By Judge Anna von Reitz | Big Lake, Alaska
We are living beings. We grow by organic processes— intricate networks of physical and chemical processes that lead us through our life cycles with grace and precision. We start with a single spark of creation and each one of us then “becomes” who we are and will be, bit by bit, and day by day.
It’s the same organic process when it comes to our emotional world, too. Even things that appear to happen suddenly, like love at first sight, have actually been prepared for, for years. We love what we love and who we love, because of who we are and where we are in the process of our own becoming.
It was my lot to become acquainted with grief at an early age, and to observe myself moving slowly through that process, too, marking the stages of the wound-healing with each milestone.
There’s always the confusion, the denial, the this-can’t-be-happening response. Then the anger. Then the bargaining and wheedling with fate. Then the depression, and, finally, the acceptance.
It takes me anywhere between a year and eighteen months to overcome a major loss. I know that. I have had losses aplenty in my life to practice on. Each new one is unique, of course, but the process remains steady and inexorable as the seasons.
And each time I lose someone or something I care about deeply, the more I reflect on the fact that we are all part of something mysterious and so much greater, a Unity that belies all concepts of separation, differences, and time.
There was someone missing from our fireside this Christmas, a four-footed someone, a certain old yellow dog who wasn’t at my heels or watching me every moment as I prepared Christmas dinner, a certain velvet-eared and velvet-eyed dog with his tail thumping happily in response to every voice and offer of pets.
I suppose the worst moment was after dinner, when our single remaining dog was waiting for his dinner, and he looked around over his shoulder rather confused to be the Only Dog after a lifetime of being with pack mates, clearly wondering where all the others were?
Gone to other firesides and great forests and bubbling streams we can only imagine for them, vanished into the world of pure energy.
There are times when I feel my dog with me so strongly that I half-expect to feel his muzzle gently resting on my toe, making sure that I don’t go anywhere without him knowing about it. Fair weather or foul. In those moments I am comforted and reassured.
It’s not all for nothing, a pointless ending in a grave, so much ashes scattered to the wind. There is more, much more than that.
There is still the love that binds us, just the same. There is still the mysterious vast Unity that holds us safe in its grasp. There is still the divine compassion that created us and gave us all our lessons and our loves.
When I think about it, I know that it was time for him to go, and it was just our great love for each other that was holding him here in his tired, failing body. Still, I miss my dog with heart-breaking constancy.
There is a hole in every moment of my day: when I wake up, there is no joyous nuzzle, when I go out, no warm head pressed against my knee begging to go along, and when I come home, no wagging tail, no laughing eyes to greet me.
The Empty Space is seldom spoken of, though we all know it’s there.
Someday, there will be another dog to train and to love, to take on long walks, to play ball with, to confide in, to nap with. I know. Someday, when the hurt has worn away and the seasons have passed, and my heart is like a pleasant field, well-rested and fallow, there will be another dog — a stray will come, a rescue call will come, or a puppy will come nuzzling into my life, as puppies do.
A new friendship will begin between dog and man, or, in this case, “dog and Mum”. And that process, too, is just as mysterious and God-given as all the rest of it. Until then, the grieving takes its course, and I am tasting each drop of grief, one at a time, until the cup of sorrow is drained and the process has done its work.
For all of those who have been grieving this Christmas and putting a brave face on it, for all those who feel sorrow in their lives, know that you are not alone. We all have our causes and our reasons, our own wounds to bind, but you are not alone.
Many of you who read my articles are going through the grieving process over our country and its government. I know, because I went through that grief, too.
There’s the denial — “it can’t happen here!” — the anger — “who is responsible for this?” — the bargaining — “how do we shuffle this off?— the depression — “there’s no way to fix this….” and finally, the acceptance: “well, this is the way it is, and we have to deal with it and go forward.”
Lucky for you, others have borne the same grief, struggled through the same process, and come out the other side of it. They are now leading the effort to restore our government as it was meant to be, and as it can be, with the inspiration and insight we all bring forward.
Our nation has not suffered fraud and corruption in vain. We have learned from the experience and witnessed the process. And we won’t be fooled again.
Please go to: www.TheAmericanStatesAssembly.net, and as we face a new year, join me in putting your own grief to work, making it count for a better, kinder, and far more honest world.