Friday, July 3, 2009

Dawn


This is the front wheel cover of a beautiful gold Harley-Davidson.

For the first time since Jake got so ill in mid June, I slept last night, really slept all night long. I did not wake up between 3 and 5 a.m., didn't sob and toss and turn. I slept and dreamed long, complicated dreams, woke up refreshed. Wow, it's been awhile since I've experienced that plush sensation of being fully rested. It is only now dawning on me that I've been running on empty for weeks.

It occured to me this morning that life with me could not have been so great for Jake either. I did the best job I could do, but in truth, he was way too much dog for me. I wasn't strong enough or strict enough to be convincing as an alpha. He was riddled with fear and anxiety, and worse, fear aggression. I know that my partnership with him was one way of paying off a karmic debt long overdue. This morning I'm wondering if he, too, was paying off a karmic debt by living his life as an uber powerful, uber fearful rescue dog. We loved each other so much, but our life together was always a struggle.

Lots of people say that after a pet passes away, they can feel its energy around. They hear the clicking of the toenails on the floor, or the sighs or snoring. Many of the wonderful comments here have included wishes that he will stay by my side, even in death.

Whether it was all those candles burning all over the world for him, or all the beloved pets waiting to greet him on the other side, or that he was in fact really glad to have finally completed his karmic agreement - or something else - he is SO gone. I don't feel a trace of his energy anywhere around, not in the places where he slept or ate or hid when he was frightened. Maybe he'll come back to check on me at some point, who knows? For the time being, Jake has left the house, fully and absolutely.

My sadness has not left the house of my heart, though something has shifted. After last night's sleep, the grief is so much more gentle than it was during his last two or three weeks, way more gentle than it has been since Tuesday. It's just now dawning on me that I'm going to live through this. I am so grateful!

L'chaim, y'all. Peace.

37 comments:

mum said...

'the plush sensation of fully rested' - you have no idea how those words resonate over here.

Wishing you a whole lot more of the same, Reya (and wishing myself some, by the same token, obviously.)

Have a great weekend

Joanne said...

It seems now, following your recent posts about Jake, that as time passes, it becomes more and more apparant how huge this experience really is. And by comparison, how all moving experiences are like this, a wave coming in from sea until it one day recedes on the beach, but always leaves a little something behind.

ellen abbott said...

I guess your sufi acupuncturist did indeed stop the bleeding.

Peaceful sleep and sweet dreams for both you and Jake. You did each other well.

Celestite said...

I have had a couple of dogs that were nearly 24 hour a day constant companions. When Devon the Whippet died at only age 6 of a cancer that the vets at CSU described as unbelievably aggressive, his spirit hung around for a very very long time. I think he was as stunned as I by his very sudden death.
OTOH, my beloved Scarlett (GSD) who was born in my kitchen and spent 16 wonderful years being my friend, left immediately and never looked back.
It does make me wonder if they were not spirits come here for a specific purpose and if they get to fulfill that purpose...it is time to let go, move on to the next one.

Cynthia said...

Reya, I can fully understand you in this post. I think we have the capacity to carry a tension like connection without noticing it. We just go on as if it's normal to feel that emotional weight. When it goes...especially right after, there is a feeling of space, and sometimes a forgetting, which is normal too. Later, when the conditions are right, Jake will feel differently to you. I also notice energy; I remember when my father was dying and I could feel him in the hospital sometimes floating around us in the intensive care waiting room. I was especially concerned that he was content to leave at that time. When he died, I was holding his right hand, another sister was holding the other hand, we were around him-really trying to let him know it was okay to go. He was so connected and responsible...and young. I felt him around a bit after his death, Mom too after her death-but not anywhere near her body or the other locations she went to. Now rarely, I feel her around...but it's only the sweetest part of her...a gentle nurturing presence.
Recently, our Miss Nellie, died and she was Gone. Last year many of our cats died -three- and we were very close to them...I felt all three at various times.

I hope that only gentle peace visits you in regards to Jake. You loved and took care of him...maybe he taught you more about your alpha leader self? Love to you.

