In today’s episode I’m sharing a very personal recent experience of having to say goodbye to our family dog, and how I have been able to shift my feelings and emotions from those of grief to gratitude.
I missed publishing an episode last week. It’s only the second or third time that’s happened in the 12+ months of this show. I felt bad knowing that you all were waiting for a new episode, however I was struggling to relate to a personal family challenge that was going on last week.
Last Wednesday we said goodbye to our family dog Olive. It was one of the hardest, most emotional experiences of my life. It was unexpected, quick, and when it was over I was left with a big hole that didn’t feel like it would be filled anytime soon.
Sarah and I adopted Olive 4 years ago from a shelter here in Atlanta. She was a pitbull mix with pretty bad mange damage to her hair, so she was most likely not going to be adopted. We fell in love with her when we first saw her photos online. She joined our family and quickly assumed her role as sister to our hound dog Watson and loyal friend to Sarah and I. When baby Maya was born, Olive relished in her new role as doggy sister.
For 2 days after we said goodbye to Olive, my emotions were all over the place. I cried more and harder than I had in probably 20 years. I had no appetite, no desire to do work. I was in it deep.
It took me a while to start to see the blessings in the situation. But when I did, the flood of gratitude poured over me and almost immediately lifted me up.
I became so grateful that I was able to say goodbye to my friend. Not only that, I was able to hold her, talk to her and tell her I loved her as the vet gave her the injection that would end her life. It was a very moving experience for Sarah and I. One that I am very grateful to have been able to experience with Olive.
I also because incredibly grateful at the 4 amazing years we had her as a friend. From day 1 she was so full of love. If you rearrange the letters in her name they spell “I Love”, and that’s exactly what she did every single day. I became grateful that I was able to experience that and see what it’s like to be loved unconditionally.
Once the gratitude hit me, the sadness and pain weren’t as strong.
This experience has reminded me that gratitude can be found in any situation. There is always something we can take away from it that will shift our perspective and uplift our lives, if we choose.
The experience also reminded me that we are not promised tomorrow. As cliche as that is, none of us know what may happen in the next hour, day, week. Understanding that can help us become more present, patient, and loving today. I make more of a point to greet friends and family with genuine love when I see them and when they leave. I am stopping more frequently to BE instead of do. I am communicating my gratitude for others and sharing how people inspire me. Overall, I’m smelling the roses more and it has created more joy in my life.
This episode is a reminder of how much we have to be grateful for and how we are all experiencing abundance in every moment. What we’re experiencing an abundance of is up to us.