Finally, amid the swirl of grieving, sadness, pain, and emptiness comes the peace and calm of healing. The beginnings of which we recognize, with renewed hope that we have not really lost, just changed the relationship. The pain is honoring in its way, of the one we miss and pine for. The healing comes as a cleansing wash of warmth and grace over the iciness of loss, the sharp finality of death.

People recommended and even sent me many books to read after Murphy died a few of which I have read, some I have not, and one, Saying Goodbye by Linda and Allen Anderson (authors and owners of http://www.angelanimals.com) which helped the most by assisting me in examining my relationship to Murphy. Not in a calculating or analytic way, just gently encouraging me to ask myself questions about our first encounter, things about him that made him who he was in his quirks, needs, personality, what he taught me, and how I felt when he passed. How did he appear in the moments before. When I think of this, I see and feel him in my arms and as the anesthesia took effect he did not appear to alter in any way, his breathing imperceptably stopped and as I placed him for the vet’s nurse to take him away could feel the limpness of his little body, lifeless but I still somehow felt his presence with me. That is how I knew he is still part of me, not something like a light that had merely been turned off.

I won’t miss the difficulty he had at taking his medicine or even refusing to eat his hand-fed meals those last days, or  the way he looked at me when he was too tired to move. I know because of the nature of grief I will still have moments maybe longer periods where I am sad and miss him, miss his little dance before we went for a walk, miss how he’d prance for a stranger or friend, hoping for a little attention or a pat, miss his play bow where he’d pound his paws onto the floor challenging me to a chase, or bounce after a bouncy ball to bring it back to me, drop it and wait expectantly for me to throw it and applaud him as he raced it back to me.

Who he was in health and joy, remains.


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