“Loss itself is a time-honored gateway; it encourages a shift from anxiety
and attachment to the pursuit of a new spiritual awareness.”
—David Rome, “The Green Buddha”
For the past few months I’ve stayed close to home because when I left I worried that this beloved creature — by my side for just shy of 18 years — would leave her body while I was away.
On January 9th I returned from an overnight trip to Nashville and it was clear we were on borrowed time. We kept her comfortable — wrapped in blankets, which has long been her favorite place to be — and monitored her closely. That night I slept beside her on the sofa and then the next day we moved her to our bed because that had always seemed to be her most peaceful resting place. That night Richard, my incredibly compassionate husband, insisted that I keep her with me in the bed and he took the sofa. I laid there beside her with my hand on her little body to feel her breathing. The next day, January 11th, I stayed with her much of the morning (thank you Chris Anderson for teaching Led Primary for me) and at one point just before noon I stepped away and when I returned a few minutes later, I knew. I placed my hand on her little body and she took her last two breaths. She was gone.
I’ve experience loss, but this hit me (and continues to) super hard. I couldn’t breathe and burst into uncontrollable sobs. I think Richard and I both have been a bit surprised by just how challenging her departure has been. She held such important, patient, consistent, beautifully forgiving space in our lives for so long. For me, she was the daily connection to a life gone by, to incredible NYC friends I’ve lost, to turbulent times of love, anger, jealousy, joy, fear, and friendship that have shaped my life. She was right there beside me when no one else was.
It boggles my mind that she picked one week before my planned departure for a month in India. I had said to Richard just a week prior that I didn’t think I could leave her — the trip was in question.
And now that I’m here in Kovalam I’ve come to realize — she gave me a gift — a swift kick in the ass to grow up — to let go of the past and my insecurities and self doubts — my clinging to a forty-eight year old samsara of needing, over and over, validation that I am good enough. She opened my eyes to the important personal inner work I have been shirking. As long as I had Lola I had a tether to that younger, less self aware me. She set me free.
I think we generally under value the space others (that we love and respect) hold in our lives until we lose them. Lola was always there for me. She provided unconditional support to whatever version of me showed up for eighteen years. She saw me through the worst and lowest points of my life — depths I hope I never take myself through again. There’s a bond that forms through such shared experiences that is irreplaceable. I am so much stronger now than I was at 30 and even than I was on January 11th. Since her passing I see rather clearly the path before me — a path toward becoming MY OWN MAN.
**A special thank you to all those who knew and loved her (even from afar) — I truly believe Lola remembered and loved every one of you — especially those of you that spoke Spanish to her 😉