Celebrating a Life Well Lived and Lessons Learned
“Never say with grief, ‘he is no more’, but rather say with thankfulness ‘he was’.”
There’s nothing like experiencing the joys of life. But as we know, life has a way of handing us unexpected challenges, and sometimes, heartbreaking sadness. Two weeks ago, I had to put my 13 year old basset hound, Earl, to sleep. A huge mass was discovered in his stomach and there was no cure.
Facing this reality was devastating. My pets are like my children. This dog had been through so much with me, I couldn’t imagine a life without him. There’s a simpleness and a purity about being loved by a dog. Perhaps it’s that unconditional love. They never judge us the way we judge ourselves. They accept us, and love us, for who we are. We are always more than enough in their eyes.
I got to spend 3 days with Earl before letting him go and those days were at the same time achingly difficult and oddly comforting. We did all the favorite things and ate all the favorite foods (ribs, popcorn, pizza, and double cheeseburgers). We took lots of pictures, and watched the Red Sox together. Earl, of course, was a Josh Beckett fan like his mother. We went to the park, and Earl got to ride in his red flyer wagon for the last time. Most of all, we sat side by side and I would gently stroke his fur, talking to him in a quiet voice about all I loved about him and the years we shared together.
As difficult as it was to face the inevitable, I’m so grateful I had the extra time with him. In his last few days, Earl gave me an amazing gift – the gift of being fully, completely present. When my mind would start to wander and think about him being gone, I’d turn my attention back to appreciating and loving him right now.
Gratitude has a way of easing even the hardest of times.
The choice to be present, to meet the moment, regardless of our circumstances or condition, is the most powerful choice of all. When we choose to meet the now, we let go of our mind’s struggles about what could be and what has been and we choose to be who we are.
Celebrating life is about loving what is right now.
After you read this, I hope you will take a few moments to recognize the things you love most in your life – whether they are people, animals, or experiences. Then take the time to celebrate the blessing of that love.
Be present to it.
Really feel it.
Then communicate it, because love is meant to be shared.
This month’s Community call will explore what it means to Meet the Moment, and how we can more consistently make this choice to live the greatness of who we are. I hope you’ll join me.