The wisdom of Teddy
a love story - part 2
On my only Friday with Teddy, as I changed another pooey nappy, wiping him clean and struggling to poke his tail through the hole, I thought about this strange new way of living for him — the bottle feeding and hydrolyte drinks and nappies and wipes and people and Harvey and unfamiliar noises and smells and him doing his best to stay alive— and I heard myself say to him:
It’s a lot…but you can do it.
I wondered later if that little pep talk was for me as much as it was for him?
Was I being prepared for the insurmountable hurdle that I didn’t know was coming?
It had been a lot. And I didn’t think I could do it. The feeding and caring for him — that was challenging yes, but oh so joyful and meaningful and special and tender. I loved every minute of my time with him.
It was the living without him that I didn’t want to face or do. The burial and the telling people and the waking early each day only to remember he was gone. And the days with too much time and too much space —no Teddy to feed or cuddle.
The sorrow, the shock, the devastation — that has been a lot. I didn’t want to do it. But I have.
Journaling helped. And weeding. And reading about grief. And the writing and sharing of our story.
So did showing my sadness and my pain with those I trust and love. Lighting candles each day. Praying for help when I felt flooded with sadness — and not withholding the tears when they came.
One week on, the grief was still so big I was afraid it wouldn’t pass. But then I realised during my daily journaling practice: isn’t sadness a sign of love?
Isn’t the depth of my sorrow a reflection of the love I had for Teddy?
And a sign that I had been given and had received the greatest gift - life lived fully…life felt fully…life loved.
I’ve loved. And been loved. Isn’t that the point?
And for that wildly hectic week I didn’t miss a minute of it.
Life gave me life and a depth of love that I am now looking toward to save me from forgetting how precious life is and how divine love is.
As the ring I’ve been wearing on my left hand for 12 years so beautifully reminded me when it was almost torn off with my finger in my rush to get back to feeding Teddy on the day before he died:
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
[I Corinthians 13]
When we found Teddy, Love did bear and believe and hope and endure.
And now that his precious life is over, Love continues to help me bear and endure.
I guess this is what it is to be human.
I am reminded of Rainer Maria Rilke:
Let everything happen to you:
Beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.
As every tear sheds it makes way for the gratitude and reverence and awe and love to grow for the beautiful life that was Teddy. Every tear, and there have been many, represents the love I had for him and the love we shared.
And on the eighth day after his death, I did experience a shift. The tears stopped and heavy grief lifted and all that has remained is a tenderness for his precious life and an ache to hold his beauty in my arms again.
And love. Love has remained—for him and for Life and for Love for giving me the gift of Teddy and the most precious gifts: of life and love.
My beautiful Teddy, you will forever be treasured in my heart.
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