Healing After Death of a Loved One


Cute Tan Chihuahua

How I’m Dealing with Death of my Dog Maisy

My sweet little chihuahua Maisy died yesterday at age 11 very unexpectedly and suddenly. She was very healthy and by all accounts should have lived many more years. I believe she died of asphyxiation from a collapsed trachea. Chihuahua’s often have this physical condition as do many other small breed dogs. Unfortunately I didn’t realize it could be fatal and was not prepared.

I was with her when she died. I didn’t fully realize what was happening at first, but once I did I tried to give her doggy CPR to no avail. All day yesterday I kept replaying the scene in my head always coming back to the regretful place that I didn’t know enough about what to do exactly and so therefore I didn’t do enough. This left me feeling terrible with no way to ever feel better about it except to simply accept it. 

But I think I have come to a better, more true perspective of things, as I have meditated on it. This view of Maisy’s death leaves me feeling full, feeling love, feeling truly OK with what is. It’s my view of the experience of death and maybe it will help someone else. I’m sure not everyone would embrace my view, but if it helps just one other person, that’s why I write this today. That one person may only be me when I falter and return to regretful thinking. Click below to read more.

Non-Duality and Death

I believe in the teachings of non-duality. (Great resources listed below) In a nutshell Non-Duality states that we are all part of The One, the Absolute. We each stem from the Creative Manifestations and Love of The One. Non-dual means “not two,” that there is only One. It can be quite a heady concept to grasp, especially being so enmeshed in this physical reality with all it’s apparent diversity and separation. But, as Ram Dass taught, we live on many levels. We have the dream state, we have the physical state, and beyond this there are spiritual realms in which we live simultaneously but don’t have conscious awareness of, or at the very least they are designed to be forgotten in order to fully experience the physical reality. In the physical reality we each “interbe” with each other. This is a Buddhist concept that reveals the truth that no living thing could exist without all the other things in the universe. 

We Are All Connected

Consider a blade of grass. It could not exist without the sun, water, the soil, the ants aerating the soil, the pollinators, the wind to strengthen it as it grows. It can and does not exist on it’s own. It is dependent on all other conditions. In that way it is just a distinction within the whole, but never truly separate from the whole. This is similar to how waves in the ocean have distinctness, but are never separated from the whole of the ocean. Waves, like blades of grass, and like ourselves and our pets are patterns of energy that are ever moving and ever changing all contained within the whole. You are me. And I am you. We are All. And we are all connected.

Maisy and I Are Forever Connected

So in this context, I see that Maisy was always part of me. She had a distinct form for a while inside of her cute furry body. What she was thoughm at her essence, and what we all are at our essence, is true Love. This is what we are all made of. Love is the thread or yarn that is woven into many distinct yet connected parts of the Whole. When I take yarn, I can make almost anything out of it. I can make a sweater, a hat, a scarf. I can make things too. I can make things that look like people or houses or plants or animals. But they are all yarn. And in the physical world that yarn is unbroken from one distinct thing to another. The yarn in this example represents Love which is the Absolute from which and of which we are all made/exist.

The Love We Give is the Love We Get

Besides her body, the Yarn of Love from which Maisy was fashioned had many other qualities such as gentleness, innocence, and kindness. She was a content soul, happy to chill on the couch for hours. She was a minimalist. She only wanted love, food and rest in that order. And she got it and she was happy. With Maisy being in my life, I could “see” those qualities in her, seemingly as a distinct entity apart from me. By manifesting in Maisy seemingly “outside of me” they were on display for me as Kristin to observe and to emulate. This is the play of God. God is playing inside of each of us, enjoying the exploration of this physical realm and the forgetting of who We are. Maisy also embodied stubbornness and irrational fearfulness which brought up anger in me in the early days, when she wouldn’t do what I wanted. Luckily God was there in the form of my son John to urge me to summon my compassion and love. Over time I learned the lessons of love and compassion because of Maisy. I see now that the love, understanding, and compassion that I gave to her, I was giving to Myself as the Absolute dancing in this physical playground. Maisy and I were and are fully encased in the One. In that way any goodness I gave to her, I gave to myself.

Dealing with Guilt after Death

So today any guilt I hold because of wrongdoings against Maisy in the past were wrongdoings against myself. The hurt I feel for her is inside me too. The forgiveness and redemption I yearn for are also inside me. Maisy is me, in the sense that we are both of the same Yarn, Ocean, Love. In order to know if Maisy forgives me, all I have to do is ask myself “do you forgive me Kristin?” or better yet “will you forgive me Kristin?” And to get forgiveness all I have to do is give it, unconditionally and with love. When I do that I feel the love that Maisy would give me if I could ask her that. She didn’t have a vengeful bone in her body, only Love. In fact as much as she loved food (and she LOVED food!) she always wanted love more! 

Even though she is not in her little fur body, she is still fully with me. Her love and all her good and challenging qualities are still with and in me. My challenge is to work with them now inside of me and when I see them in others to meet them all with Love.

UPDATE: next day

Recent learnings – Note to Self from Self

Kristin, if you’re tired and have spiraling down thoughts, that’s the signal to stop thinking and get some rest.
In the morning you’ll be more open to this truth “Even when it’s bad, it’s not as bad as you think. We are always ok. Even, and probably especially, at the moment of death we are always OK.” Death is probably our greatest fear. Death is only a transition. Everything I’ve read about people who have glimpsed “the other side” say it’s beyond our greatest dreams. Everyone gets to go there especially the “wicked” who need the most healing. So there’s never anything to worry about.

So when I wonder why did my little Maisy die this week, even though I may not know that answer for a while, I can know that she is OK and I am OK. Everything is OK.

At some level she might have chosen that time. Me thinking that it was a bad thing is ignoring the larger truth: that she and I are both OK. She is likely better than OK right now.