Thank you for your long comment on Oasis Writing Link. I love how you engage the subject in your reflection.

BTW What a cool reflection shot. It's almost an essay on a kind of American experience.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I love your peace photo! How creative! And how nice that you're well rested. I hope the city won't get too crazy for you city-dwellers on this holiday weekend. Enjoy!

Angela said...

A few months after both our beloved horses had died, I had a dream. I was walking on our meadow where they used to graze, and when I lifted my eyes they were both standing there, on the other side of the river, looking at me, smiling, it seemed. Their fur was shining in the sun, and they seemed to say, "We are fine here where we are. All is well." It was incredibly soothing, this dream.

Val said...

hugs Reya xx

Peaches said...

...the dawning...

JC said...

I'm so glad for you ... that you feel a bit of peace.

I told you it would come. Now, you will have the great memories and only think of the bad ones ... every once in a while.

Not all of my pets have stayed around, but my cat, Cashmere sure did. She mewed and my daughter heard her too.

She left about a month later. I think she knew we were ok. (She had died of old age ... 21 ... very suddendly)

May you continue to have good days. Know that you did good. He did too.

John Hayes said...

The peace sign photo is wonderful. So glad to hear you are feeling some peace yourself.

Joanna said...

One of my dogs is fear aggressive and I'm sure that he came to me as a teacher. I am continually learning from having him in my life. (He's seven now.) Likely Jake was a teacher for you as well.

analogman said...

After about 3 weeks of feeling bad and not sleeping,I finally slept well last night as well...a burden of some kind lifted off of my shoulders. I don't know why I've been feeling poorly, or why it's going away now. Maybe we're more connected than we realize. Kindred spirits?

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

Oh Reya, I am so glad you are feeling better. Jake is playing with our Lady and our Winnie right now. He may even be thinking our cat KiKi might be fun to chase, but he doesn't know KiKi...

You see things so well. All the aspects of experience. Our pets are so much a part of our lives, and we are committed for their lifetimes, but it isn't always easy, is it?

Cyndy said...

Losing a beloved pet can be quite transforming in certain ways. But it's always a difficult process. I'm glad you are doing better now.

lakeviewer said...

I'm glad for you. Great pictures!

Mary Ellen said...

Love your peace shadow. Your being able to restore your energy and see things so clearly shows maturity and inner strength. New sources of connection and focus will emerge when it is the right time.

k-brow said...

Glad you're feeling rested. Sleep can be a great healer, in my experience. May it continue to work its magic on you, along with many walks in your magical swamp of a city.

Your thoughts on difficult dogs and the things they can teach us have resonated with me so much.

Breathe. Love. Drink water. Walk. Sleep. You are doing the right things for yourself right now.

California Girl said...

you express yourself so well. I feel as though we're in group therapy together! I admire that. Glad to hear you feel a kernel of change and relief. It will grow.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I am so glad you had a restful night! Perhaps the acupuncturist worked his magic to help you rest. Tomorrow may be better, then the next day & the next. Have a restful & perhaps fun weekend.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

It's strange how our mind can work through things in the form of dreams and leave us feeling better. I am so glad you do. Wishing you well.

Madtexter said...

One day at a time. One day at a time...

I like the snap of the storm drain cover / "peace sign" shadow.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks. I haven't tried to write about jake; it's just the only thing I'm thinking about this week. My blog has always been stream-of-consciousness - it would be so weird for me to try to write about something else right now.

Yes yes - Jake was one of the greatest teachers I've ever known. I learned SO much from him - I'm still learning in fact. Wow.

But he was also my best friend. I don't have a partner or husband so it's been just Jake and me ever since I split up with my ex eight years ago. He was old and it was his time, but it really hurts to lose your best friend. How could I write about anything else?

Chimera said...

Peace Reya.
Love love
T x

spottedwolf said...

I know this one forwards and backwards...........if Buddhists are correct then he was 'connection' from other lives. What you need is to journey to him in the quiet and that will let him know you're OK.

Ali said...

First of all, I love that you're healing.

Secondly, I think you're amazing for saying l'chaim.

Rose said...

