There was a time when I couldn’t quite imagine this day would come. During the month of January 2014, I created this blog, Heidi Has A Halo, and promised myself and my Heidi that I would complete an entry each and every week for a year – or more precisely until the anniversary of her transition out of this world. That day was January 2. I didn’t complete my entry that day, because plans were interrupted (or maybe it’s more accurate to say “life intervened”), and I wouldn’t have my final entry be one lacking in time, commitment and consideration – so I put it off till now. And now that I’m back home (after a week at my mom’s), it’s time to delve deep, to reminisce, to be grateful, to get in touch – and to… whatever else may come from this entry. The final entry. For now.
Heidi, my 9 1/2-year-old, four-legged best friend, left her physical body on January 2, 2014 at approximately 7 a.m. Devastation isn’t a strong enough word to describe the torture I felt when physically losing her became a reality. She was a large part of my identity. She was my source of pure joy. She was my best friend, my kid, and my littlest love guru all in one. She was a piece of me. And when her heart stop beating and she no longer inhaled, I was lost, ruined, broken.
The days that followed were the hardest days of my life. If I left my apartment, entering again was agonizing. I would drop to my knees at the place on the living room floor that she took her last breath. I cried out for her. I held her toys.
I fell asleep crying and awoke the same. The extra leg room at the foot of the bed might be comfortable to some but in this case was excruciating. Opening my eyes each day with my new reality was nearly impossible to bear. And then a peace came.
I went out into nature and journaled. Once, I journaled till dark at one of our favorite parks, and another time, I hiked one of our favorite trails till I came across a comfy place on a tree to write. I wrote freely. Every word that came to mind made it to the paper. I was connecting – to myself and to my Heidi and to something so big and powerful and pure. Clarity rushed over me. Death wasn’t so scary anymore. I felt her in the trees and in the wind, and I saw her in the sunset. I visualized Heidi running ahead of me with other four-legged family we’ve lost, and the picture in my mind felt natural, real and true. I still missed her so, but I was happy for her, too. That peace that surrounded me seemed to assure me of her bliss. She was no longer burdened by the ailments that pained her. She was free.
Two weeks after Heidi passed, I decided to start this blog, and committing to this endeavor is something I’m so very proud of. This experience has been uplifting, difficult, therapeutic, painful, insightful, interesting, burdensome, exciting, disciplined and so much more. I’ve had my good days and my bad, and similarly, I’ve had some really great, motivational, heartfelt entries – and others that probably read like I was in a rush to fulfill an obligation to writing. But without fail, I wrote – each and every week – and here I am now.
I couldn’t be more grateful to Heidi who I still love with my whole heart. To know her was to love her, and I was so very blessed to be touched my her angelic spirit. Her presence in my life was utterly heavenly. She taught me true love. Dogs are quite miraculous in that way, and Heidi, well, she was extraordinary.
With her death came immense pain but also immense gratitude for the years I spent living in such close proximity to one so pure and full of love. I will never forget how moved I was by that little girl; I remain inspired today.
With her death came this knowing – a knowing that seemed to tell me: Love is what’s important in this life, and all else is secondary. I gained perspective. I gained clarity. I was no longer so concerned with what people thought of me or whether or not I would be “successful.” Suddenly, I lived often in the moment, and I focused much of my attention on being loving. I was on to something!
As the months passed, I found myself slip away from that light. Some days I fell into complete darkness while other days I was merely disconnected and out of sync with that Source I had felt so connected to. Call it God or my higher self or the Universe – but that power that found me at my time of desolation didn’t feel so near anymore. So, I worked on getting back to that place, and I did. I read and read and read books that inspire and motivate and drive me to strive toward connectedness. I meditated. I prayed. I read some more. I wrote. I experienced true happiness. And then I’d put down my books for weeks and lose it again.
I’ve learned spirituality is like a muscle, and we have to continue to exercise it. The power of the mind can influence us in such a way that we forget who we truly are. Thinking can be so destructive. We get lost in the troubles of the world, and we become completely absorbed by our egos – unless we strive to remain present, focused in the Now, connected to God.
I’ve learned more this past year than I have any other year of my life. I started the year off with pain and confusion. I quit acting and stand up comedy. I found my way through writing. I adopted Grace (my beautiful, silly, copper-colored boxer love), and I really began to figure out who I am. Then, I picked acting and stand up comedy (again) mid-way through the year. I devoted hours and days to both those crafts – as well as writing – and I scheduled each of my days the best I could in order to succeed at also being a good dog and cat mama, girlfriend, daughter, friend and sister. Some days felt overwhelming. Many were so much fun. I figured it out. And I figured me out a little bit more.