The feelings of guilt about not being able to save her are an unnecessary and untrue layer that neither brings her back nor does it solve my pain of missing her.

What does solve my missing her is what I wrote about the other day. (I’ll post a link below.) In a nutshell that is:

  • her essence lives on inside of me, not in an imaginary way, but truly.
  • I can talk to her and send her love at anytime and she receives it instantly – again this is real not imaginary. Our whole reality stems from Ultimate Imagination of the Absolute/God. There is no reality except imagination.

And so this is also true with all the strangeness of our current world. We are all OK. We don’t have to take the game of life so seriously. We are here to play, create, and love. Let’s enjoy it before we someday head off to our next adventure. It would be a shame to waste it with worry and guilt.

Love Can’t Be Possessed. It’s Closer Than Possession.

You see, when she was in her little cute fur body, I could pet her and enjoy that loving interaction. I could hug her. But these actions could never be done in a way that fully expressed the infinite nature of Love. That infinite nature of Love just Is. It’s not something that you can hug so tight that you can hold on to it so as to never lose it. Those actions don’t make you never lose Love. The real Truth is that Love Never Can be lost. It can’t be grabbed enough, hugged enough, or petted enough into a state of possession. It is closer than possession. We Are that Love. It is inside of us. All we have to do is bathe in it, bask in it. How? Just think of it and it is there. Of course you can think of it while petting your dog, or while hugging your loved ones, or while looking into someone’s eyes. These are like “permission slips” in the physical world that say “love is happening now.” But truly for love to happen all you have to do is be aware of it because it always is there.

Wake Up Calls

Maisy’s death has been a wakeup call to me similar to the mini-death of losing my breasts to cancer a few years ago. I didn’t know I needed a wakeup call then or now. It just happens. I guess that’s how wake up calls work. They need to be abrupt at times to catch our attention. I was lucky at the time to have a great healer/teacher guide me back then to see that my breasts volunteered to take on the brunt of the wakeup call I needed at that time knowing that they were not essential to me continuing to live in the physical world. Both of these wake up calls summoned me to slow down for a moment and examine my life. What is working? What do I regret and want to be sure to include going forward? What changes will I make? These wake up calls also said “Kristin you are strong. You can handle this. Take time to assess your life and keep building on past lessons to make it better all the time.”

My belief is that on some level in the spiritual world Maisy said “I volunteer to transition today” in order for these lessons to be learned and experienced by our little family, and her decision was fine with all of us because on the spiritual level we know that she never really died. 

Dealing with the Physical Level Grief

Yesterday I was having trouble at the physical level of being, accepting her sudden departure. I kept asking all day “Where did you go Maisy? Where are you?” I remembered the story of Ramana Maharshi when he was dying and all his followers said, “Oh, please save yourself. Don’t die. Please don’t leave us.” And he said something like “Don’t be scared. I’m not going anywhere. Where could I go?” And what he meant is that he would forever be with them in their hearts, minds, and always connected by Universal Love. His “being with them” while in the physical realm is not different after he dropped his body.  “He would not go anywhere, that in the deepest sense he would always be with his devotees, in fact with anyone who would recognize Him for what he really is, their very Self, the Consciousness, which is prior to space and time.” The Self, Consciousness, and Love are all one and the same.

So for Maisy, when she left her physical body she just transitioned from her qualities being seemingly inside a little fur body apart from me to the realization that they were actually inside of me all along and always will be. To experience the seemingly unique feeling of Love for Maisy is the same as experiencing Love in any circumstance. And if I want to feel that Love with Maisy and if I want to know that she feels it too, all I have to do is put my awareness on it and feel it. It is always there. Yes, she is feeling it. She is eternal because she is part of the Eternal One. Knowing all this gives me great peace and a full feeling of Love.

What Will Life Look Like Now without Maisy in Physical Form?

Will I sometimes feel sad or shed a tear over missing Maisy? Definitely. I’m still in this human incarnation. I’m still learning these concepts. When I think of them, they feel true to me. When I miss Maisy I promise to think of loving moments and recognize that they are real in that moment. How do I know they are real? The same way I knew that they were real when she was in front of me in her body. I could feel the Love then. And I can feel the Love now. The distinctions and circumstances may be different, but the Love is the same. 

If I feel guilt I will remember that if Maisy asked me for forgiveness I know I would give it to her in a heartbeat. Likewise she wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give it to me with so much unconditional love. She gave love as freely as God him/herself would give it. So right there, there is no need for the bad feelings of guilt. I will use my learnings from my shortcomings to do better in the future with others.

Are You Listening to the Messages All Around You?

That pure Love we get from pets is from that part of Ourselves that is our Best Selves gently reminding us to do the same with everyone we meet in person or in our thoughts. For everyone, everything is Us. When we give Love, we get Love. Each loved one in our life offers us lessons to grow in our ability to love. We just need to listen.

Sending you so much love. Wishing you an opening to the Love that is always there for you, with you, is You. 

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Spiritual and Non-Duality Resources

If you would like to read more about non-duality and the books that lined my path to finding non-duality, check out these authors and resources:

Older Generation Teachers: (1960- Present)

Thich Nhat Hanh – This was the start of my spiritual journey. Beautiful loving writing to soothe emotional pain. I would start with “The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Ram Dass“Be Here Now” was the start of my non-dual journey. Also check out his podcasts/youtube channel. Listen to his whole life story and all he learned in life. You will be changed forever.

Original Non-Dual Teachers: (1879 – 1980)

Ramana Maharshi 

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – “I Am That” or “Self-Love”

Current Generation Teachers: (Present Day)

Rupert Spira – see him also on Youtube

Mooji – see him also on Youtube

Michael A. Rodriguez