When my first dog, Amber, died, i felt her visit and I released her to do as she would with love. When my dog Kenny recently died, I never felt him visit, although I did have a dream that, looking back, was a definite warning I was going to lose one of my dogs.

The two dogs used to greet us with a canine chorus of yips and howls when we got home. It was so cute! Little Dog never does it now, without his encouragement. After he died though, occasionally she would do it, but there would be no one outside. I guess she was the one that needed a visit most...

mouse (aka kimy) said...

so good to read the healing of after jake... is more starts than fits....beautiful post and wonderful peace photo.

hugs.

happy birthday america!

Lynne said...

Some of my pets have GONE right away too. I always felt these were the ones that had completed their journey and moved right on. BUT ... they have come back, mostly in the form of dreams, after as much sometimes as a year has passed. Their visit is as much to say "see, I'm fine!" It's very soothing.

I wish I could say the same of my Mom's passing. I had so hoped to feel her presence around me, but so far ... nothing.

Give it time. I think Jake will make a return visit.

Rain said...

I really wish you the best through your grief Reya. It's nice that you feel gentle grief now. Take care, Happy 4th of July to you!

Chuck Dilmore said...

i really love
what you see in the world!
thank you for bring back a slice for us!

peace~
Chuck

rutibegga said...

Reading this post reaffirmed my sense that Jake and my Keely are kindred sprits. More dogs than I was ready to handle, a bundle of nerves (despite daily runs, daily obedience work, and lots of love). Keely's issues make me fear she won't get to live out a full life as Jake did.

Anyhow, this is just to say, no matter how flawed Jake was, he was a good dog. And you gave him a wonderful life. Keely agrees.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rutibegga/3100505675/in/set-72157606475192101/

Mrsupole said...

Jake will come back to visit when the time is right or when you need him. It is good that you are moving on and sleeping well, I think he would want that for you. And even though he was difficult for you at times, that is what made him Jake and very special. He is in a safe and happy place with no pain now and that is what your would want for him. Please write about him all you want. The stories of your times with him will be wonderful for us to read and it will always help with the cleansing of your soul and make the loss less painful. As long as Jake is in your heart he is with you. And the stories will be amazing and I am sure in doggy heaven he will get a kick out of reading them too. Maybe making a book about Jakes adventures would be fun. Not talking about him would be terrible, so we want you to be happy and at peace, so please talk away, but only what you want.

May God's blessings always be with you and may your heart always be filled with love. Peacefulness will come with the love.

God bless.

Susan said...

I have been offline for several weeks. I just read, through a curtain of tears, your posts about Jake's passing. I am so very sorry.
I have two very old dogs I think about losing everyday. The pain of loss is excruciating, although we always manage to survive it and, maybe, even find a gift in the experience. Reya, I'm glad you seem to be shifting out of the worst of it. I'll light a candle for you and Jake during my evening meditation. I wish you deep peace. May Jake's spirit soar.

Many blessings,

Susan

Kerry said...

Dear Reya, I was out of town in June, and am just now, on a quiet afternoon, catching up on your recent writing. I am so sorry to hear of Jake's passing. I know that when a dog-fellow leaves this world there is a great, still space that they leave behind. I am glad that the edges of your grief are softening. I know how this feels, I sure do.

Spiral Dancer said...

I have just stumbled on your blog and your story via spotted wolfs den (a good pace to visit) I have known the loss of four leggeds and two leggeds.. BUT it took me a long time to be brave enough to get a dog..or any pet for that matter- as I lost my horse when I was 12, she died in my arms.. (and she was everything to me) and well he came into my life in a magical way the minute I decided that I would love an animal again.. He is my fur baby my companion and best friend ..

I think your journey here in your writing.. is so valid and so powerful and a wonderful and homage to your relationship with Jake.. and so important for others to read also..You did so much for him and gave him the best you could give, he would not have been in your life had he not known that about you .. I think you are healing slowly by what you are saying of late it sounds like the light is seeping back in..I hope so. I think of you and blow a kiss to you and to Jake...

Susan said...

Dear Reya -

Peace.

Rest.

Healing.

Prayers.