It has been four days since we said good-bye to our sweet, old dog, Samwise. He was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago, and though they thought he would have about 6 months left, things went sideways this time last week and quickly spiraled.

It was simply his time.

Even as a grief writer and author, I’ve found myself at a loss to really convey the depth of what I’m feeling or the nature of our relationship. Though perhaps anybody who has been lucky enough to be blessed with the love of a sweet old dog already knows the depth and nature of which I speak.

They say that those who have cancer travel close to God, and I figure this must be true of Sam as there was something so pure and angelic about him he always felt otherworldly. He was the guardian angel of our family and inhabited the deepest and softest part of our hearts.

And so I’ve found myself on a new grief passage, learning new lessons on grief that I don’t really feel like experiencing or learning. Recent years have brought a lot of loss into my life and after a while you get tired of the losing.

But nobody ever wants to take a grief passage; they are never convenient and rarely welcome. Yet that doesn’t matter to grief- it simply appears in its own time, and we find ourselves unwittingly stepping onto its landscape.

Grief comes in and rearranges us, and all I’ve learned to do is offer myself up for the rearranging.

It strikes me that anybody who takes a grief journey has embarked upon a holy journey.

Grief work is sacred work. Though messy and dark at times, it is the kind of work that goes beyond our day to do and takes us into other realms and lands and emotional vistas- – we travel far outside the bounds of ordinary reality when we grapple with grief.

This is the space where we will feel our most splintering pain and begin to truly understand the depths of our own hearts. It is also the space where transcendence and transformation intersect, and we have the potential to realize the enduring effects of love and discover a greater breadth of spiritual truths.

I believe this is one of the reasons so much of the grief experience is so hard to put words to. It encompasses both the abyss and the heavens; our lowest lows and our highest highs. Such things defy language and are usually best experienced and understood within the space of our heart-light and soul-speak.

I’m feeling things about Sam, which I am not able to put words to at present.

Even as life swirls on around me, and I am making myself move forwards to try and embrace gifts of day, there is part of myself who has retreated into a secret place inside of me. It’s a holy place where I grieve and honor our relationship, even as I still feel and sense Sam with me and marvel at spirit and how love lives on.

Sam was and is a very special soul. I will be forever grateful that he chose our family and decided to take the love inside his heart, pour it out onto us, and claim us as his home.

I want to say something more meaningful, fancy, or writery to end this, but for today simple sincerity will have to suffice where words escape, and I will simply say:

He will always be our angel.