Last Wednesday was Cumin’s transition anniversary. July 13, 2016 was the day she got her wings. I remember the day so vividly and what sticks out in my mind was having to go to work that day.
I still feel pangs of guilt and regret around that because I should’ve just been home, with her, soaking up and memorizing our last physical moments together.
I remember getting ready, driving to the office and leading a meeting.
Everyone knew what was going on with Cumin, her squamous cell carcinoma, the feedings every 3 hours and subcutaneous fluids twice a day.
But no one knew today was the day and when I was asked, “How’s Cumin doing?” I felt the jabbing pains in my gut and the struggle between keeping the brave face, “She’s hanging in there!” and “I’m saying goodbye to her today.” I even had deep grooves in my inner lower lip from biting to keep the tears at bay.
Today was the day and it was the second time I had rescheduled the in-home transition assistance.
I should’ve been home with her.
Feelings Never Leave, They Just Change
It’s been 6 years and still all the feelings can well up.
I will say most days I feel her lightness and joy as her photos and artwork of her from friends are all over my office.
I also feel when she’s talking to me. I know when the messages are from her.
But the feelings!
All. The. Feelings.
To feel or not to feel, right?!
Always better to feel. I know that but I don’t always do it.
Trauma and Somatic Practices
Through all the work healing my childhood trauma, I have learned through various somatic practices that when you stop and actually allow yourself to feel the emotion, to identify where it lives in your body, give it a color/shape/texture then breathe through it and stay with it….it dissipates and goes away.
The emotion goes away.
I have to admit that sometimes I don’t want it to go away.
The pain makes me know I’m alive, the pain is the evidence of how deep the love was/is, the pain promises I will always remember.
So I wrestle with this at times.
The Love Never Leaves You
But what I’m so grateful for, after all these years, is being struck by how much love I still feel for her, for us together, for our 19+ years.
Stephanie Rogers (Grief Counselor and Animal Companion Loss Support Specialist) says the love doesn’t go away.
It really doesn’t and in so many ways it’s more accessible because you can feel it everywhere: swirling around you, in a thought that pops in your head during the day, when the wind blows and kisses your cheek, in the warmth that fills your heart.
Love is Beyond Emotion
Love, unlike emotions, will never go away. And that’s because love is beyond emotion.
Karla McLaren, author of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You, writes beautifully about love:
“Real love is a prayer and a deathless promise: an unwavering dedication to the soul of your loved one. Emotions and desires can come and go as they please, and circumstances can change in startling ways, but real love never wavers. Real love endures all emotions – and it survives trauma, betrayal, divorce, and even death.
The truth about love is this: Love is everywhere. Love is constant; it’s not an emotion.”
You Don’t Always Need To Be Brave
So put away your brave face.
Feel the heat rise from your heart all the way up to your face.
Let the warmth of your tears fill your eyes, let them overflow and spill down your cheeks.
It really is because Love lives on….and You Are Loved.
* Cumin is the inspiration for Love and Above Cat Club; read more about that here.
* I formulated the HEART-HEAL flower essence and aromatherapy blends to support healing from loss, grief, and heartbreak; you can see HEART-HEAL here.
💌Love Note: We'd be honored if you would share the names of your Angel Animals in the comments. It will help others who read it know they're not alone.