Today we lost our sweet cockapoo, Rocky. He’d been with us for close to 16 years and had serious health issues for the last two. As my sister Kat told me, your pup will let you know when it’s time, and he did. He stopped eating, his breathing became labored, and he wouldn’t get up off the floor.
At the vet, I held Rocky in my lap while Peter and I stroked his soft fur. We looked into Rocky’s eyes and told him over and over how much we loved him, how much joy he’d brought into our lives, how grateful we were that he’d chosen us, and how much we’d miss him—tears streaming down our faces. Rocky looked up at us as if he understood (he was deaf and nearly blind by then). I felt the life drain out of him after the second shot, as his raspy breath went quiet. At peace, finally.
Since last Tuesday, I’ve been reflecting on the risk that comes with love. When you love, you open yourself up to loss. Some would say why put yourself through this? Better to guard your heart and not suffer the grief. But without love, you’re not really living fully. When you put walls up around your heart, you may avoid some pain, but you’re also depriving yourself of the gift that is deep love.
<span class=”yourturn”>YOUR TURN:</span> Are you guarding your heart against the possibility of hurt or loss? What is one small step you can take to open yourself more fully to love?