Dear broken hearted human,
Your best friend in the world died today. I see your wound.
The one who was with you just after college when you moved into your first place and got your first job as a full fledged adult. The one who loved you when you made just enough money to pay bills and couldn’t afford cable. The one who was glad to see you every time you came home. The one who waited for you on those long days when you worked extra hours and then went out with friends. The one who laid beside you when you were sick. The one who snuggled next to you on the sofa. The one who listened as you talked through the pain of relationships that didn’t work.. The one who swiped food off the counter when you weren’t looking, and sometimes when you were. The one who joyfully played with you when you had the energy. The one who understood you and accepted you as you are, without question or judgment.
The one who stiffened around the hips. The one who needed more and more medical care to be comfortable. The one who celebrated your promotions with ice cream and a movie on the sofa. The one who deeply appreciated your gentleness and care with an aging body. The one who thanked you for the ramp that led to the bed so you could sleep together whenjumping was no longer an option. The one who didn’t complain and continued to give freely.
The one who was your heart with a tail and paws. The one who loved you as no one loved you.
Any human would be crazy to not sign up for a relationship like this. You have loved and been loved in a way that defies explanation.
My broken hearted human. Oh, my dear. You carry this love with you. Always.
That frail body you held held during the last breath had a heart and soul that remains with you. Death changes that status of your relationship; it does not change your connection. It does not change your love.
It brings a new level of rawness and pain. Many people will not see that. They do not believe it is possible to experience such a soulful connection and resonance with an animal. We know differently.
There are people who can see you and see your pain. They have felt their own versions of your heartbreak. They have fought to get out of bed in the morning. They have cried for days and weeks and months. You are not alone in this.
My broken hearted friend, your life has changed. You have been forever marked by this love. It goes with you everywhere. Someday, sometime, you’ll feel moved to open. You’ll receive a different companion in your life who will teach you different things about yourself. You’ll go through the same cycle. You have been chosen for this. They choose you.
The one chose well. The next one will choose well.
You are remarkable. You hurt. You love. All of those things can exist together.
With great love,
I'm Shannon, and I love and am loved by four Great Danes, four cats, and one horse (four Danes, one cat, and one horse are no longer walking this earth). Here I'll share stories of my adventures in grief photography for companion animals, my own grief journey, and thoughts on caregiving.