Apr 232011

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that flow,
I am the sunlight on my own grave,

I am a gentle autumn rain,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there I did not die.

Lizzie West:  “Prayer”

I’ve found some comfort in listening to this evocative and hauntingly beautiful song these past few days.

3 days ago, my husband and I made the decision to help Jasmine, our sweet 13-year old boxer, take leave of her pain-wracked body. When she was young she could run like the wind, and we hope that’s what she’s doing again. She so loved it!

Lately we’d been working with the vet trying different pain meds for what we thought was an intensification of her life-long arthritis, but nothing seemed to help.

We found out Tuesday that she had bone cancer and that the already constant pain would only continue to get worse.

We made an appointment for the next day and brought her home for one last night so we could all have a little love-fest and say our goodbyes.

Of course we were and are heartbroken, but there was no question it was time. It’s so hard to take the life of anyone or anything, especially a beloved family member (which she definitely was). But in this case I actually felt some relief being able to help provide her with a release from her suffering. I am so grateful for the ability to do that, and for the loving manner in which our vet and her assistants handled everything.

The Initial Death Experience

When I was in my 20’s, I had a near-death experience. I was right on the brink of departing permanently, yet obviously, still had enough connection to my body to be able to choose to stay. (And it was a choice.)

But the point I want to make here is that it was such a liberating experience! Words cannot describe how expansive and freeing it was to move out of my body and let go, and I was not even in a painful body.

I knew for that brief moment that everything was perfectly fine. And not just there in the spirit world, but even here in the physical realm. Everything. Perfect. Fine. There was no stress, no tension, no anything but bright freedom and goodness.

My life had been so terribly heavy by contrast.

Still, I did decide to “come back”, in fact it was a little difficult to actually do it and I thank my lucky stars I was able to (it was a close call).

I didn’t get so far away as some who actually see other beings and go to “the light”. But it was enough to give me a taste of the experience of dying.

Remembering that was so helpful to me as we watched Jasmine go. I just knew that she was flying free at long last, just as I had done that day. That she was free of her crippling pain. Free of what she obviously held as her serious responsibility of taking care of us even while debilitated. Free and at ease. Liberated. Happy? I hope so.

Luminarias (a New Mexico tradition) on Jasmine's grave

A Goodbye, and a Hello

And so I know that even as we say goodbye to this awesome, sensual life experience here on this beautiful planet with all our fellow creatures, we are — at the same time — entering into another level of what can only be thought of as life as well.

Over the days we prepared for our goodbyes, I was struck by how many times I noticed signs of new life. New buds on the newly transplanted tree. Bright, lime-green leaves popping out on all the large trees along the road. Little flowers blooming even in the sand of this high desert.

I also notice that little birds keep appearing in the oddest of places, and every so often I hear new birdsongs that I haven’t heard in almost a year.

And today the hummingbirds have arrived for the season. How perfect is that?

New Birth, Resurrection, Renewal

And so on that note I wish you a Happy Easter. I hope you get to experience the vibrant sense of renewal that this holiday — this holy day — brings.

And just like the little hatchling of the symbolic Easter egg, may you feel the wonder and vigor of being born anew.

Even if, like us, you’re experiencing some sorrow or loss, may you also experience the sense of newness that that very same transition often brings with it if you but pay attention. For they are two sides of the same coin, after all.

And isn’t it just all a part of the richness of this thing called life? Precious, every bit of it.

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  29 Responses to “Handling Loss :: A Message of Renewal”

Comments (16) Trackbacks (13)

    Patti, I’m sorry to hear about your dog. I know it’s difficult to let go of a beloved pet. But I totally believe that she has now returned to a place of pure positive energy & joy, just as all of us do when we make our transition. When my father passed on, a good friend of mine sent me a poem similar to the one you’ve quoted her. I didn’t realize it was a song — I’ve just added it to my Amazon wish list so thank you for sharing that info. Hope you have a blessed & joyful Easter! This is the time of year when my thoughts turn to rebirth and new beginnings. Thanks for your lovely post. take care, Beth


      Awww, Beth, your words touch me deeply. Thanks so much.

      This album of Lizzie’s is one of my favorite albums of all-time. Great girl music! Bet you’ll like it.

      Happy Easter to you too, and many many blessings!


    Jasmine is doing well, I’m sure. Such a pretty dog with luminous eyes!

