The Gratitude is Greater Than the Grief…

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…

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D. - November 20, 2011

So sorry to hear about your beloved dog’s passing Carol. Our beloved Malamute, Raven, is now 10 years old as well and had surgery for cancer a few months ago. She is doing well, and we cherish every moment we have with her. Dogs are indeed incredible beings!

Jennifer - November 20, 2011

thanks for sharing this painful/beautiful journey with us. Its very hard to say goodbye to a pet. I wish you many happy memories of your dear friend. J

Rhonda - November 20, 2011

I know. I’m happy for you that you were able to “be present.” You’ll find comfort recalling that. Because that is all we can do. And that, being present, is a gift. I’m glad you had the exchange.

Joy - November 20, 2011

What a lovely way to remember our four-legged friends. Your reminder gives me a loving way to remember my own departed animal companions and to appreciate the ones who are with me now. Condolences to you for your loss. She is beautiful in the picture you posted.

Maria Scotchell - November 20, 2011

My condolences on Satika’s passing and may you find comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain. There is nothing like the love from our beloved pets. The depth of love and connection on such a cellular level is simply indescribable as our animal family members continue to teach us. May your fond memories of Satika bring you rest.

Mar - November 21, 2011

Your remarks about Satika were very moving. The special bond and love you shared is very palpable from the picture.May you both have peace.

Charlene - November 21, 2011

It is indeed an honor to have such incredible creatures in our midst. Through a very similar journey with my own dear companion, Kodi, I was amazed at how accepting he was with what life had dealt him. I held him with heart open when he had to finally be put down and even then, in great pain, his eyes were like the calm seas of acceptance, and his spirit flowed through me like a warm wind when he passed on…
I am sure Kodi and Satika have already met, and will continue to surround us with their loving spirits.

linda - November 21, 2011

They but change back into spirit, they do not leave. And, even when we know they are beside us, it is hard to overcome the pain of not touching and seeing them. A bond of love can never be broken, wherever in time and space you are, the love transcends it.


Caroline Rider - November 22, 2011

Carol, I am so sorry that Satika has died, he was a wonderful being, and I know he held a piece of your heart. My seventeen-year-old cat Mo also died two weeks ago, and my father died in September, so torrents of change are rushing through Red Hook as well as through West Shokan. Grief is a well-known companion at the moment…..
BUT I am so glad you now have an office in Kingston! I’ll be seeing you soon…..


Gina - November 22, 2011

I do hear what you are saying if one focuses on the gratitude of being able to have had the pet for a certain amount of time but I found absolutely NO gratitude for when Gio or Tiamo had their heads in my lap dying. Yes, dying is just another process, just as life is & to honor that process, yes.

Priscilla in Rochester, NY - November 22, 2011

Carol, Thank you for this beautiful essay shedding light on the life of dogs and their ways of knowing. And loving and leaving. Such lessons for us humans. How we grasp at things when only by letting go may the possibility of transcendence arrive …

Jane Stabile - November 27, 2011


Leave a Reply: