“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
This summer our family has experienced much grief. We lost a beloved relative and two adored pets (Blackberry our dog and Domino our rat), and all three were taken from this earth too soon.
So with a heavy heart I go about our day, and when the day has a quiet moment I stop and reflect about life and death.
One thing I realized was how different the death of a person affected me compared to the death of a pet.
We lost Blackberry in the beginning of summer. She was our best dog-friend and we loved each other unconditionally. We miss her so much and will never forget her.
Then Piper came into our life and that empty hole in our heart started filling back up. We still miss Blackberry terribly, but we were able to reluctantly move on in some ways and love this little homeless puppy just as much as we loved Blackberry.
Piper is allowing us to heal from our grief. It is hard to look at his adorable little face and feel sad. He needs us and loves us unconditionally and he is now a member of our family and my new fur baby.
However, it is not so easy for me to heal and move on when I lose a person that I love. I can't go and adopt and bring home a new grandparent or brother-in-law. No one will ever completely fill that empty hole in my heart. I know that hole will get smaller with time and the grief will be blunted, but no one will ever replace them.
A second thing I realized as I pondered death was that during times of grief I understand what truly matters to me. "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
For me that means to live each day as if it might be my last, enjoy my friends and family, and find joy in the big AND little moments. Grief is a reminder to concentrate on what really matters because we all have a finite time on earth.
Life is beautiful and I am so fortunate I get to experience it in all of its grandeur.