Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Leroy...a year later!

Tomorrow April 11th, will be a year since I experienced the first, hardest, lesson in loss in my life up to this point. I find myself, the last few days really reveling in the spirit of Leroy in ways now that at this time last year I never thought were possible. The emptiness that everyone promised would get better has turned to a warmth and fullness now that the acute pain of losing something so fast has lessened. I still think of him every single day, there truly is NOT a day that goes by where he doesn't cross my mind in some way, shape, or form. Today, April 10th, I remember it being the first day where I thought for the first time throughout his cancer that it might be "time" to let him go. When he didn't perk up in his usual way as we headed into the vet office, when he didn't perk up over the tiny kitten that Meah the tech at the clinic held to his face, when he would not take his eyes off of me, and when he pressed his shaking, cold, body into mine, trying to move through me into my skin and soul, I knew for the first time it was the end.

BUT, in his typical Leroy fashion, we got his meds that were in hopes of getting him through the weekend to my trip to Astoria for a class, and headed home. When we got home that tuesday afternoon he found some energy to run and find the barn cat. He and the cat "Moses" had a nice, long, stare down, where for the first time in Leroy's life he was co-habitating peacefully and politely with a cat. I took many photos and video while Moses reveled in rolling in the dirt 2 feet in front of Leroy's face. Leroy just watched peacefully and happily. Leroy had a wonderful night that night, we had no idea that the next day was to be his last. That morning of April 11th, I tried to give him his pills and for the first time he refused to let me open his mouth. I gave in and let him have the morning off from his pills. He laid on the couch in his towels I warmed every few hours for him in the dryer, and looked happily sleepy. I gave him his shot of Iscador as usual, and went about my morning business eating breakfast, reading things etc. while I knew Leroy was asleep calmly in the other room. There are many days where I wish I had known it would be his last hour, I would have spent more time on the couch with him. But Leroy wanted my life to be as normal as possible. We had an appt. that morning, 9am, at the vet to give him one more shot of Dex to get him through the weekend so he could enjoy his favorite place, the beach, the next day. I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride to which he leaped (yes leaped) off the couch, with his stuffed blue bear in his mouth. I remember looking in the mirror, picking breakfast out of my teeth, while he patiently wiggled beside me at the door waiting his "ride". He bolted out the door toward the car, and I will never, ever, forget the sight of his tail wagging, and butt trotting happily to the car..he knew where he was going and what he was doing, he waited until my back was turned to open the car door, to go down with his heart failure..I felt him bump my leg, and he was quickly, violent only in the force in which a fast death comes, was raining, and wet, and my screams were heard all the way to the barn where my long-time client and friend, Cathi, heard and came running over saying "oh shit"...all I could say was he was perfect..he did everything so perfectly, even died perfectly...I feel sadness well up as I remember and re-live that day..the sounds of his claws on the concrete, the smell of him leaving this world, the colors he changed as he slowly, yet so quickly left his body and flew somewhere far away from me...I remember the pain so vividly, the empty ache of for the first time in my life really and truly NEVER being able to get what I want, which was him. I didn't know the heart could hurt so hard...I know it will not be the last time I feel this type of intense pain..but I do know now, that the people that reached out to me during that time were right. This infused in me a new trust in humanity. People truly know how you feel, I now truly know how people feel when they lose something or someone so close to them. I look at death, however obviously painful and trapping it may feel to your soul and mind, as a new realm. Death is not the "end". It was not for me anyway, of course I felt for many, many, months that is was the end, he was on the other side of a locked door I would never get through..but as the year wore on I found myself tuning in more and more spiritually to things around me. I still have my moments of course, I would not be human if I did not have my moments where I want to beat things up to get him back with me, but I can smile, and feel warmth in that empty space in my heart.

It is no coincidence that my first baby is due the same time I lost my "first baby", Leroy. April could easily be a very sad month for me if I choose to dwell on the aspects of death. But as I feel Baby Z wiggle, and live inside my body, right under my heart where she feels every emotion I do, I know that this love is being re-born. I will draw strength from all of the love I have ever felt in my lifetime, which fortunately I have been blessed to feel A LOT of love, and use this to allow me to move my baby out of my womb and into this world where she will be surrounded by people and spirits that will love her as I love or have loved them. She will know Leroy, I think she already does...children are so beautiful in that their veil to the spirit world is so thin and pure. He will watch her take her first breath, sleep, say her first words, take her first steps, and Percy and Lucey will be right there with him guarding this little human with all they have. There is nothing like a dog's loyalty, and a humans love for a dog. The only love I can compare it to is the love I have for Jeff and my soon to be born baby.

The ravens are back at the farm again this year...when we moved in last year, there was a nest of ravens in the hay barn, 6 babies and their mom and dad, watched us daily the entire summer. The farm was empty when they built their nest and they accepted our invasive presence, warily at first, but grew accustomed to us and drew us in as part of their flock. The place felt oddly empty when they tore their nest down and left. This spring the same mom and dad came back to us and built a new nest, and the babies hatched 2 days ago...I see these birds every single day, they are a part of my world, and I have learned that the Raven is a very, very, strong totem animal. This is what the Raven symbolizes "
"Magic, Healing, Creation
If a raven totem has come into our life,
magic is at play.
Raven activates the energy of magic
and links it to our will and intention.
With this totem, we can make great changes
in our life;
the ability to  take the unformed thought
and make it reality."
The raven shows us how to go into the dark
of our inner self and bring out the light of our true self;
resolving inner conflicts which have long been buried.
This is the deepest power of healing we can possess.

Regardless of what you believe in spiritually I believe every creature is here for a purpose. Leroy was very birdlike in his appearance and behavior, and I feel he has sent us these Ravens, usually shy birds that don't inhabit busy areas such as a hay barn at a riding school :) but when these ravens sit atop the peak of the barn where I can see them every single morning, and when they follow me from paddock to paddock, watching me with those dark eyes, I feel the spirit world surround me, and I am more open and at peace with things. Leroy, like the raven has showed me how to go into the dark, yet bring out the light in my true self. I, through him, and this new baby on her way to meet us, has showed me the deepest power of healing I can possess, and I will use this strength to trust that my body can do what the mind can do. And I will continue to remain strong, and open to all possibilities in life and in death. Thank you Leroy...what an amazingly crazy year!!

                             Amazing painting, channeled by the wonderful Kimry Jelen.