Thursday, January 22, 2009

Renzo, The Teacher


This is from a guest writer, Quayny Porter Brown. She is a good friend of mine who works with Dr. Paul Canali at Evolutionary Healing Institute. (read the following blog entry if you have not already read it - A Life Changing Moment)

She sent me this the other day about the loss of their dog, Renzo whom I've had the pleasure of meeting a few times. What she wrote really said a lot to me and I think it really fits the nature and purpose of this blog. So I'm sharing what she wrote with her permission and hope that it impacts you as much as it did me. Thank you Quayny!

(c) Quayny Porter Brown (1/9/09)

Suffering is not feeling pain or feeling despair or feeling sadness. It is not feeling it. It is resisting it. This is linked to fear of course. The fear to open oneself up to what we perceive is suffering. But it is not suffering to feel the pain of separation, and it is not suffering to mourn death or loss or a break up or a misunderstanding or lack of connection. It is not suffering, although we call it that. There is a difference in the type of suffering that is resisted and the type that is accepted. The type that is resisted requires judgment, repression, guilt, fear, among other qualities. If you are already suffering with a loss why expend the extra energy to resist the feeling, internalize it, destroy oneself with it, limit ones perception by denial. When you realize this there is less fear. There is now less fear because you have allowed yourself to go in and accept and feel whatever is there. Sadness then is sweet and wrenching but does not develop into despair. There is trust and there is faith in the process of living and experiencing what it offers. There is then a direct experience of not dying or collapsing from allowing yourself to feel what is there. Suffering as we come then to understand it is an opportunity for transformation. This is meant to be there. This is meant to tell me something. It is not that I am meant to feel pain necessarily, but it is absolutely true that I am meant to feel.

All week my chest has felt tingling and buzzing. Through the grieving and even before it I recognized that Renzo was teaching me. I have some regret that he had to die to do it, or, rather, that I did not realize his gift to me until he was on his way to die. I have been trying to be present all the time. My feet feel planted on the ground and no one is scaring me. If I fall into my old pattern of looking for approval I immediately apply my new and previously unrealized knowledge that there is nothing to fear so I do not need approval. Why is that. I guess because I am not afraid of not having the approval anymore, at least during these days of clarity.

I used to come home and Renzo was forever on top of me trying to get my attention. I used to brush him off and feel annoyed that he seemed to me to be so dependent on me. I didn’t want that. But no matter what I did or didn’t do, he was always there the next time with a happy loving attitude toward me as if each time I greeted him with the same love and unconditional acceptance. I see now why I rejected his loving advances to me. Why it seemed like a burden. I was afraid of his love, afraid to receive it, afraid to be responsible for it-of course that was an illusion because he was just as happy no matter what I did. Even with the fire trucks going by he would sing. If I did not sing he would come over and find me and look at me as he sang. He’d throw his head back and point his nose to the sky as he sang and sang. He’d stare at me until I did the same. He was trying to reach me, always holding a space for me to join him if I found it in me.

Before he died he was in the hospital and his hind legs were paralyzed. This is how he suddenly woke up early in the morning on Tuesday last week. He spent one night in the hospital and although he was not in pain, he was lying on the floor of the operating area and was not so happy there. The Doctor told me that he watched everyone though and got many pats. He was such a gentle creature, loving and giving. I see now that he was exercising my heart, perhaps not consciously on his part. But his nature, instinctual nature, finally broke through to me during his last two days.

I spent two hours with him the day he had to be put to sleep. It was in the morning and so I got time by myself with him. We just existed together. Him on the table on a stretcher unable to move much, and me standing by him or sitting and talking or crying, or patting or hugging him. I told him all that I had learned. Luckily I realized these things soon enough to say thank you to him for all the lessons he has taught to me. I asked him if he wanted to come back a race horse or a bird or a bumble bee. He didn’t do much but just rest his head on me. It seemed like he’d just like to be a dog. I fought with feelings of injustice at his short life and his sudden decline. And mostly my feelings of guilt about the things I didn’t do during his life. Somehow I just thought there would be more time. There was no more time. But there was time to just be with him and feel it all for as long as I wanted-the hospital did not rush me. I offered him some water with Rescue Remedy. He showed very little interest in it. I rubbed it on his paws. You might say I suffered with him, but you also might say I just grew with him as we went through this unexpected situation together. Together. That was the key, and the only key.

I left after two hours to go pick up the children at school. I asked them if they wanted to go again to visit (we had all gone the night before), and they said No. The night before we all had to sit on the floor of the operating room with the machines beeping and a dog on the table having surgery. It was a hard environment, but we all got Renzo’s head on our laps and his earnest stare into our eyes.

Later that night I met Wyatt at the hospital after he had had a chance to be with Renzo alone for a while. We just sat with Renzo, again on the table on a stretcher. I turned off the fluorescent lights and the room was much more peaceful after that. But Renzo was very calm and so he slept a bit on the table. When he woke up we were just there with him and patting him and crying intermittently. It was such a hard moment knowing that he needed to be put to sleep whenever we asked the Doctor to come in. I offered him Rescue Remedy again and this time he lapped it up, wanting more and more and more. He almost consumed a whole bottle actually. After that he just got very quiet and he lost interest in the remedy. I rubbed some on his paws now and then. We just stayed with him for a long time-maybe an hour after I arrived. He was calm and didn’t raise up his head that much. I told him that it is OK to go-that we will be OK without him and he should feel free to do whatever it is he needs to do. Also to let us know if he comes back to us in another form by some kind of recognizable sign. So I told him these things, and of course we both told him how good he was and how we loved him.

When the doctor came in she was very respectful and quiet and calm. She gave him three shots through his intravenous site. Before we knew it he was gone. He just lay there as usual, but limp and his eyes were open. He was still warm and we hugged him. Then it was time for us to go. In my mind came a picture of a little dog with pointy ears dancing about outlined in neon white. He was playing and saying to me not to be sad, that he can jump again now. Who knows if my mind made it up or if it was an image from some other place. It obviously doesn’t matter. The fact was I felt a little lightness and a sense that he was free of his crippled body.

We left the hospital and we walked up the street. The experience had brought us together in a different way than had been available lately. We walked for a while and then got in our cars to go home.

That night we had dinner with the kids and as we all sat together at the table missing Renzo we had one of the nicest times we had had in months if not ever. The children opened up with their own stories of this and that, and it seemed that we all had the feeling of going through life together, as strange as it does sometimes seem.

1 comment:

  1. This post speaks to me. It is very similar to what I went through when my beloved Rani passed away in 2001. She was the most wonderful dog. I felt great sorrow, but also peace that she would no longer be suffering. Your friend is so right about letting ourselves feel what we are feeling. I would add that expressing it is also part of our healing. This need not be in a blatant way. My tears for Rani were not extensive, but I did write a story that was an expression of how I was feeling. When my dad died many years ago, I kept some of his old shirts. They are pretty ragged now, and to be "practical" I should throw them away, but they are a reminder to me that despite our differences, I loved my dad and want to be close to him.