Today, December 2nd, 2006, is the 5th anniversary of the killing of Woody---our closest family friend and honorary uncle to our son---at the hands of the police. I do not wish to discuss the details of the event, and feel no need to publicly admonish those who took my dear friend's life so needlessly. Any readers who want the larger story can email me privately.
This anniversary marks a closing of a chapter, our energies collectively focused on moving forward rather than being mired in the past. On the back of my car a bumper sticker states, "Love your enemies". Although this advice also applies to me, my ability to do so is still quite challenged in this regard. On some level, I still wish psychic suffering upon those who shot my friend, the final bullet penetrating his back as he lay handcuffed and bleeding on the ground. Love my enemies? Somehow, perhaps, I do love my enemies spiritually, but my all-too-human ego still cannot embrace them.
Not being a stranger to loss, being connected with others who are also bereft, allows the winds of compassion to blow between us. I understand the denial and disbelief when the news first arrives, the gut-wrenching grief as the truth sinks in, the anger that rips through the fabric of sadness like a knife, and the lingering loss that remains when all other emotions have faded. It's a club to which most every human eventually belongs, and its members are legion and growing.
This day also marks the three month anniversary of the death of our dear and loyal dog Sparkey. Sparkey and Woody were quite the pair, often barrelling together through the woods, returning to the house bleeding, limping, panting, and grinning from ear to ear. They seemed like brothers then, with matching red and golden fur, both unconditionally loving and loved. We miss them both so much, and hope they can frolic together in the grasses of some far-off heaven that is actually closer to us than it seems.
As the winds whip the trees outside our home, may the aforementioned winds of compassion also blow, stirring up love, understanding, and connection wherever they circulate. As far as loss is concerned, I could not agree more that it is still better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. Death doesn't erase love, it only changes the pathway the energies of love must travel between the beloveds. Embracing loss, embracing change, embacing grief---what more can one do but continue on, powered by love and compassion?
On this day of remembrance, I choose to continue on, empowered and emboldened, with compassion as the fuel for living.