How to Know When to Let Go?
Updated: Jan 2
Journeys of pain
Yesterday, I had to put to sleep my dear dog, Cherrie. She was sick and started a road of pain from which not many at her age come back without suffering. My love for her demanded me to act before she could suffer more. During four long days, I tried my best to remember the qualities that help us recognise and accept the Present Time as it is: Love, Letting-Go, Openness, Not being Judgemental, Acceptance. I needed to run a constant reality check to be sure I was doing what was best for her as soon as possible and for the right reasons. Did I want her to survive only because I didn’t want to live without her?
From all those qualities, acceptance is the one I always check first. Not only because it is easier for me to recognise it, but also because it is perhaps the foundation for the rest. When we accept that our reality and the present things, events, circumstances in our life are the way they are, we are immediately ready to deal with them. However, if we oppose that reality and focus our attention and energy to refuse, to deny what is happening, we are far from ready to find a solution for it. As we know, this only brings more pain to us.
In the middle of this very painful situation for me, I felt like the quality of Letting-go came aligning itself to be observed too. I knew “if I accept this reality as part of my present instead of pretending this is not happening to ME, then I will have to let go these hopes that are just impossible.” I recognised these words made sense, yet acting as I needed to was extremely difficult.
When you don’t have the answers
One by one, the doctors suggested – “it is the only choice”. Meanwhile, I was in my mind entertaining the hopes of this invincible force to cure her. “How to let go of my plans of being me, her hero, to find her cure with love?” I had to accept the test results were bad, and she was about to suffer more, very quickly… “Cris, listen to me: how you let Her go?” A voice in my heart started asking. I honestly didn’t know. Then I understood I needed to share this responsibility with my family. After all, they loved her too. Talking, sharing the pain and allowing the decision to be ours instead of mine was a luxury I appreciate, and by crying together, we let her go into her destiny.
And when I thought we had made the hardest decision, the quality of not being judgmental came to challenge my mind: “I could have done this differently”, “I should have researched more”, “I should have tried harder”, and “I should have waited longer”. How long is longer? I don’t know. These judgements come with inaccurate accusations. Maybe if I had waited until I could really see her screaming of pain, then I would have been less hesitant of my decision for euthanasia. But waiting for that, which was for sure coming, sounded too cruel for her. Still, my mind would have been more assured, less insecure.
I bet making this decision is never easy (I cannot imagine the magnitude of pain if this is for a person). However, it seems to be part of our nature to torture ourselves with a secondary pain (just created for us). Maybe this is a mean way of our mind to keep us away from the real pain? Or perhaps we are so used to mistreating ourselves, that we “enjoy” adding unnecessary suffering to our already painful realities? I don’t know. Let me find enough love for myself to answer this one.
We buried her under our house’s tree, and my sister Erika wrote these loving words for her today:
“I made a drawing for Cherrie. With time, she will nurture our house’s tree, the same tree our mum loves, takes care of, and embellishes with other plants and flowers. Life is wise, powerful, strong, and, even if death is not too far away, it reincarnates every time in other living beings to come back to life. Nurturing ourselves from this new life is to learn how to listen to life’s different manifestations.”