    I have had a near – death experience, too, but under different circumstances. While it didn’t give me the feelings it gave you, it made me certain of a ‘life after life’. It reminds me how things have to be broken down and deconstructed to be able to bring change and new experiences.

    This was somewhat melancholic to read, but it makes me happy. Freedom is one of my primary ‘lessons’ this life, so it was comforting. I know your dog is doing fine, Patti. She’s a very happy soul. So should we be!

    In death, life!


      Hi Sol,

      Interesting… And I think that’s a great observation that “It reminds me how things have to be broken down and deconstructed to be able to bring change and new experiences. ” And interesting timing, since I had noticed yesterday that the Moon was in mula, the lunar mansion ruled by Nirriti, the Goddess of destruction. But yes, it often takes having our house of cards fall down before we even have a reason to build anew.

      And ya… It is melancholic, I guess. Even while I was writing it, it wasn’t one or the other (sad or happy) but an interesting intertwingling of both. I was pretty good with that, as that’s life. In fact, I think that’s the beauty and richness of life, like I said at the end.

      And just as I pressed save here, I realized that even the weather here is reflecting that rich mixture. It’s raining even as the sun shines. Kind of perfect.

      Thanks so much for your comforting words and for touching in. I always love to see you here.


    Such a beautiful post, Patti, and filled with so many things we experienced when faced with the same decision with our sweet dog, Moe. Jasmine was such a gorgeous and sweet dog and so very beloved. I can see her running free and still taking care of you all! Sending much love! Silke


      Oh, thanks, Silke! You knew her and knew how sweet she was. If I had to choose one word to describe her, that’s what it would be. And you’re right, she probably is still taking care of us, of course she is!

      Thanks so much for the love, and for leaving some of your own sweetness here. 🙂


    I so well remember Keeper playing with Jasmine. Sees they were best dog friends. We’ll miss her sweet spirit. Hang in there, Patti. 😀


      Hi Carol,

      How nice to see you here! Ya, we all had some good walks and time together in these beautiful mountains, didn’t we? They had a pretty great life, and Jasmine loved having friends like Keeper. We miss Jasmine too, and miss having you guys closer!

      Thanks for commenting!


    It’s tough to let go of a loved one,even one of our beloved pets. Your story about almost crossing over was really cool. Maybe a more in depth post on that sometime?


      Hi Justin,

      Welcome back! Ya, it was really cool — tho scary in its own way since it was such a close call — and I’m sure the topic will come up again. I’ll keep your request for more details in mind…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


    I only read this today…I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I know how hard it is to let go of a beloved furry friend, but your act was compassionate. She’s free now, back into Source, and right there close to you.
    Yours is a beautiful way to handle loss, thank you for sharing.
    Love & Light, and a special hug.


      Hi Cristina,
      Thank you! Such beautiful support from people like you makes the journey much MUCH easier.


    Hi Patti,

    Loss is one of the hardest things to bear in this life especially when deep love is concerned. Sometimes life forces us to make choices that are needed instead of choice that we want. I am sure that Jasmine is in a happier place now where she is free of pain running about she as so loves to do.

    Separation and reunion, death and life is the natural way of things. By itself there is no good or bad. Only our perception and attachment gives it meaning. Since this is the case, let us celebrate life and the good memories and experience we had that becomes so much more dear because there is a limit to the time we have with the people we love.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Irving the Vizier


      Hi Irving,

      No kidding… Loss IS one of the hardest things to bear in life. Although I miss Jasmine greatly, what you said about the experience we had being that much more dear because of the limited time we have is very relevant. As she got older I so much appreciated every moment with her, knowing there was a limited number of them. And I did celebrate her life.

      And still do.

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing.


    Oh Patti, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I have been with a couple of my cats as they made their transition and it was such a sacred and peaceful moment (even with me crying like a maniac into their fur). I know that Jasmine appreciated your last gift of freedom to her.

    And I love that you honor the cycle of life and death.

    Sending you a HUGE hug.


      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you! Love the hug! I enjoyed your post (that’s linked to here in your comment) a few days ago… And have to say that Jasmine was one of our big communicators. Some animals are easier to converse with than others (in my experience) and she very much loved to connect.

      And what a visual — “crying like a maniac into their fur”. If only all cats could be so lucky.

      Thanks much for coming by and leaving a bit of love behind. ♥

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