The Power of the Shattered Heart


When our heart is shattered, sometimes the response is to close the heart and allow it to harden, to feel less pain. But if we allow the heart to remain open and to soften, the delicateness of this life can be fully experienced.

I was out recently walking my dogs as I do every day and as I turned the corner, I came across my neighbor, crying and standing over her dog who was dying and unable to move. My heart screamed at not wanting to allow yet another pain to enter and even there was a moment where I wanted to walk away. And there was a moment, this small moment of time, that it would have been completely possible for me to have just continued on with my walk, completely justifiable that I could not be of help to her while accompanied by my two dogs. No one would have thought ill of me if I walked away, not even her. But there was no way my heart, was going to let hers be alone.

I intuitively understood what was happening and I first asked her what I could do. She was too distraught to initially respond and concerned that she might also be wanting to be alone with her dog, I asked her if she would prefer that I go or if I could stay. She replied that she needed to get her dog to the vet, but that she couldn't lift him by herself. Her sweet dog Buddy, was quite a big boy and try as she might, it was not physically possible for her to move him alone. I asked her if her husband was able to come to help, but unfortunately he too was very sick.

I recognized the pain in her face, the agony in her heart, and the helplessness of not being able to do anything for her dog by herself. It was not too long ago that we had to say goodbye to our sweet and loving mama dog, and I saw myself in her. My mind was made up. I would not let her be alone.

I told her that I was going to take my dogs home and come right back, that we would find a way to get him in her car. I called my husband and a couple neighbors - not having any of them home or able to come and help, I was determined to find a way for me to help her.

On my way back, I swallowed back tears. I knew this would test my strength and resolve as my heart was already fragile for the loss of my son and our beloved dog Kaiana. I prayed for strength and for a solution to come to help her with Buddy.

As I rounded the corner yet again, I quietly approached her. A door then opened from a house across the street and out stepped a neighbor I have seen many times before in passing by. I called out to him asking if he could help. Sensing something was wrong he ran right over. He began asking her questions as he has known her dog since he wasna young pup and it was only last week that Buddy was out walking around his yard. We both began to learn that Buddy had stomach cancer and suddenly had taken a turn for the worse. A turn you knew was not recoverable.

I explained to him that she had contacted her vet and was trying to get him there, only we needed more muscles to help lift him. We had laid a blanket down to roll him into and then lift him by the corners, hammock style, to get him into the back seat. It took a few minutes to get enough blanket under him and even then, as we approached the car, his back side slid out and we could only get his front legs on the seat. With another approach, we finally were able to set him in. We said our good-byes to Buddy. We let him know he was loved and safe. I gave her a hug letting her know that I was there for her before she drove away. It was the last time I would ever see him.

Even though I now cry for her, for Buddy, and for her son who came home from school that day to find that his dog was gone - I would far rather feel this pain, then to have run away. Together we were able to help our neighbor, together we said good bye, and together, we held her in her time of sorrow.

The holidays are a difficult time for many and it is easy to harden the heart to feel less pain. But please consider, please, to keep a soft and open heart, even if it means allowing it to be broken.

For to be broken is part of the human experience too. And you will find if stay long enough, that it is there in the cracks, that light gets in.

I know my son Bo was with me that day. He is with me every day. I miss him fiercely, but his presence his still here and he guides me even from beyond. He, like my other son, have become my greatest teachers yet and my greatest source of strength. And I pray, that his light, the light of love and compassion, only grows brighter and brighter in this world. It is WE, that can all share and experience this light.

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