Monday, February 21, 2011

More loss

I don't really have much to say about losing my beloved dog, Lola.  It hurts and I miss her AND it was a peaceful passing.  I was so lucky to be able to hold her and she didn't seem afraid, she seemed ready.  

I couldn't have asked for a more devoted or sweeter dog.  She was the light of our lives, the happiest, least neurotic being in our family.  I brought her home with Zoe and neglected to ask Steve if it was okay that we have a second dog.  Well, actually, I did ask many times and each time he said no.  So it was a bad breach in our marriage and it's something I would never do again in any relationship.  But it was also the best worst mistake I ever made.  Steve fell deeply in love with Lola and she enriched all our lives in ways we can't even begin to understand.  I doubt I could have made it through the past two years without her spirit, her joie de vivre.  No matter what physical impediments she had to deal with, she never stopped wagging her tail, enjoying every walk, meeting new people, barking at dogs, and happily picking up crap off the sidewalk.  

She was courageous and funny and I don't think anyone could resist her charms.  She lightened my life, got me out of bed in the morning, and made every walk an adventure. Even when I had to carry her outside, I felt it was a gift, like she had become my baby and I wanted only to care for her and give her the best life I could.  When it came to the time that I could no longer provide that, we (Abigail, my loftmate and I) knew we had to let go.

It was one of the most painful decisions of my life, but once I made it, I knew it was the right one.  Holding her at the end was a gift.  Comforting her as she took her last breath was the least I could do for the nine years of pleasure she gave me.  She wasn't an easy dog to train - she was sometimes loud and embarrassing when she barked at dogs five times her size. But she was my Lola, my sweet little girl and I will miss her every day and I am so thankful that she came into our lives and brought us so much light and happiness.  And now I have time to focus on Lucy again and try to give her the best life she can have without her little buddy.  Only she knows how much she misses Lola, how sad she is about the missing member of our little family. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keep Standing Up

Today, on my way to take a lovely, long walk Central Park, on a beautiful winter day, I read this essay from Pema Chodron's book, "The Wisdom of No Escape," the first Pema book I ever read:

Keep Standing Up

I remember my first interview with my teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche very well because I was hesitant to talk to him about what was really the problem in my life.  Instead, I wasted the whole interview chattering.  Every once in a while he said, "How's your meditation?" and I said, "Oh, fine," and then just chattered on. When it was almost over I blurted out, in the last half-second, "I'm having this terrible time and I'm full of anger."

Rinpoche walked me to toward the door and said, "Well, what that feels like is a big wave that comes along and knocks you down.  You find yourself lying in the bottom of the ocean with your face in the sand, and even though all the sand is going up your nose and into your mouth and your eyes and your ears, you stand up and you begin walking again.  The next wave comes and knocks you down.  The waves just keep coming, but each time you get knocked down, you stand up and keep walking.  After a while, you'll find that the waves appear to be getting smaller."  

That's how karma works.  If you keep lying there, you'll drown, but you don't even have the privilege of dying.  You just live with the sense of drowning all the time.  So don't get discouraged and think, "Well, I was feeling depressed and I was hiding under the covers, but then I got out of bed, I took a shower.  How come I'm not living in a Disney movie now?  I thought I was going to turn into Snow White.  How come I'm not living happily ever after?"  The waves keep coming and knocking you down, but you stand up again and with some sense of rousing yourself.  As Rinpoche said, "After a while, you find that the waves seem to be getting smaller."  That's really what happens.