I have been a bit absent from writing lately.  Honestly, I am overwhelmed with a few unexpected turns in life.  I feel guilty when I don’t work and I tend to beat myself up when I have unexpected turns.  Somehow I think that I should be able to handle it all with grace and style after everything, I have already been through.  But it turns out I can’t, I still get tripped up. I still need my time and space for healing.  I still need all five stages of grief, even for things that in perspective could have been worse.

We lost our dog unexpectedly.  She was only five.  Heart disease. I feel devastated.  I still feel the need to walk her at Noon.  I still get the inner push about 4 pm to feed her.  I still expect to come downstairs in the morning to a wagging and happy to see me, tail. She was a big dog and an even bigger presence in our house.  I miss her, a lot.  Even as I sit here typing, I miss not having my furry friend by my feet. I miss the chaos she caused attacking my daughter with love when came home from school. I miss the eye roll she gave me when I was the last walker of the night.  I miss the noise she made when she rolled over or switched places on the floor.  I just miss her.

Intellectually, I know she is not a child, just a pet.  But pets are unconditional.  When I was home late to walk her she forgave me. She never held a grudge when I shorted her food or shoved her out back for a quick pee instead of a full walk.  She just loved me as I was – entirely imperfect.  Our dog had a big personality. She barked when I was on conference calls too long.  The house feels empty without her. I play Christmas music to fill the air but the house still feels vacant.

I am writing about forgiveness, a strong message in this Advent season, and yet I find the place I need to start with is me. I need to start with forgiving myself for needing this moment in time to mourn my loss. For needing the extra breath when friends tell me about giving a puppy to their families for Christmas.  I need to remind myself – it is ok to hurt. I need to be kind to my heart and forgive myself for feeling the emotions that go with the unwanted change. So, for now, my series on forgiveness starts with forgiving myself. I miss my dog.

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