From the movie “Casper”:
“I know you’ve been searching for me. But you have to understand, you (and Kat) loved me so well when I was on earth that I have no unfinished business.”
It had been a long time since I saw “Casper” but I never forgot those words. They come at the end of the movie, when the spirit of Bill Pullman’s deceased wife appears to him and he is overcome with emotion.
Those words have been very close to me these past weeks as I mourn the loss of my dog, Jake. I keep expecting to sense his presence – under my feet at the desk, coming through the dog door, looking for me at the window. But I haven’t felt that he’s been around much, and at first it surprised me.
When I lost Martha, back in 1995, I was emotionally devastated and I did everything possible to hang onto her – both before she died and after. In the weeks and months following her loss she came to me all the time. She’d appear frequently in my dreams. I’d see visions of her everywhere. In fact, it was a very strong vision of her (floating peacefully in the arms of an angel) that would ultimately become the cover of my first book, For Every Dog An Angel.
When I looked back on how I tried so desperately to hold onto Martha I knew I had done the best I could, but I also knew in the future I would try to handle the end of my journey with my animal companions differently. It wasn’t my place to try to hold them back. What I needed to do was live my life with them so fully….so present…so well…that at the end I could let them go with love and grace. This does not mean without tears.
And that is how I think it is with Jake. He and I could not have done it any better. When the time came for him to leave me, I let him go….with no unfinished business between us.
But oh, how I miss him….