On Sunday I chose the most difficult piece I could have chosen to read to an audience; The Final Gift, an excerpt from my memoir: White Rose: Stories of Love, Loss and a Dog Named Holly. It deals with the death of my Golden Retriever, and how important it was for me to give her my final gift of love, a peaceful death with gratitude, not fear. I’m a member of the Women’s National Book Association(WNBA) and the event was held at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice. I practiced the piece at home, dry eyed and thought I could get through it without breaking down. It’s been l2 years since her passing. Yet as I read it aloud, it became fresh and I lived her death all over again. I only broke from the flow of my reading for a few seconds, but felt the sorrow and loss deeply…..yet again. This surprised me until I realized that these losses never go away. We think we are through with the pain, but it’s easily aroused because of the depth of feeling. Memory keeps it fresh. And I guess I would have it no other way. It’s as if it was yesterday. It means I cared so much that she’s still in my heart; the only constant memorial for profound loss.
The amazing part of the reading wasn’t that it made me cry. It was the response of the audience. At least 5 people approached me afterward…not to tell me how great my writing was…no…but to tell me about the pet they lost and that they wanted to remember by sharing their memories. That meant the piece resonated with them. We are all connected in grief, as in love, all of us.