Every field and flower fades, but love is infinite. – Melanie Chisholm
We found out today our sweet old dog, Sam, has cancer.
A beautiful morning at the beach where he laid by the ocean and sunned himself turned into a nightmare of a seizure just an hour later on the car ride home turned into rushing to the vet turned into cancer.
It’s a rough blow.
I am grateful for the sequence of events though, which supported getting him help right away as I don’t believe we just happened to be a few minutes away from the vet’s office by coincidence. Or that the head vet was there to see to him, or that the usually busy clinic was almost empty, so he had a lot of care.
The timing reminded me, I am not alone in this.
He’s sleeping peacefully at my feet now, and we are left with uncertainty and hard decisions.
I knew when I adopted a senior dog that he would cross the rainbow bridge sooner rather than later. He was guesstimated to be 8-10 when we got him in 2014, which puts him around 12-14 now. I’m guessing he’s closer to the 14 side of things.
It is difficult to love brave in this world. Anybody who says love is just about the light is skipping over the part where being human is really hard and love is also about the grit.
It’s messy. It breaks our hearts. Sometimes it’s lotus love, which swirls around and sinks deeper into the mud before the petals are formed.
Sometimes love just straight up hurts and aches.
I know some people would rather wall themselves off to the pain- I get that, it feels terrible to hurt this way, I’ve cried all afternoon and know there’s so much more to come. And yet living numb isn’t living.
Open hearted living is the only form of living that makes sense to me, because it’s the only way I can feel all the beauty and joy and light that exists in this world too, even if it means I have to crawl through the mud from sometimes.
And the only thing I know to find solace in during those times of ache is the knowledge that every time life has cracked my heart wide open it grows in love, and I always come through the dark passage with a new diamond of light.
I learned that lesson after a painful divorce, which was the catalyst to my spiritual awakening.
I learned it triple fold when my sweet old dog Pepe passed away in 2013, and I chose to love him through it with beauty and bravery.
And I cemented that lesson when my brother crossed over in 2016 and despite all the horrible grief and terrible pain, he also left me with so many gifts of light I couldn’t help but take my grief and transform it into something that shone, transforming myself in the process.
I can only assume that when Sam’s time comes he’ll have his own diamond to give me. Diamonds and diamonds and diamonds. He already has just by blessing me with his presence in my life.
For today though, I’m just a grief filled doggy momma who is committed to doing right by our sweet kid, listening to what he has to tell us about his health, and trusting for wisdom and clarity in guiding us to the right decisions. And hoping we have more time.
More trips to the beach, more car rides, more sweet moments where he blesses me with the energy of unconditional love he embodies so beautifully- though I’m wise enough to know that when it’s time to let go- I will let go, as that too is part of love.
Earlier this week, I took him and his younger fur brother Frodo up to Kokee State Park. We drove up, up, up on the twisty, turny, windy road. Through red dirt and Hawaiian pines and cooler temperatures and canyon vistas.
We stopped at the lodge. There’s cooler trails there with better views that I could have planned a trip to, but that would have meant leaving Sam at home, and no way was I leaving Sam at home.
He is too much of my heart.
So the lodge was perfect where a huge grassy picnic area resides, surrounded by these remarkable old trees whose visage looks so calm and wise you know they’ve witnessed the passage of time and know that for every cycle that ends a new one begins, every death a rebirth, and that all things eventually come back round again.
Sam laid in the middle of the field, stretched out in the sunshine, happy with warmth and fresh air.
Frodo and I circled the field exploring knobby trunks, making friends with the ancient grove, as I thought about how I’d rather be wandering that field with my curious pup, smiling at the energy radiating off of contented Sam, than doing anything else.
Soaking up the love, cherishing the honor of getting to be the human for these two precious beings for whatever time I’m given with each of them.