Life after Death

Saying goodbye last year to my sweet furry friend, Hickory, was heartbreaking.  My constant companion of 15 years, he was with me as I raised and launched my children.  He followed me as I lived with one husband and then with another.  He sat on the floor beside me in my office, befriending my clients.  And then, he went to the Rainbow Bridge and my heart began to ache.

Some friends asked if I would get another dog and if so, when.  Others expressed their understanding that I might never want to own a dog again.  A friend said, “Personally, I couldn’t survive the loss of another pet.”  In fact, I’ve heard many people imply that they don’t have the heart to love again knowing that they will suffer the pain of loss.

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? Or, is the price tag of loss too costly?

For me, love is well worth the pain of loss.  I strive to live from a place of love and not from a place of fear.  The purpose of my life is not to avoid pain; it’s to love and be loved.  I know that I was immeasurably enriched by loving Hickory, even as I must grieve him.

What does all of this mean?  It means that I have a new dog!  My new canine companion, Cody, is an 8 year old rescue dog.  Yes, he will break my heart.  But in the meantime, he will open it.  And I’m reminded that it’s not just about my heart and my life – it’s about his too.  Together, we will grow, love, and eventually reunite on the Rainbow Bridge.

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2 thoughts on “Life after Death

  1. Ilse Mindling

    Hi Ashley, I love following your blogs. I am so very happy that you found another canine companion. There is such a big ache and void in our heart when we have to say good bye to our furry kids, but like you say, the incredible love they give us while they are here fills our and their hearts with so much joy!

    Love and light to you,

  2. Marty Tousley (@GriefHealing)

    Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings about this, Ashley, and I am so happy to know that you’ve opened your heart and your home to a new dog to love! As a grief counselor who also specializes in pet loss, this a question I’m often asked, and an issue I’ve written about myself. I’ve added a link to your piece at the base of my own blog post: “Replacing A Pet Who Has Died: When Is It Time?”