Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Love and Loss

My dear friends and readers,

I am deeply grateful for the prayers and support I have received through comments, emails, and phone calls.  I kept imagining myself surrounded by this circle of light and that was comforting.

All day yesterday I lay on the floor holding Duke, telling him how much I love him, trying to say goodbye.  The vet came in the afternoon, she was very compassionate and affirmed our decision based on the test results.  We lay him down on the marble tile in front of our fireplace, a favorite place of his because it is cool.  First she injected pain killer, then a sedative which made him very sleepy, and then finally the sodium pentathol which released him from his body.  I held him the whole time and had a little while to be with his body before the vet took him away.  He will be cremated and we will have the ashes in a week or so.

The pain right now is quite awful.  Duke was an amazing companion and great teacher and presence in my life.  He was ten so lived a very full and good life.  The hardest part for me is the suddenness of it all.  My head is still spinning over the fact that he seemed fine Thursday morning.  It is very hard to have a loved one torn away so quickly.  The same thing happened with my mother three years ago when she landed in the ICU quite suddenly and then died five days later.  I am aware of the many layers of grief I am carrying being torn open.  I feel raw and undone.

I have also been thinking of a poem I wrote last February in wrestling with her death, and it applies to my loss of Duke as well: 

Love and Loss

Why do I give my heart over

to things that perish?

Why does everything I love

have to one day



like dust in my fingertips?


Perhaps because

it is the love itself that endures,

sometimes feeling solid like the earth

beneath my feet.

But more often it is like a vast sea

into which I


and float

and fear being pulled under.

Or like a fire

burning deep

in my belly,


my way in the



Many blessings, Christine


Duke, 1996-2006, with profound love for a devoted companion and soul friend, you will be missed beyond measure

You might also enjoy

New Monk in the World Self-Study Retreat!

We are pleased to announce the release of our revised and expanded Monk in the World retreat! The retreat is an 8 week self-study that explores the principles of The Monk Manifesto. The new version includes: Registration is offered on a sliding scale and all

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Naimi Gonzalez

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Naimi Gonzalez’s reflection learning to be present through lectio divina. I am in the beginning stages of learning to be more contemplative

Read More »

8 Responses

  1. Abi, thank you again, love does endure, burning brightly, sometimes right through us.

    Trish, somehow I knew from your writing that you must be beholden to creatures in your life. I will be listening ever more closely to my dreams to hear Duke’s songs to me from Beyond.

    With love and blessings, Christine

  2. Oh, Dear One Christine. I am so sorry to hear of Duke’s sudden death. I am the grateful human of one beloved, glorious Midwife dog and three cats. I have just now lighted a candle for you and for Duke, for the Life you have shared together. And smoke rises here from a stick of incense: may you find ways to release and say goodbye even as you remember.

    May your dreams bring you healing and wholeness, dear one. Love comes to you from Iowa.

    With deep breaths of healing,

  3. Oh my friend so sweet, and we do love what passes on, but love endures. No wonder you are so lost, his death touching the death of your mom too. Keep grieving. Keep loving.

  4. Bette, thank you for that wonderful image, the Never Ending Story of love, how perfect for Duke, my luck-dragon. The poem is lovely too.

    Thank you Jo(e) for words of acknowledgement, I know that good self-care is more important than ever right now.

    Welcome to you Shelly. Our animals are such gifts. Tears have been flowing freely down my cheeks and I love the idea of a journal dedicated to him.

  5. Receiving Duke’s ashes will help. It takes a long time to grieve the loss of a pet (family member). My beloved cat Saki went quickly as well 4 years ago and despite still having my other two cats, I still cry for Saki. You really reaize how well your animals take care of you as much as we take care of them.

    I too have gone through the loss of my mother, which was unexpected, she hadn’t been sick. So I understand the multiple layers of grief. Cry when you need to and keep a daily journal recording memories of the person/pet you’ve lost.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.


  6. Duke has given you the gift of a Never-Ending-Story…..”Love”….pure and holy.
    God has given you the gift of “Time”….and in time, your sadness will find its corner inside your heart and you will smile again :)

    “Some people (dogs) come into our lives and quickly go.
    Some move our souls to dance.
    They awaken us to new understanding
    with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
    Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
    They stay in our lives for awhile,
    leave footprints on our hearts
    and we are never, ever the same.”