This is the third in a series of four contributions by our amazing, compassionate blogger Dr. Penny Lloyd.
Dr. Penny recently lost her lifelong companion mare “Bangwyn”. By sharing experience and insight around life and death of loved ones, it is her intent to help all of us open to the unfathomable beauty and ultimate connection that is healing.
Celebration of Life? Healing our greatest fear
Mention the word death, dying, euthanasia and watch humans pucker up, fidget, sweat, change the subject and scramble for the nearest exit. Death is our greatest fear. The day my mare passed had an expansive peace, warmth, and beauty to it. It was so normal, so natural. How could such a huge day feel normal? How could such a day not have been the most horrible day of my life? How could “euthanasia day” be another series of moments shared… a normal natural extension of life as it had always been together – with rich new discoveries and joy created together? I couldn’t have done it without her. Animals can help humans transform our biggest fear. They do not fear death like we do.
Years ago I remember driving my vet truck and seeing yet another gorgeous black squirrel with tufted ears lifeless in the middle of the road. It was one of those emotional days, where I couldn’t bear it. It tore me up. Tears didn’t help. Neither did saying a blessing prayer. What did help was this thought. “Consider this. Maybe it is a game. Could it be squirrels dart across the road on purpose? Perhaps the thrill of going to the light is the best game of all. From a squirrel’s perspective, an exciting game of dodge dash, followed by a quick painless exit – may be the best of all days. Then “pop” back into another body, to do it again. Like a carnival ride.”
It is hard to wrap your head around how it can all be in one day. How can there be the best of times at the worst of times? How can a day of immense sorrow also be playful, carefree, and adventurous? Is that allowed? How is that even possible? All I know is that my mare was clearly having a party. Her enthusiasm was contagious. If you took her lead, today, every day, was a celebration. Every moment was a party. Not a false front drunken desperate attempt to escape reality party. A fully enter and embrace reality party.
Whatever there was to enjoy, she enjoyed fresh and full – like she had always done. Today was no different, only perhaps more so. For all around there was a higher vibration than usual. This gave each experience even more rich full joy. Who knew that on your last day you could discover the taste of carrots and succulent greens – with salt for the first time? Who knew that humans could be so delightfully present, instead of busy? How could a simple walk feel so carefree incredible? Who knew that a needle could give such freedom?
And so because I was more present, I came to glimpse a truth behind the “Celebration of Life” phrase, not as used in the past remembrance tense, but now. Always in the now, as animals always are, enjoying what is, without judgment, preconceived notion, concepts, or fear of death. Past and future do not even exist, when you fully enter the moment. From this vantage, life is celebration and celebration is life. They are one and the same.