We are never disconnected.
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In early November 2016, I had a dream. It wasn’t an ordinary dream. Far from it. It was a dream I had right before I woke up — a clear, vivid and very detailed dream that profoundly affected me.
The dream went like this: I was met at the door of a building by a man I had admired and learned from for many years. That man was Wayne Dyer, who passed in August 2015. He greeted me with a smile and a hug. Then he ushered me into a room where three people were lined up waiting to see me. Wayne gently nudged me toward them — my mother, my sister, and my father, all of whom are deceased. My mother reached out first and gave me a great big smile and a hug. Then she stepped aside. My sister, Lael, who passed in 2004, hugged me as well. She, too, stepped aside. Last was my father, who still had his striking blue eyes. He smiled and gave me a hearty hug. I looked over to the left and saw Sonia Choquette standing a bit away from the group; she has been a longtime mentor, friend and teacher of mine, and she was smiling from ear to ear. She stood in the background as if to support but not interfere with this family reunion. Wayne motioned for me to come with him, and then I woke up. I wondered for days what the dream meant; it felt so profoundly significant. Little did I know at the time that Wayne, Sonia and my family came as support for what was to come.
I have had significant beings in my life, ones who have greatly impacted the person I am today. One of those beings came in the form of a dog named Murphy. He was the Dalai Lama of dogs — forever kind and gentle to all. His greatest gift was the unconditional love he offered anyone and everyone. He arrived in my life at a time when significant change was about to occur, 6 months before my sister was to have a car accident, crashing into a telephone pole and tragically passing at 50 years old. It was a terrible shock to me. Her death launched a volcano of unresolved emotions from previous years, and I took a downward spiral. Murphy became my rock and life-saver, for he grounded me in a way that kept me from losing myself completely. He was a bright light in a time of darkness. He was a healer. Over the years, he continued to shine his light on everyone. I grew to depend on the stability he offered and on his very presence in my life. He and I had a very special relationship.
One week after my dream, Murphy, who was only 12 1/2 years old (a youngster in my book!), suddenly passed, and it sent me reeling into despair. How could he be gone? Not Murph. He was bigger than life and certainly bigger than death! Now, that, I believe, is true. I believe the soul continues on, just like we continue on here, only in different form. But, oh, how I wanted to see and touch him! I wanted to hug his neck and see him smile like he used to. I wanted him back. Magical thinking, I know.
People don’t expect you to grieve the loss of an animal for very long; they expect you to move on. After all, it’s just an animal, not a person.
I spent the next few months in a fog, moving through life but not really participating in it. The grief this time was haunting. Some other significant losses occurred during those months, but none that equalled my losing Murphy. I had a really difficult time functioning — moving forward, looking on the bright side of things, simply enjoying life, which was my natural state. I tried to act as if everything were normal, and I tried to convince myself of the same. People don’t expect you to grieve the loss of an animal for very long; they expect you to move on. After all, it’s just an animal, not a person.
One day, several months after his passing, I was vacuuming, and as I passed a certain closet, one in which I stored old towels and blankets, I felt the urge to look inside. Peeking out from a stack of other blankets in a not-so-tidy arrangement was something I didn’t recognize.
“What in the world is this?” I thought.
I tugged on a corner of the blanket and pulled it out; it fell open, and I gasped out loud. There, right in front of me, was a new throw someone had given me as a gift years ago, a throw with Murphy’s photo on it. His photo covered the entire blanket. I was dumbfounded and ecstatic at the same time. And I started to cry. Just the surprise at seeing one of my very favorite photos of him cracked my heart wide open again. I bunched up the throw around my face and slid to the floor. I cried in huge, heaping sobs for a long time.
I had not lost Murphy, nor had he lost me, though I suspect he already knew that.
Soon thereafter, I began posting Instagram photos and quotes of mine. On St. Patrick’s Day, I posted a picture of Murphy as a puppy with a four leaf clover in his mouth. He was known for carrying things in his mouth — that was sort of his trademark. His puppy photo brought a big smile to my face and heart. In fact, I spent all day looking at the photo, basking in sheer appreciation of him. No grief was present, just pure love and joy at seeing his beautiful puppy spirit.
That very night I had another dream. This time I was led into a room where Murphy was waiting for me. When he saw me, he jumped for joy and bounded around the room just like he used to when I came back from a trip. He was so glad to see me! And, oh, was I overjoyed to see him! I hugged his neck and held him close. We were both so happy, so ecstatic to have connected in this way. Our closeness and love for each other was as strong as ever. We spent a long time together, just hanging out. I studied every inch of his sweet face, holding his head gently in my hands. And then I woke up. But this time, I woke up feeling fresh and new. I woke up knowing I had just spent real time with him. I had not lost Murphy, nor had he lost me, though I suspect he already knew that. I woke up feeling that a healing had occurred. And it had.
Today, I feel Murphy around a lot. I will be honest: I still put his bed out at night, and I still call his name when I walk the other dogs. I am not ashamed or embarrassed about these habits. For some reason, I just feel he is still part of things here, and I always want him to feel welcome in any form. This will always be home for him.
Appreciation and joy were the conduit through which he could see me, and I could see him.
I have learned a lot about connection and love through the years, but there has been no greater teacher than Murphy. Looking back on St. Patrick’s Day, I truly feel that the reason he came to me in a dream was because I felt happy and appreciative of that cute puppy I remembered. I had not spent my time focused on feeling loss. I had not spent my day remembering him with sadness. I had not blocked his presence with my intense grief. Appreciation and joy were the conduit through which he could see me, and I could see him. I will be forever grateful for that visit and touched in a way that words cannot express. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Murphy is still carrying on his healing work and that we are never disconnected. Ever. Thank you with all my heart, Murphy.
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