Some of you may have wondered where I have been for the last few months. I have thought about connecting with all of you so many times. However, my heart and body were distracted with the care of my sweet Waldo, my 6 ½ year old Australian Shepherd, and my sweet Sierra, my 19 ½ year old kitty. I thought about what I could I share with all of you regarding this journey over the last three months that started with my sweet dog coughing and becoming more ill as the weeks progressed or what could I share with you about my lovely wise Sierra when she took a turn for the worse at the end of January.
My heart during these months was heavy, but open, my mind anxious. I vowed to myself I would stay present for these beings completely for whatever time they had left on this earth. Sierra had lived a long life, I knew her days were numbered. For Waldo, I kept hope as a vigil in my heart that we would figure out how to help him get better and live a long full life. I remembered my journey with my sweet dog, 3 years prior. I was not able to stay present fully with him during his last three months of life. I was filled with a deep anxiety that left me no peace with any decisions I made for him. I knew my anxiety affected his final days and I vowed I would not allow my anxiety to create more challenges for a loved one in the future when I was there to be of service
This time, I was given not just one chance to fulfill this vow I took to stay present, but two chances, and both at the same time. For Waldo, the decisions I made were difficult. However, I kept my anxiety at bay so I could stay in a place of hope and healing for him. With Sierra, I chose to take several days off from work to just hold her and be with her, sing to her and love her. She rallied on several occasions, always amazing me with the continued power of her love of life and love of this family. With Waldo, I was able to stay present when he labored with his breathing, enough so that I could lay my hands on him channeling love so powerful that my hands burned. Within seconds every single time, his breathing eased and he would fall asleep.
Little did I know the healing I provided Waldo, was only to ease his discomfort. And the healing that I shared with Sierra, the same powerful flow of love, would help perk her up to give her several more weeks of life. My dearest Waldo passed away on 2/27/19 and my lovely Sierra soon followed on 3/16/19.
The day before Waldo passed, I had a dream in which a teacher came to me and told me that my greatest asset was my vulnerability. Little did I realize that during the next few weeks, I would feel completely vulnerable at the loss of my 2 treasured family members. Waldo’s soul made the decision to leave this earth on his own and in his own way. He passed while at the animal hospital away from my loving embrace but held in my loving heart, wearing the scarf I left for him with my scent on it. Sierra had a more difficult time leaving. She had been in her body for so long, I believe she temporarily forgot how to make her transition and resisted.
On Thursday evening, two nights before Sierra made her journey over the rainbow bridge, she had what was most likely a stroke. This left her unable to walk, completely incontinent, and extremely lethargic. I knew this was the end for this sweet girl in her body, and so prayed that she would leave her body on her own accord. However, I also made an appointment to have the veterinarian come to my house on Saturday, late am, just in case she needed some help to ease her suffering. And from Thursday evening, until Saturday I held her in my arms, sang again to her and urged her to let go. All night Thursday and Friday I held space with my sweet girl in her final hours. I urged her to let her soul fly free. She could not.
During this time, sweet Waldo also held vigil in his spirit form. He would show her how to leave and that he was waiting for her. I know that he had an easier time transitioning because it hadn’t been that long since he was in his spirit body. He showed her over and over how she could leave and become a kitten again in spirit form. Nevertheless, Sierra lingered, forgetting what was before this life, and remembering what she had for the last 19 ½ years.
With a sad heart, I greeted the veterinarian at my door at 11 am on Saturday. I held Sierra and cried and showered her with love as the animal doctor helped her leave her body. Sierra was able to leave very quickly once things got started. Her soul was so ready to soar. It was the last bit of staying present I could give to my sweet sweet girl. The gift of helping her to leave a failed body that was no longer useful for her and to jump into a new life of freedom and love with her brother Waldo.
I know when we make a vow to life and it comes from a very deep place, then life answers our call. When I made the vow to stay present with future suffering loved ones despite my anxiety, little did I know that I would have the opportunity with 2 family members at once. One young and one old, but both loved and treasured beyond all words.
I’m not saying I didn’t have anxiety, I most certainly did. However, I made the decision that I would make my anxiety secondary to the needs of a loved one who needed me so that I could be there for them fully. I wish I could have done that for my boy 3 years ago, but it helped me to venture on this path with Waldo and Sierra in a way that eased their discomfort on their final days, and helped them on their journey in a more graceful way.
I’m not saying I haven’t questioned myself on whether I could have made different decisions, different choices that might have changed the outcome for these amazing souls. And yet, as a dear friend has reminded me, no one is powerful enough to keep a soul here that is meant to leave this earth. Sierra was meant to live a long life, Waldo was not. It really comes down to this very simple fact.
I am no stranger to death. I was a hospice nurse for several years, caring and helping souls who were getting ready to depart this earthly plane. I also have experienced the loss of several loved ones both furry and human over the years. When we experience that kind of deep anguishing loss of someone we loved, I believe there is often the question or thought, that it should not have happened or perhaps we could have done more so that loved one could have stayed on this earth for a longer period of time.
I desire to share this with you as my friend shared with me if any of you are experiencing this thought or feeling right now. Please know, you are not powerful enough to keep a soul here that is ready to go back to the spirit world, to a larger sense of home. But please know this, you will meet again, perhaps during this lifetime an animal friend will reincarnate with you. Or a baby will be born into your family that you recognize immediately as the soul of a loved one who had departed during this life or another lifetime.
In the meantime, the greatest gift we can give another soul is staying present with them during their time of need. When their needs are greater, putting your anxiety at bay is a gift, so that you can be there for them fully. This presence may show itself by holding their hand, giving them energy, bathing them, administering medication, feeding them, holding them in your arms, cleaning up from their incontinence, singing to them and in so many other ways. At one point after Sierra had her stroke, her bowels let go for several minutes as I held her. I let her know it was okay, I didn’t mind, while gently cleaning her up.
When we provide healing to another, we never know if it’s to help ease their suffering or to help them to stay in their body. This is when healing energy is the most powerful, when we give it from a place of pure love and no attachment to the outcome. The energy I channeled through my body held Waldo in a more peaceful place, but did not keep his body here. It was not meant to stay. The energy I channeled for Sierra, did allow her to rally on several occasions, but ultimately, helped her to transition.
This sharing is about the mystery of life and death. It’s about the vulnerability that comes from an open heart and staying present. It’s about love that knows no boundaries and will find us again and again if we stay open. Since Waldo and Sierra crossed the rainbow bridge they have visited many times and I feel their spirits very profoundly. Waldo is getting ready to jump back into a puppy body and is hoping to come back to his family here. We are in negotiation regarding the timing, but if he has his way, it will be soon. Sierra is still acclimating to her life on the other side. She will stay there a bit longer, remembering what it’s like to be in her spiritual essence. However, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we will meet again and perhaps in this lifetime.
The last moments with both of my sweet furry family members were held in a place of deep intimacy and sacred space. The kind of love we shared binds us together forever. And in that knowing, my heart is at peace.
So dear friends, if any of you are in the process of assisting a friend, family member or furry loved one through an illness, injury or other time of need, my greatest wish for you is that you stay present for them. Do not worry if you are doing something right or wrong. If the loved one is meant to be here, they will be. If not, no matter what you do, they will leave this earth. By being present, you will be a channel of a great healing force that will have that person or beings greatest needs in mind. And at the same time, allow yourself to be vulnerable, to have an open heart, this is your greatest asset and power you can share with another and for yourself.