”We are never alone, they are all still here. Everyone just comes in closer when it is time to leave your body.” Lucy
It has been almost a year since my dearest Penny peacefully passed away with those present who knew and loved her best. Her last week with us was intense, emotional, and magical. It was a precious and life altering experience. During that week we lived in that place between life and death, heaven and earth, always in the moment. There was no future or past, just NOW where emotions are real. We communicated with the clarity and understanding of two beings who have known each other so deeply, often merging as one.
Penny joined our family in December of 2001. She was always a big presence, had a great sense of humor, an opinion about everything and a healthy appetite for life and most of all food. Penny would express her thoughts and feelings loudly and frequently and I was her translator. Penny quickly established herself as my Jin Shin Jyutsu partner. She helped with clients and self-help classes. Penny wanted to help people feel better at an emotional and spiritual level. She accomplished this through her wonderful sense of humor. Perfectly timed sighs and groans always elicited a laugh and the response, “Well Penny I hope I am not boring you.” Penny’s gentle, comforting snoring as she slept while our client was in session was equally relaxing and healing. Penny loved her Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions and would happily help with self-help classes acting as a model. She never complained and was perfect with students both 4 and 2 legged.
Penny was my constant companion, my travel partner, my hiking buddy, and my dearest friend. She moved like a ballerina. I loved watching her pirouette and spin as she ran and played and explored the world. During our life together I experienced a range of emotions from frustration to love and joy. Penny was not an easy puppy and threw temper tantrums as she learned to spend time in her crate. We took many classes those first three years. Gradually all the class work paid off and Penny had become solid and steady. Ready to be a partner. I loved her dearly and when she died I was not sure if I would ever stop crying.
In the early morning hours of the Sunday prior to her death Penny was restless. This was not unusual however something was off that day and I kept a close watch. Later in the afternoon I knew it was time for a hospital visit. She was diagnosed with tumors on her liver and spleen. “How could this happen? Hadn’t I done everything right? What did I miss? She was so strong and full of vitality” were my recurring thoughts. When I picked Penny up Monday afternoon she was back to her exuberant self, thrilled to see me and happily barking away. Translation, “I am fine, ready to go home and oh by the way, I need to pee.” Her person had arrived and all was well in the world.
We waited in the exam room for 3 hours to see the veterinarian and be discharged. I have never appreciated and been so thankful for my Jin Shin Jyutsu skills as I was in that moment. We both settled on a blanket on the floor of the exam room and I shared a Jin Shin Jyutsu session with Penny from which we both benefited. It was so comforting to simply be with Penny, to listen to her quietly breathing, taking in her wonderful smell and stroking her silky soft ears.
I was able to spend this last week with Penny, free of distractions. Keeping her comfortable with regular Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions, essential oils, a well-padded bed, a fentanyl patch and tramadol. Tilly was the perfect midwife, maintaining her vigilant watch atop a chair next to Penny’s bed. Cats naturally move through that space between heaven and earth. This helped Penny to practice leaving her body. During our walks in the meadow Lucy would come up and gently touch Penny’s shoulder. Lucy knew it was important for Penny to know she was right there with just a little touch. Penny and I would quietly process her return to spirit. She thought I would be joining her but soon realized this was her journey without me.
Each evening I shared a Jin Shin Jyutsu session with Penny and included her favorite essential oils; lavender, frankincense and sandalwood. I would quietly hold Penny after each session taking in her whole being and reflect on our time together, all our adventures. Lucy would then come over and curl up next to Penny. Penny had never been one for snuggling but this week was different. We needed to take in her essence, her smell, her whole being and remember so that we could let go.
There was an increasing angelic presence all week as Penny began to make her transition back to spirit. My dearest soul mates, Princess, Molly, Meg, Rosie, Buck, Ashley, and Coco were gathering to welcome Penny home. Her appetite for life and food were good until Friday morning. Something had shifted and suddenly walking and eating took too much effort. It was time to call Wendy. Wendy Robinson, Penny’s wonderful, gentle veterinarian arrived Friday evening. We talked, cried, laughed, and cried some more as I shared Penny stories. The last sound I heard from my beloved Penny was her gentle, comforting, peaceful snoring just before she climbed the golden staircase to heaven.
Everyone got to play their part in Penny’s passing so we are doing well. The house is much quieter without Penny. I miss the feel of her velvety ears, her enthusiasm for life, her constant companionship and unconditional love and yet I feel her presence. When we go for a hike in the mountains or walk on the beach I think about Penny and there she is, with us. After Penny passed I felt a tremendous sadness that began to lift after talking with my dear friend and animal communicator Sharon Callahan. Penny reminded me during this session that, “No matter what we do, things happen.” Control is an illusion. Life happens and our ability to be in the flow and adapt to change determines whether we are living in the present or the past.
Thinking in the past keeps us miserable. When we live in the past it is impossible to feel things in the moment. Feel your feelings and let them flow. Our animals teach us about life and death. Each time a beloved animal leaves we are presented with a new lesson. As fear of death and loss become less frightening we are able to live life more fully. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you let your emotions flow and release your fears. Share your stories and bear witness as others share theirs. Forgive yourself, let go of guilt, love and live in the moment. This is what I have learned from my time with Penny.