My beloved companion dog Satika died of a very aggressive cancer. We had 5 bittersweet weeks to enjoy together after he was diagnosed. I woke up each morning grateful for another chance to gaze into his dark soulful eyes and bask in the the calm joy and deep love that radiated from his whole being.
Dogs, like all animals, have a far more comfortable relationship to their bodies than we humans do. They appreciate them when they work, and they accept them when they fail. They know that they are not their bodies, that they only wear them. And they seem to understand without fear or complaint, that one day, they will step out of them and on to their next great adventure.
It was such an honor to be with Satika through this process. As his magnificent body changed and weakened, I felt bathed in the endless love, appreciation and gratitude that he beamed out of his incredible heart till the very last peaceful moment. As a wise friend who had lost a dog to this same fast and unstoppable cancer said, “When you are really present, the gratitude is greater than the grief.”
I found that such a comfort, to sit with his head in my lap, tears streaming and focus on the gratitude, not the loss. Gratitude for almost 10 years of love, companionship and deep connection with a being who knew far more than I ever will about life and death. And when you focus on that, the gratitude really is greater than the grief. Just barely…