I lost my best friend. It was one of those heartbreaking, out of body experiences where nothing really feels real. Through this loss, I have seen the power to rewrite history. To accept a change in the course and to shift the outlook of my future.
(Me & Coppola)
In my life I have faced numerous gut wrenching tragedies. I have lost family and friends both with warning and without, but nothing can ever prepare you for loss, no matter how many times you have experienced it. Last year, I lost my best friend. My best friend just so happened to be my dog, Coppola. He was my loving loyal protector. He was my companion. My husband and I always remembered fondly the day we found him in the shelter and how our lives became complete and whole from that day on. We did extensive training. We took him with us anywhere and everywhere and my heart ached when I was away with him. He gave me space when I needed it and comfort when I felt alone. He came into my life after a great loss, The loss of my brother, and through loving him I was able to reopen my heart and heal. My husband and I would talk about growing old with him. We loved imaging what it would be like when our daughter grew up and how close they would be. I loved watching them play together and how much she adored him. He tolerated his little sister and played well his role of big brother and protector. But those dreams and those plans did not happen the way we had hoped and our lives changed courses.
Have you ever experienced that? A total shift of your plan? A loss or pain so deep that it throws your world upside down?
What I learned through this tragedy taught me the key to moving forward. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of a new future and a different plan.
After I lost Coppola I felt like the world stopped moving. I cried for many days and many nights. I found that more than anything, more than my love for him, more than the sadness of not being with him again, I cried over the fact that my daughter would not get to grow up with him. That she would not get to know him and love him the way that I did. She would not get to continue to share memories and life with him. She would never get to enjoy that club house we had talked about building for the two of them, at least not with him. But one day all of that changed. One day I realized that plans shift, but life does not end. The thing’s we cling to that we can’t imagine any other way to live without, there are ways to shape and mold that.
One day in the midst of our grief we happened upon a puppy in desperate need for a home. We were not ready to take on a puppy we thought. We were still grieving, still healing. We needed another lifetime to overcome the loss of our companion. We were wrong. This puppy, who we named Hemingway, was exactly what we needed. It was hard to see that then and sometimes even now. But when I see Hemingway with my daughter, it is clear as day. He is her companion. He is her best friend the way that Coppola was mine. He is her comfort when she is sad, he is where she looks when she feels alone. He is her playmate in the yard and late at night around the house when she would rather do anything but sleep. Where she goes he follows. When he wakes in the morning he goes to her door to see if she is awake and ready to start the day. When we are in the car he squeezes himself under her feet, as close as possible. Losing my best friend was a terribe tragedy that still haunts me, but losing my best friend allowed my daughter to find hers. He is her best friend and she is his. I watch them together and I feel whole and complete again. I watch them in their own world in complete awe of one another and suddenly nothing in life is really all that bad.
It’s both funny and sad how life does not turn out the way we plan. But the beautiful thing is that if you allow your mind to create a new history, if you give yourself permission to rewrite your history, to re-think it and re-dream, the possibilities are endless. Suddenly we are not paralyzed by grief, we are not haunted by the what-might-have-beens, but we are free. And free is a really nice place to be. I challenge you today to examine the idea that maybe things turn out different than we plan, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find peace or joy or contentment by charting a different course.
So what are you holding on to? Loss or grief or regret? Pain from the past you can’t release? Please share, I’d love to hear your story and help you rewrite your history!
(My daughter & Hemingway)
photos by Scarlati.Photography