Dog trains man

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chasing Sunsets

Three weeks of going in Viva's footsteps are coming to an end. We visited Denmark, Holland and Germany. I dread the upcoming return to daily life. In which I am sure to utterly fail, for a while to come.

A good friend popped the question, which I knew had to come one day, "Why are you doing this to yourself?". She wondered why I prolonged my grief by three weeks. Why couldn't I let go. Wasn't it better to try to move forward?

I didn't answer, although I thanked her silently for being worried about my mental state of health. And I couldn't answer because I wouldn't even know how to answer that question. I don't know what's best. I wouldn't recommend anything we did during Viva's passing to anybody, as grief is a personal process. I can only say I followed my heart, as that is where Viva is. And following it, is therefore the closest I can get to her. Grief follows no logic.

My 5-year old "grand-daughter" - it would take too long to explain our exact relationship - seems to get that. When she visited us with her family on one of the days we were at the West-coast, she brought gifts for Kenzo and Viva, even though her family explained beforehand Viva was in heaven. Not that her family is religious, but how do you explain to a 5-year old, that one of the dogs she grew up with is no more. Heaven is handy, also for the not-religious.

And while the family was busy shopping, I was anxious we couldn't make it to see the sunset. Something I always did with Viva on our trips. With only half-an-hour to go, I explained them I had to go now, to chase sunsets with Viva, and a little hand grabbed mine, saying she wanted to join.

It didn't make sense to the family and I understand that. Yet, I also know it did make sense to me and a 5-year old. We watched a beautiful sunset, and silently missed Viva together. The little girl had an awesome day visiting a swimming hall, play-ground, got presents and candy. When her mother called at the end of the evening to ask how her day has been, she never mentioned any of that: "We are missing Viva. She is in heaven now you know." Grief has no age.

Being spiritual or religious has never been me either. But I have to admit, the last three weeks have been a very spiritual voyage. It became a pilgrimage. Even though I didn't seek it. It just happened. Or?

Another good friend, although "virtual" this time, told me how her dog let her know she was alright after she passed. That was a beautiful thought to me. But me not being spiritual or religious, would I even notice? Would I miss it, when Viva would try to tell me she was alright?

A rainbow appeared out of nowhere, when we approached the very first beach of the trip. It sent chills down my spine, immediately followed by a warmth, I never felt before.

"Hello Viva", I whispered, smiling.

Maybe I was seeking it after all. Grief can adjust the image you have of yourself. At least, it was a wonderful feeling to see that rainbow, and I needed it to be Viva.





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18 comments

  1. What a lovely story... I think viva was definitely sending you a sign.

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    1. Thanks AJ. It is a nice thought isn't it. It sends chills down my spine still.

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  2. Viva = "live the life". Beautiful post, thank you.

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    1. Thanks for that reminder. She was an expert in that, too.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story (even though it made me cry). You're right -- grief is very personal and the heart does what it has to do. You don't have to be religious to feel the universe is sending you messages, or perhaps it's that you're in a state of mind to see what was always there but you never noticed. I had many such experiences when my mother died -- which, bizarrely, involved her sending me money, something she always did in life. Anyway, I'm so glad that you got what you were looking for and that you had someone who understood to share it with you. As for the friend who suggested you are prolonging the grief by indulging in it... it's not going to go away, and if you don't pay attention to it, it'll come out somewhere else when you least expect it! So, for you, you were doing exactly the right thing.

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    1. It was lacking in my life, that universe, glad I opened up to it, just in time!

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  4. Beautifully put, its not prolonging the grief – its remembering and long may it continue.

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    1. Thanks Chris. It may, and for how long, I have no saying over that.

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  5. So simply put, a child understands.

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    1. And I am not "great" with children at all. But I loved she got it, where adults failed.

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  6. Thank goodness there isn't a book out there telling us the right way to grieve. That means we can be open to what we need to do and follow our hearts.

    I'm glad you're following your heart, even if others don't always understand. You followed your heart when you brought Viva home to live with you so why should now be any different?

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    1. Great angle, I didn't think of that. You are spot on.

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  7. What a beautiful story. I totally agree with Pamela. Grief is an intensely personal thing. There's no right (or wrong!) way to go about it, so you're doing what you need to do. That is admirable and brave. Keeping you in my heart.

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  8. This was the most beautiful post Leo. There is such beauty in your words and choosing to chase sunsets one last time with Viva. She is still there with you. I'm glad your grand-daughter knew that too.

    I read this at work and cried. Viva would be proud to read your words and to know she is remembered in the ways she would want to be remembered. That rainbow was a gift from her.

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    1. Thanks you so much for your support and kind words, Mel. That is such a nice thought, Viva is remembered the way she would wanted to. Thank you.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this, even though it must have been so difficult. I think the way you experienced it all is so lovely and I am so glad you are taking the the time you need to grieve in your own, personal way. I am glad you weren't alone. Sometimes kinship is found in unexpected places.

    I wish there was something I could say to help but it is impossible. Thank you for sharing Viva's life with us so we can all remember her. You have given us all a perfect gift. You are in my thoughts.

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