A Note From Cheryl Hiebert:
Dear friends and animal lovers!
I would be honoured to have your vote in Round 2 of The Next Top Spiritual Author Competition which starts today and ends June 28th.
I was inspired to write this book when I found out that my dog Willow was diagnosed with lymphoma and I was told he had 3 months to live.
If you have experienced the loss of your beloved animal companion and the subsequent bereavement that comes with their passing, this book will provide you with comfort and support in your period of grief. This book is also a celebration of the beautiful relationship we’ve all had and the gifts they bring to us.
With much gratitude,
“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” ~ Albert Einstein
Loss as a Gift Chapter – remembering and memories – at some point we begin to see the silver lining, the beautiful lessons; the joy. We begin to recall what we loved about then, how we loved and can reminisce again. Perhaps we have a sacred ceremony similar to a human funeral – to honour their place in our lives, to allow ourselves and offer others the opportunity in a loving blessed way.
Sadly, I feel that I realized the depth of my relationship with Willow when I found out that our time together was limited. To hear that I had six weeks to three months left it was a complete shock to me. It was as though all of the familiar landmarks had suddenly been obliterated and all paths overgrown – where do I go? Where do I turn? How could this be happening? Was it even true?
I had assumed that he would be with me and live until at least fifteen years of age. After all, I had been taking, what I thought was, exceptionally good care of him. I had done every single thing I could think of to treat him as holistically in every way possible. We had ten years of research together. Bach Flower Remedies, homeopathy, herbal formulas, Reiki energy healing, fabulous food, pure water, and activities that stimulated his natural instincts. I had vaccinated him as little as possible. I did the initial puppy shots and rabies after gentle loving threats from my vet that he would be quarantined if anything happened when he did not have his rabies shots. I gave in. After all, we did walk in places where there were skunks and raccoons.
With all this…how could he leave me? My life’s work is all about being of service in helping people and animals heal in a healthy way. Isn’t this why I am here…how could he be dying? What had I done wrong? When I had people come in and take care of him while I was away studying, I guided them quite sternly to only walk him in conservation areas, no areas where they might come in contact with lawn pesticides. I have always watched in horror while people put poison on the lawn and don’t believe that it just might harm their pets. I have an awful mental picture of a neighbor that had his lawn sprayed and not ten minutes later the Golden Retriever came sauntering out and laid down right beside the skull and crossbones sign placed on the lawn. What? Really??
When I found out that our time was ending I was reflecting on all this and looking for clues to my mistakes. This is when I began to love Willow in detail. Love him in detail. I decided that, while he was alive, I would write everything down I could think of: his habits, the words he knew, the first time he peed lifting one leg, his first swim. I memorized the smells, sounds – every nuance of him. The little velvety spot on the edge of his nose; I had always told him that it was plastic. I wrote it all down while he was beside me on his doggie bed. I wanted him to write it with me. Loving in detail is not easy, it is painful, but when I look back at all of the documents and poems and songs I wrote I wouldn’t change a tear.
What I learned….
When we really get what love is, the key is to anchor that love within us – firmly…loving ourselves deeply first. And from that strong place we can then love outwardly, easily extending love. When our well is full we have much to offer. And in return we can also fully take the love back in that comes our way. Taking it in differently now…with a new trust and surrender.
I feel that it is through our animal companions that we can truly experience the purity and love of our Higher Power. It’s like a covert operation when we bring home our new companion – and they know why they are here with us. They are here to patiently teach us many lessons. What we thought we knew, the things we heard, or had been told about the love of God, are all just words until we have that relationship with an animal – then we have the opportunity to really get it. This may be the only really authentic loving relationship some of us may ever have in our lifetime.
Journal Entry: March 4, 2009 –“I still wake up at night and listen for your breathing and I can still hear you bump the closet door as you shift around. I can hear the big sigh as you settle back in and I can feel you…right here, in my heart and all around me.
I did a session with your good friend Kevin today…wow, I could really feel your paws in my hands…the strongest so far. We talked about how you used to be at the window and would stand up on the bench barking and then run to greet him at the door. Whether he was late or early – you always knew when he was coming. The last time you saw one another you stood right in front of him doing a bit of crying and talking to him – looking him right in the eyes. He said he knew what you were telling him and almost felt awkward.
I feel so blessed to really know love now Willow – it makes more and more sense as the days move forward. I get it on new levels it seems. I feel you so strongly and know I can get through this – with us together. And I guess it’s not even getting through it as much as moving through it…gently moving through the grief and by being deeply in it and feeling every nuance. Discovering all of the gifts that are there. By rushing the process I would miss so much. I want to reach in and know and feel and grieve and love and get all the bits. I want to taste feel touch smell and think…using every sense to go to the depths…to retrieve what has been lost…thank you for helping me find me, the real me. I want to move into and through life and love with this new level of awareness. I think of it like covering myself head to toe in mud, rolling in it, filling in all the spaces. To let love in fully. Your divine presence is astounding to me…I am forever changed by this. Please help me remember all of this every moment…every day for the rest of my life! Thank you my divine teacher and beloved friend.”