I have written and spoken before about the truth of Love, why it makes us feel as we do and how to use the experience to grow in love and consciousness, instead of missing the person and learning to live with the loss, as is the norm for many of us. Here I wanted to talk specifically about Grief.
I have had the fortune of not having lost many people due to death. I lost a number of small pets as a child, and dogs, as well as grand parents as is the way of things. I also spent several years in nursing the elderly & mentally ill in my early 20s, so have seen more than a few dead bodies; but they were not family (to me) and for many of them, if not all, it was a release from the physical bondage rather than a life ended too early.
However, I had the blessing of having an amazing experience in loss a few months ago, and I have been waiting for the time to write about it. Here it is:
This is not the loss of a person that I am going to write about, but another pet. A cat in fact, called Tammy. She was a long haired black fluffy cat, and belonged to the lady who I was with for 9 years. When we had got together, Tammy then started confidently going out into the garden, instead of having to be taken on the lead, and apparently had a major change of attitude. I had been brought up with dogs, but liked cats too, and this little thing was like my little girl. When we went away, people would come by to put food down for the two weeks, and tell us that they had not seen her once, and yet every time I pulled up outside the house, there she was on the doorstep waiting for me. Like many cats, she would walk all over the keyboard when I would be on the computer, and would sit on my lap or sleep on the bed; in fact go wherever I went.
When the relationship between myself and the lady ended and I moved out, it was Tammy that I was concerned for. I had bought a King Charles Spaniel a few years previously for the lady, and he and Tammy had got on very well, as equals, like brother and sister, but I knew he would go with anyone who fed him. No, it was Tammy who was sensitive and, like I said, she was my little girl.
Thankfully I still got to see her occasionally, as the lady worked shifts and went away sometimes, and we arranged 'visiting rights' for the dog to help when the lady was away, and I would sit with Tammy when I collected him. As usual, she would be on the doorstep, or running down the garden towards me, when I would pull up outside the house.
This arrangement continued for several years, with my visiting and seeing Tammy, having her purring in my arms, pleased to see me again. Then, one day, we noticed she was not eating properly. She had been funny with food on and off over the years, as cats are, but this was different. A few weeks of trying different foods, and trying to help her to eat, showed that she had actually lost most of her teeth, but then she was about 16 years old now. Several months of mashing her food passed, with some success, but she was losing weight, and it was clear this was serious. Then we noticed her jaw had actually seized open (keeping in mind that I would only visit every few weeks) and she could not close her mouth, as if there was a growth in her jaw. We called the vets who said there was nothing that could be done, and to keep going as she was not in any pain.
The following week I was there again. We were met at the door by the lady who was very upset. She had been watching Tammy trying to eat, and said she could not keep her going any longer like this. It was now time to take the step. Tammy was still happy, jumping up on the side well, purring away when being held, but the poor little thing could not close her mouth, which meant she could barely eat, and it had to be stopped. It was not fair to keep her like this any longer, in effect starving slowly. We took her to the vets.
Now we get to the point of the story; the tale so far was just to set the scene. The dog was my little boy, but this was my little girl, and I was taking her to be put to sleep, for her own good. I had no doubts that it was the right thing to do, but when she was purring so readily and so active still, even at 16 years old, it was especially tough. The vet agreed immediately that there was no choice, and the two female staff gave the injection, as I looked into Tammy's eyes, and then left the room as I held her.
They had said immediately the injection was given "She's gone", as they took her pulse, but she had not. I was there, looking at her, feeling inside me, and she had not gone yet. Something was happening in me and I was not sure what it was.
Then I felt it, and the words came to me from within, as I stroked her & held her, so powerful that I feel it now "Thank you for all you have given". I was not sad, to see her go, and did not feel I missed her already. I did not feel it was wrong, or that it should not be happening. I was just filled with such intense gratitude that it almost hurt.
But gratitude for what?
Gratitude for all the love she had given me, for her time, her attention, for how special she had made me feel to her, for always being there for me, and now for her releasing this in me, in her death. She was giving up life here, giving up her body, so that I could touch this beautiful place inside me, where the gratitude sears through leaving a scorched trail of purity. This was her final gift to me, the greatest gift of all. She was setting me free. And then I saw that this had been her story all along. She had been there so I could love her, to put me in touch with my own love and give me an object to focus on and allow it to grow. And when it was time, she would go, at my own hand, ripping all the attachment I had to her form out of me, leaving only the love in its purest state. She did that for me. My little girl. My Tam.
Thank you Tam.
take a few minutes if you need to....
Were you moved at all by the above? Did it stir something deep within you? Can you see that this is your own love, your own purity pushing through? The feeling is abstract, not attached to anything but the beauty in the story. And the beauty is the recognition of the truth within you, your own truth.
The above is also the truth behind grief; or, of grief experienced in its purest form. Grief is not about the loss of a form or loved one, it's about love. But the love is so shocking in its purist state, without the image of the loved one to focus on to dilute it, that to the surface mind it is like being fixed in a terrifying vice-like-grip, and it is terrifying as the thinking mind cannot move. It flounders around in desperation, not knowing what to do in this strange state. To the mind, the shock can feel like one cannot go on. In truth, it is the process of returning home, returning to the formless where there is nothing but love.
And this has reminded me of the stories from the Bible and Bhagavad-Gita, where people were shown God's true nature and could not stand it, as the light is so blinding. The light symbolizes love, and it is true that no matter how much we yearn for love, we cannot handle it in its purest form here, which is the formless to us; at least not yet. But you will. It is your true nature. It is your own being you are feeling when you feel love. There is no need to run from it. Just be aware that all forms are taken away, to reveal the love beneath.
Thank you for reading.