I sit here in my very quiet living room and contemplate the sudden and heartbreaking loss of a very loved companion, my fabulous eleven year old Border Collie Wizbang Wollop. Now before I go any further I want to say that I have no intention to depress anyone with an out pouring of sadness and grief here, but more to acknowledge, as much to myself as to anyone else, that as part of a healing process we have a need to talk, to express our ideas of grief and maybe find some perspective on our feelings. Then the task is to remember the wonderful things that were shared with who or what you have lost, to laugh, to cry and tell the stories of that journey together, to bring a light into the darkness of loss.

Grief can be brought on by the loss of many things, there is a hole that you just can not fill with anyone or anything else, replacement is not an option as nothing could possibly fit that shape hole. A friend described the loss of her partner and the feeling it left her with, in one of the best descriptions I have ever heard, she said something like this “It is like there is a big hole on the floor of your living room, you can not cover it, you can only walk around it, as time passes the hole becomes an integral part of where you live.”

How we deal with loss, whether that is a way of life, a loved one or an item that was precious to us, depends, it seems to me, on how we view life and loss in general. For me my spiritual path is fundamentally guided by the eternal cycles of life, death and rebirth, not that it makes things any easier emotionally for one minute, the pain of loss is just as strong and the process just the same. But, it does help me with a swifter recovery of my equilibrium, bringing myself back to some kind of balance where I can find solace in the pleasures and love shared, rather than grieving for the loss.

My encounters with how death can change life over night have been more than I would wish for anyone, so maybe I found out earlier than some that death and change are the only things to be depended on in life. This first lesson came at the age of eleven when my stepfather died back in the early 70’s. My Mother experienced people crossing the road to avoid talking to her, later they would explain to someone else that “they did not know what to say to her”.

Death is a subject that we would all wish to avoid thinking or talking about if we could, but it is such an integral part of life that the avoidance of speaking about it is surely damaging to our psyche, not to mention our abilities to cope when it does happen in our lives.

My feeling is, there are some things that need to be met head on in order to make any sense of them, or they can make the world seem like such a cruel and unjust place. I am sure in my heart there is no cruel agenda intended from a universal perspective (though I dare not speak for the hearts and minds of some human beings), there is life, there is death and what follows is change/rebirth.

For me the only approach to loss is to take the gifts and memories of who or what has passed. I then look to the future with hope and faith that everything that happens is meant and it is up to me to find the grace and learning within it.

I miss my dog, she was a character and a half and it will be a long time before the hole in my heart becomes just part of the landscape of my existence, like my stepfather, my brother and some of the many other holes in the pattern of my life. But when I pull away from a close up view of the threads that are constantly weaving this pattern of my life, there are no gaps. As I begin to look at the pattern from a distance I see there is colour, shape and design in those threads. They all feed on to the universal loom, working in harmony creating the fabric of existence and recording the incredible story of all life on earth.