, I have not been able to accept this. Today I spoke with Daniel on the phone during his lunch break about a dog and we decided to make an appointment for tomorrow to visit with one particular dog to determine if this will work. I’ll let you all know how it all turns out.


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