I’ve been a little ‘checked out’ on my life the past few weeks – on purpose.  I’ve cancelled pretty much every plan I had; both personal and professional; my heart hurts, and what I know for sure is, I needed to give myself permission to retreat and feel.

Seems somewhat ridiculous to be looking for permission to take a step back in my own damn life; to surrender into what is NOW and just be with it … but what I have come to understand about my Self is this … when the going gets tough, I muscle through and drown feelings in wine; and it always comes back to bite me in the ass!

It was actually this exact time a year ago when I last got sick of my own bullshit coping methods and quit drinking for a month – which ending up being 9 weeks, because it felt so damn good – once I got passed how incredibly foreign feeling things sober was!

The issues were different, but my coping mechanisms were the same … I’m hurting, afraid of making the wrong choice, and I know that the outcome I really want, isn’t available … but I don’t want to accept the truth that’s being offered … where’s my damn unicorn!?

You’ve been here right?

You already know the answer … but figure if you don’t actually ask the question, or face up to the situation, it isn’t real, it won’t go down that way, or you can somehow wait it out?? As if not acting, choosing, or deciding will make it go away?

Nope … not acting isn’t an option!

A lot of people wouldn’t understand what’s got me turned side ways right now; but for every person who doesn’t understand, I know two more who will be nodding in agreement right now, cause they know the hole in your heart emptiness; of losing a fur-babe!

To be honest I was feeling a little extra being this struck emotionally by the prospect of losing a family pet … a dog to be exact, but she wasn’t just any dog … Mia Dog was a piece of my Self, a reflection of my soul and a daily constant in my life. I mean people are dealing with incredible losses right now; but what I am holding onto is this; my loss matters too, I am allowed to feel devastated, sad, and I get to grieve however I need to, about whatever I need to!

Mia dog came into my life 12 years ago, when the walls had begun to crumble on the ‘illusion of perfection’ life that I had been trying desperately to protect! My fear of judgement, my people pleasing, my need to control, my self loathing was all there on the cusp of being released, and it was painful and vulnerable; and I didn’t think I was gonna make it! Did I mention, my therapist had told me, in no uncertain terms; I had to stop using my sarcasm super powers too? I was pretty certain life was over!

In the midst of struggling with everything that was going on in my life I was dealt a horrific blow on a December morning when I forgot I had my jack Russel terrier, Ozzie at the barn with me!

I was making my way to the mailbox when I heard the tags of his collar jingling behind me – as I turned to try to stop him, I caught the van coming down the road out of the corner of my eye. I dropped to my knees when he refused to stop and ran past me towards the road, I knew what was coming and I knew I was powerless to stop it. On top of everything else I had let myself be distracted and it had cost me my dog … add a heaping helping of guilt to the top of everything else I was feeling!

I remember thinking, no more dogs! I’m a terrible pet owner, I can’t handle any more loss, just no more dogs! Two weeks later we were on our way home from Owen Sound with an 8-week-old Mastiff Lab cross I had named Mia.

She was beyond adorable, tan with a black mask, just so cute! And smart? My goodness she was house trained in under three hours!

I had my hands full with her and my two-year-old grandson living with us that’s for sure! Jacob called her his sister cause their hair was kinda the same colour … two-year-olds don’t account for species, or parentage when choosing their family so hey, you bet she can be your sister – why not!

For what it’s worth Mia was never a ‘good’ dog by most people’s standards of come, stay, settle a measure of ‘good’. She was always running off, she could be aggressive, she took for ever to settle when people came to the house – jumping up and nothing we ever said, or did made that any better. In fairness, I never looked for obedience as a measure of her ‘good’, I looked to her companionship – and nothing could compare to this dogs loyalty and love of this family – for better or worse she loved us, day in and day out to the bitter end!

As a family we all struggled with her illness, no one likes to see an animal suffer and the thought of them being gone is overwhelming to say the least. I have to chuckle though as I watch my daughters loving on her and talking about how much they love her and will miss her … she has been eating underwear and expensive make up for years – if I had a nickel for every shrill scream that came from their bedrooms over the years about ‘what Mia had done’; I’d be rich! But today none of that matters, absolutely nothing matters – except giving her the best day ever.

Through every step of my evolution to personal awareness these past 12 years she has been by my side; and on more than one occasion she has licked tears from my cheek and reassured me that everything was gonna be okay … she taught me patience.

Everyday she jumps around like a lunatic while I am mixing her meals, the sheer excitement and joy of eating is too much to contain without happy feet bouncing on the floor … she taught me to always find joy in the little things, and dance it out!

I will miss her sitting at the cookie jar staring at me intently, as if to telepathically send me her request … that was followed by barking until I got her what she wanted … she taught me to speak up when I want something, people can’t read my mind!

No matter how angry anyone got over her indiscretions with eating everything from underwear to mascara she always made her way to them with her head down looking for forgiveness (she always got it) … she taught me to say sorry, and mean it!

Every single time that anyone left this house their return was met with her excited to welcome them back, and show them where the cookie jar is … she taught me to let people know I love them and missed them.

There have been a lot of dark days over the last 12 years, no matter how bad I felt I could always turn and find her there – ready to listen, cuddle, eat cookies or just be … she taught me what ‘holding space’ looks like.

There have been a lot of joyous days too, and she never missed inserting herself into hugs, wedding dances, or anything else we were doing … she taught me there is room for everyone, always … lean in and skoosh over.

Between the joy and the tears there were days of just living, hanging At Home, on those days she taught me that connection was all we needed … we didn’t have it all together, but together we had it all.

For twelve years she has been in my footsteps and the ache in my heart thinking about her not being there is indescribable … I run the emotional gamete of anger that this is happening to her, fear that I am making the wrong decision, all the way to a grief I’ve never experienced before … but watching her handle this horrific tumor with grace and gratitude for the moments we were still sharing; is bringing me to today’s lesson …on loving and letting go.

Knowing logically is not the same as knowing emotionally, and I am doing my best to be at peace with your subtle messages of the last couple days, but you will be missed beyond measure my beautiful girl .. forever and always!

It’s life and death, live and learn, love and let go.

RIP my Mia Dog … I’ll meet you at the bridge! Xo