Last month, our family was hit with another painful loss when my Auntie Marsha said goodbye to this physical world and left it to return Home. Death is so painful for those of us left behind, and much of my family has been grieving. Losing my Auntie Marsha brought upon a plethora of emotions, and I’ve been sorting through each and every one – working hard to make sense of them all.
I’m going to share a very personal story now. In doing so, I’m being incredibly vulnerable. Here goes… My Auntie Marsha transitioned out of her physical body on a Friday. I didn’t work that night. I spent much of the day on the phone with my mom who mourned for her sister. I didn’t want to go out that night, so I bought some Indian food and stayed in with Grace and Ninny Muggins. I wanted to be close to the phone, and I wanted to be on Facebook – where the many, many members of my family continued to reach out to one another. I wanted to be as near to my family as possible – even though I’m hundreds of miles away. I began to cry. I had cried many times already that day, but this time I felt more in touch, for lack of a better word. I began to cry and talk to my Auntie. I began to pray, aloud, for my cousins (her daughters) and for my mom. And then I felt her. Without words, I felt an outpour of warmth and love surround me, and I felt a sort of message come through. It felt as though she was looking down on me, smiling (maybe even laughing a little) and saying to me, “You’re so precious and cute and sweet.” I laughed. I felt like the shy, little girl I used to be caught red-handed being all those things she told me I was. Ordinarily, I don’t like being talked to like I’m a child, but this was different. It was pure love, and I loved feeling like a little girl in that moment. I was overjoyed. I called my mom to tell her about my experience, and she told me those are the words my Auntie Marsha always used to describe me. I was and am grateful for that interaction. I will be forever.
My Auntie’s passing also brought intense fear from within me. What would I ever do without my mom? How could I live without her? My Auntie’s sudden death shocked us all, and my mom started asking me if I would take care of her animals if she, too, were to leave her physical body soon. I did my best to remain calm when on the phone with my mom who was longing to hear her sister’s voice once more, but as soon as we’d get off the phone, my fear escalated into something that began to haunt me. Suddenly, all the spiritual improvement I’d achieved throughout the year was absent, and I was sinking into a dark hole. Once again, “success” tormented me. If I don’t start making better money, how will I ever be able to help my mom move closer to me? Losing my mom became my biggest fear. I had to find peace again.
Spending this past week with my mama was beautiful. We worked our butts off packing for her move nearer to her brother’s house, and yet we had fun. I am grateful for her. I’m grateful for her insight, her spirituality, her beauty. She reminds me of a truth I already know in my heart, and I know we’ll spend many more years together in this life – and eternity together in another.
Once again, I find myself back where I was at the start of last year. My soul urges me to write, and my drive to focus only on writing is fierce. My desire to continue stand up comedy and acting is no longer present, and I don’t know what that means. I make no promises. I don’t know what the future holds. Maybe I’m being fickle. But I know my spirit is communicating something to me, and I need to be present to listen. Write, write, write. That’s all I can think and feel. So that’s what I shall keep doing. I love it. I’m good at it. And I’ve been doing some form of it or another for a decade and have never tired of it. That’s where I’m being called… for now.
I am grateful to 2014 – and to the journeys throughout it. I am grateful to the loves (the people, the animals) of my life; they are exceptional. I am grateful to this knowing that speaks to me when I’m ready to listen, and I’m grateful for the breath in my body that permits me the time, today, to be and love and live.
As this entry comes to a close, I feel both sadness and eagerness. This chapter of my life is coming to an end, and truly, it has been so good to me. As this door closes, I look forward to meeting the one that opens. I love my past and who it has made me; I embrace my present and what it creates in me; and I will greet my future with an open heart. May the next journey begin. So be it. So it is.
To my Wittlest, Dearest, most Precious Angel,
I asked you to guide me, and you have. Your love is something I could never describe with any and all vocabulary, and I am eternally grateful to know your spirit. Thank you for entering my life, for guiding me, for teaching me, for loving me, and for letting me shower my love onto you. Thank you for the years you gave to me. Thank you for the imprint you made on my soul. I will always love you. I will never forget you. And it is my truest belief that I will see you again, that our souls will rejoice when we reunite. I love you. Thank you. You are precious. Your birthday, June 19, will forever be a holiday in our home. ❤