Such beautiful, sweet and extraordinary animals ~ a dream of mine was to have a great dane. Ten years ago this month I received a call from the Denver Great Dane Rescue, saying that an abandoned black and white dane was just about to come up for adoption in the municipal shelter. The woman on the other end of the phone told me that if I wanted her, to go and get her. And go and get her I did.
As you may already know if you follow me on twitter, yesterday we had to say goodbye to our girl.
How do I even begin to express what it meant to share my life with this dog for the last ten years?
I can't, because today I'm still too close to the hole that has been left in our heart and our home. What I will say is Lulu was my anchor, unconditionally by my side through so much change and upheaval in my early adult life. Her own challenges due to the trauma of being abandoned in her early life taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Sharing my life with hers helped me grow in my own grace, and exploration of what it means to truly have compassion and love unconditionally, the effects of which have been most profound while caring for her in her old age and on through to her passing.
My grief is a combination of guilt ~ was I good enough to her? did I love her enough? did I remember to notice and appreciate all the times she quietly sat next to me in my studio while I painted? ~ and then the realization that I gave her the absolute best of myself and my life that I had available over these ten years. Both the men in my life, my ex-husband Art, and Sean who shared their lives with her did the same. She was loved, incredibly, incredibly loved.
Having experienced profound loss before, I will honestly say this journey over the last few months has been much harder than I anticipated. My heart is wide open and my compassion for those who have also made this journey with an animal member of their family is immense. I understand and I'm thinking of you too.
Now you may understand where I've been. I haven't been ready to involve the online world in truly sad moments in my life, although I'm considering what it might be like to share more in this space. When your heart is open ~ this is when you truly see just how much we are all connected to one another in our lives and how we can't and aren't meant to do this thing called life alone. Sharing this yesterday through twitter and the outpouring of messages, and how much they soothed me, reminded me how important it is to let people in, to allow them to offer you love and support when you need it.
So thank you. Thank you to all of you who had the chance to know and share so much love with Lulu over the last 10 years and thank you to those of you who glimpsed her spirit through this blog who have extended so much kindness to Sean and I over the last day.
This obviously wasn't my plan to return to my blog with a heavy heart, and as I'm sure you understand I might need a little time before I return once again. As my tears begin to dry, a sense of relief and quiet calm move in. Our girl was not well for a quite a few months. We did the best we could to make her transition as peaceful and smooth as we could and now she is free and so are we.
To my Lulu girl, you are one of the sweetest, most beautiful and loving spirits I have ever had the chance to know. Thank you for sharing your life with me.