(c) 2016 Sheridan Hill
Sequoya was a rescue dog, one of a handful of husky-mix puppies wandering around their chained-up mother in a dirt yard. When I inherited her, she was a muscular, overly-frisky wild child who resisted being leashed and refused to come in the house.
I bought dog training books and became a frequent watcher of "Dog Whisperer" programs, hoping the show's star would be presented with an athletic, alpha husky like my Sequoya, and then I'd know exactly how to handle her.
She was an unstoppable hunter of rabbits and squirrels and once --with great prowess and some difficulty-- killed a 12-pound groundhog before my eyes. Twice she ate my sister's lap dog, and then spit her back out. It turned out she had expertly mouthed the quivering little thing, not putting a scratch on it...but effectively stopping its barking for the rest of the visit.
Over the next eleven years, I put in thousands of hours training Sequoya, petting her, brushing her, talking to her, walking her at odd hours of the day to minimize contact with other dogs, and running her in the woods.
She took more of my time and got more of my love any other animal I'd ever had. She survived heartworms, and the awful arsenic heartworm treatment. Then, when she received a cancer diagnosis, her spirit was unphased...until the very end.
When I buried her in a shady place in the back yard, she had essentially been my life partner for nearly a dozen years. Sometimes I still "see" her guarding the yard, and hear her unfettered howl of joy which was her consistent greeting to me whenever I approached.
I see her, I remember her, and I cherish those memories.
Grief may have no end…but it changes.
Grief is not a sign of weakness,
nor a lack of faith.
Grief is the price of love.
Tuesday, July 26 is both our next grief circle and my birthday, so my capable friend Michael Galovic will facilitate the circle.
We meet at 6 pm for an hour of comfort and sharing at the Swannanoa Valley Friends Meetinghouse, 137 Center Avenue, Black Mountain, NC.
You are encouraged to look for an object, a song, a poem, or some creative expression of your grief and to bring it with you to the circle. Speaking and sharing are optional but encouraged.
Reflections from a grief dula to help others navigate the waters of grief. Blog posts here are copyrighted and are part of an upcoming book. Please quote with attribution. Sheridan Hill