I write usually when I feel overwhelmed and to process my emotions. Some of you will know I have grieved openly following the death of my father. I had to as I needed to share my feelings in order to heal. Quite selfish I know but in my defence some have said I have given words to what they have silently felt so perhaps the truth is something in between!
Those who know me and my father know how bereft and broken I was after his passing. That is because he was much more to me than just my father, he was also my best friend, my confidant and my guide. I never thought I could ever feel that kind of love I have for my father for another. It is impossible as my father is my father, and he is put simply, irreplaceable in my world.
Today, my German Shepherd puppy went out with a dog walker for the first time ever since he came home which was some 5 months ago. I decided to get the help of a dog walker so as to help him socialise and play with his kind. He came home after 5 hours, shattered, hungry and dirty. Instead of playing for an hour in a secured field he played for 2.5 hours because one of the dogs would not come back which meant the dogwalker had to call the other dog owner to come to the field in order to secure the other dog on a lead. Unexpected things happen and I believe the dogwalkers tried their best to handle this situation with patience. While my puppy was gone, for the first time in 5 months, I thought, it is good to find the old me again, free and without responsibility for another !. In the meantime, I managed to write all my Christmas cards, wrap all the presents, and do some work but 2 hours later, I could not concentrate. My eyes were keenly awaiting Oscar’s homecoming. I realised I was waiting for him just like my dad used to wait for me to come home! 2 hours went on to 3 hours and I felt rather anxious. I rang the dogwalker and he told me there is likely to be a delay due to a situation with another dog. From 3 hours to 5 hours, after a few calls and texts, the van came in the drive, and I went to the door to greet my dog. He didn’t want to come in though he did not resist me as I put the lead on him. He was filthy and tired. I was relieved to see him I checked him over to make sure he was my dog! First I tried in vain to wipe his dirty feet but it was pointless he definitely needs a bath.. so I decided he needed to be fed first and then rest. I write this as he is lying on the floor recovering from his adventure but what about my nerves?
Being a reflective person and a coach means I check in on my feelings hence the title of this post, Love hurts. I swore to myself I would never love anyone or anything the way I loved my dad as that was a sure way to feel hurt when they are no longer part of your life, but it has happened. After an attempt to clean him and then giving up because he is tired, I just burst into tears. I recognised despite trying so hard not to love again, I have some feelings for this 4 legged animal, why and how this happened I have no idea…
If I had any doubts as to whether I was worthy of such an intelligent large breed, in just shy of 5 months, this four legged tiger like puppy (tiger because he is small but powerful) has captured my heart. Why have I allowed myself to feel anxious, worried about another and, feel so concerned for his welfare? Love is a funny emotion, it happens either over time for another, and when it does you realise there are no conditions or expectations, if you love you love for no reason because you just do. And the price of love is heartache and heartbreak. The gift of love is warmth and connection for which there are no words to describe.
Observing my own emotions of having allowed myself to care for another, then feel the emotions of concern mixed with anxiety of a dotting dog parent, I realise one cannot have love on its own. If we love we should be prepared to feel hurt. Attachment of any kind creates a longing which is best described as Maya. It is not possible to have one without the other.
I must rein my feelings for this creature because one day we will part company just like my father and I did. I have had almost 8 years of carrying a rucksack of emotional pain, and I know if I had died before my father, he would have got over me far better than I could ever do.
Love hurts yet we need love like we need air to live. If anyone is on a similar journey of dancing with grief, welcome to my world. Like so many you will find ways to keep going. In 13 days time it will be 8 years to the day since my father’s passing, 8 years of living consciously for me, I have never been so aware. It is like falling hard on all fours on a concrete surface, gathering yourself and slowly getting up, feeling disorientated yet grateful that I have managed to stand. Love is powerful beyond words but love hurts also.
Peace be with you and season greetings!
17th December, 2021.