Do you know what brings out the real you? Uncovers the shining diamond that is within?
There's one thing that strips away everything and lays us bare and vulnerable. It's something that every one of us goes through eventually: death. And not just death but grief and loss and all that entails. That's what reveals the remarkably real you.
When you experience a death, there's no place to hide. Sure, there might be a bit of denial and difficulty coming to terms with whatever it is you have lost, but you can't do that forever. Eventually you have to face the reality, the inevitable. The fact that you are forever changed and there is a hole in your life that wasn't there before that you won't be able to fill, not really, no matter how hard you try.
You might try to fill the void by taking on more things, becoming busier, distracting yourself from this new changed version of yourself. Changed in a way that you didn't ask for and don't want and can you please get a refund, thanks?
Right now, I'm going through anticipatory grief, yet again. In my view, it's the toughest of the many types of grief there are out there. It's when you know that you'll be losing something imminently and you're just waiting for it to happen. I'm going through this with my senior rescue dog, Penny, who we adopted from a local rescue here in Canada, but who had found her on the streets of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We knew she was a senior, and they had no idea how old she was but gave a guesstimate of 6-8 years. But we thought she was more 8-10. And we've had her just over 2 years now, but about half a month before her 2 year "gotcha day" we discovered a lump. Which turned out to be cancerous. And of course, the quirky, oddball Heinz 57 dog that she is, would have a rare form of cancer coming up in uncommon places!
We're treating her with chemotherapy right now and have been for the last month but.. the prognosis isn't good, and she isn't responding super well, so we (my husband and I) know that her time is near. Maybe even within the week. Last night we were wondering if even today was going to be her last day before we let her go on her journey across the Rainbow Bridge.
The past two months we've known that the time is near, and man, this knowing and waiting and wondering when is excruciatingly difficult and heartbreaking. Because we have to make the decision for her. She is our furbaby daughter, and has been such a ray of joy and light during the challenging time of the global Coronavirus pandemic. We call her our Pendemic dog. And she helped fill the void left by our last dog who we lost in the summer of 2019 and got Penny four months later, just four months before the pandemic.
So, back to grief. I'm grieving the fact that we'll lose her soon, that she's dying despite all that we're trying. I'm grieving the fact we won't have the 3 more years we'd perhaps naively hoped for when we got her - 'just 5 years!' We said, would be a nice amount of time. Alas, it is not to be.
These are the things I'm grieving in advance (and of course will also be when she's gone): I'm grieving her sweet angelic temperament. I'm grieving her chomping at the air (and walls and door frames) when she gets excited to go out. I'm grieving her joyful spirit and her stubby worn down bottom canines that aren't the most attractive. I'm grieving her constantly wagging tail and her big mommy belly from having pups at some point. I'm grieving her wonky back leg that broke at some point during her mysterious street dog past. I'm grieving her hilarious mohawk that everyone comments on that we meet.
But this challenging experience is revealing to me that, as the quote from Christopher Robin Winnie The Pooh says:
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
I'm not sure about the smarter part, but the brave and strong I can definitely believe. And what is a diamond if not extremely strong and resilient? So I need to remind myself that the diamond inside me that's being revealed right now is going to keep me standing strong and resilient in my grief.
Update: we sadly had to say goodbye to our beloved Penny on December 15th, 2021. She put up a good fight but is now over the rainbow bridge and meeting her brother Bailey for the first time. Until we meet again...
click here to read about that: