Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Last Friday, I went to a retirement party for two of my favorite former co-workers at the U of M. They are a married couple who worked in the same department together for close to 10 years. An amazing feat that most of us couldn't duplicate no matter how much we loved our spouses.

They are moving to Victoria, British Columbia to return to the rain forests and warmth of the husband's youth. A classic marital compromise - he lived with her here in Minnesota, (very happily, I might add) where she grew up but both wanted a chance to see what life could be like together closer to where he grew up.

I've thought a lot about the changes they'll go through. I thought a lot about the grieving they will do. They have a wonderful life, friends and family here, yet they choose to take another chance on change. Leaving those friends behind will be tougher than they can imagine. It always is. But at the same time they will be practicing their skills at meeting new friends and coping with new terrain, home, and habits. A valuable strength critical for all of us to develop as we go through this journey called life.

Tonight, Belle and I will go to a Wine and Cheese Party at Helping Paws to celebrate the foster homes and dogs that will soon be graduating or have been retired from service. And I think that in a year, Belle and I will be among the ones to be feted. Time goes so fast. Changes happen so quickly. Helping Paws prepares us for the impending separation from the dogs we've so lovingly trained by breaking it down into little steps just like they do when they teach us how to teach cues to our dogs. A two week evaluation here, a dog swap there, and lots of opportunity to talk and listen, both to and with, graduates, other foster homes, and Helping Paws staff.

Would that life in general should give us such practice. When I'm asked how I can give up my dog, I often think to myself that this is what I'm doing, practicing. Practicing the coping skills that all of us must have to live our lives to the fullest despite the loss or separation from those we love. I know it won't make the grief any less when it happens, but maybe if I practice enough, it will be easier to know whole-heartedly that their love is always a part of who I am and who I will be. And be ready to meet and welcome into my life new friends, and new experiences. Maybe not on such a grand scale as my former co-workers, but hopefully just as successfully.

1 comment:

slatta said...

Wow, so well said. Thanks.