*This is a tribute to Echo (12 yrs old), my brother and sister in-law’s dog who died today. A letter written as I felt the pain of my friend’s young dog’s life. She was less than one year old and was the sister of my brother Joel’s dog Stanley.*
To Tim, Camille and Lars,
That Last Magical Day with Penny
Time does not heal grief like it can create friendships. Proof of this is meeting you three amazing souls and instantly falling in love with all of you and your dog the moment we first met. The grief of losing Penny will take much more time.
By the time we were bathed in star light, telling stories, after playing with the dogs on the salty beach of Spiral Jetty, after our gluttonous wine drinking and tailgating, after the sunset, after watching the shooting stars, laughing, telling jokes, stories of wit and wonder, Lars and his Greek mythology renditions, the drone, with Joel, my Mom, at that moment, we were best friends. That is a sign of friendship and love.
Ironically, and in retrospect, it’s those times that make the grief after loss so hard. The grief is as seemingly un-bearable as that last night was magical. In times of grief, we tend to think we didn’t do enough. We didn’t hug enough, notice enough. Perhaps we took the thing we lost for granted. Maybe we were distracted by the stars, the wine, the beauty of the night. Maybe it’s the memories of those lovely moments that fuel our grief. Maybe it’s all that love, releasing back into the universe, leaving your soul. Or, maybe it’s the love we were experiencing during those beautiful moments, finally being realized and received into the opening wound of grief from this loss.
When I heard of the horrible news of Penny, I could not believe it. It affected me as if it was my own dog. I immediately thought of all the amazing times we all shared in those short 3 days and how much I love you guys and how much fun we all had. It made me realize that I probably took our instant friendship for granted. I remembered looking up at the Milky Way and looking back billions of years in time. I remembered the story of Lars’s birth that Camille told me about (the cliff notes no doubt), while wading in the water, 1 mile from shore at the Spiral Jetty. I remembered how you found Penny, “right after” your last dog died, and the subsequent finding of Stanley by Joel. I remembered every moment that Penny and Stanley played together at your home and at the Spiral Jetty.
I cried when I heard the news of Penny’s short time on this earth. I didn’t play with her enough, I didn’t hug her enough, I didn’t notice her enough. But, I’ll never forget that beautiful, magical night on the Jetty under the stars. And, I’ll always remember Penny.
I think in time, the grief that you feel is equally balanced by the love that you gave and received from Penny. The time that you spent with Penny was as magical and beautiful as the amount of pain of grieving her loss. As short but magical as her life was, I hope you feel that every second of Penny’s life was worth the pain you still feel.
I love you guys!