Behind me her candle is still burning. I lit it while she was still breathing and the vet had just arrived. It felt like the right thing to do. As if the fire would somehow ensure that Lila’s spirit would be guided through the different dimensions effortlessly. As if I could do something right about what didn’t feel right at all. Putting her to sleep. Deciding over her time and place of death, deciding upon life and the absence of it. I would have wanted her to decide. I wasn’t sure if maybe she did have a plan of when and how to die. Then fears got in the way. What if she would choke on what ever has been growing in her throat, in which order would her organs stop working and what is the „right“ thing to do? To watch, to let her be, to hold her in her pain. Or to end it, to help her move on to the next plane because no matter how hard she would fight, the cancer was still eating her up alive. So I chose the secondary.
We talked a lot about response-ability in my home within the last days. That I am her caretaker and life provider in a sense. That it is my responsibility to set her free in the end. And I’ve been wondering how much of this was our conditioning growing up in a western world. It felt wrong to play god, I didn’t want to make that choice. At the time it even felt like I couldn’t. And yet I did. In the last night that I had spent with her I was finally able to say goodbye.
I was always afraid of the day when Lila would die. I had envisioned it in the most terrifying ways. But I thought I would have at least another 10 years with her. In the end I had 7 days. Days of complete bewilderment, panic, sorrow and grief, days full of sadness and disbelief and within them all there were tiny little sparks of peace. A part of me still experiences guilt and shame for feeling this peace because it judges the very idea of it. How could I be at peace with something so devastating and tragic, my 4 year old beloved Lila leaving this realm without me? Leaving „too early“, says my mind. Leaving right in time says my heart. And yet it aches like hell. I don’t want her to go. I need her to stay with me. I don’t want to live without her. But it’s not about the I. It’s about everything being connected to everything else. And it’s absolutely out of my control.
For six days I still needed a miracle. For six days I cried and yet was unable to say goodbye to her and set her free. Through deep conversations with my family I realized that I am prolonging her suffering by my own inability to let her go. So I commanded all the courage that I had and laid down with her the night before she went and told her that it was okay. Even though it wasn’t. It wasn’t okay at all and it still is not okay but it had to be okay for her to be able to go. I had to allow it. Just like I allowed her to cross a street I needed to allow her to cross over. Although it was going against everything I ever wanted.
So many teachings revealed themselves to me in the last days. Letting Lila go was the most selfless act I have ever performed. The simultaneousness of knowing what is right although it doesn’t feel right and yet in some strange way it does. The concurrence of life and death. Non-duality at its finest. Being in congruence with a higher plan and being so deeply humbled by it. Being open to receiving a higher wisdom that’s contrary to what you want or wish for and being open to it. Anyways. Being with what is. Without judgement or interference. And allowing my own personal process. Being present with it all.
The night I said goodbye I knew that the next day she was going to die. I took the decision and yet it felt like it had already been taken. I felt my responsibility in it and yet I felt like I was simply tuned in to what was happening. We are co-creating this earthly experience with the divine, we are a part of it just as it is a part of us. I’ve never felt that so strongly.
The next morning she felt so weak. She had been getting weaker and weaker for days now but that morning she really looked as if she were done. Done with this life, done with fighting the undefeatable. I talked to my mum and she confirmed what I observed. Turns out she knew that Lila was going to die way back when I still believed that she would definitely be alright because I wasn’t open to any other possibility at the time.
So we called the vet and asked if she could come to our home to put her to sleep. Her name was „Dr. Light“ and I thought that was quite fitting. She agreed to come after work around 9 pm. Everything felt so surreal. Emil and I dug her grave in the garden while she was still lying under the kitchen table. Not happy but still alive. I didn’t know if I was being macabre or practical. I chose not to judge it and go with practicality instead. As we came back inside I told her „Baby I made you a bed under the earth. I think you will like it.“, which obviously felt strange but not more strange than everything else that was going on.
This whole experience had a certain righteousness to it despite everything being so bizarre. The cards that I pulled confirmed that everything had already been decided. The numbers I saw when looking at the kitchen clock were still synchronistic. Everything was in alignment although it felt unpleasant. The whole week it had been raining and snowing, the wind was howling constantly and it was pelting down as if resembling the pain and struggle we all were caught in.
Dr. Light arrived just after we finished eating that night. Lila heard her first and stood up one last time to bark and growl at her. Her barking sounded differently, more dense, probably due to the abscess that’s been forming in her throat. And while she was still growling she was already wagging her tail. Then the vet realized she had forgotten the actual medication to euthanize her. My dad and I both looked at each other aware of the possibility of that being a sign. Then she offered to sedate Lila first, then go and get the medicine and come back. It all made sense and we agreed.
I’m not sure if Lila knew what was about to happen. I obviously had told her many times throughout the day but at that state I wasn’t sure if she was still receiving my messages. I asked her to come out from under the table and she looked at me with scared eyes and her ears way back. I cried and begged until she surrendered to my will. She took a last leap to jump onto her former favorite armchair and curled up in a little ball. I kissed her forehead again and again as my tears melted with hers. I told her that she has nothing to fear and that I will be with her until the end. Then she got her first injection. She didn’t even flinch.
The vet left to get the actual medication that would put Lila to sleep and we were gifted some more time alone with her. The whole time I was holding her head in my right hand and stroking her with my left. She didn’t look at me. Slowly her eyes were getting tired and there was no resistance in her gaze. She slowly fell asleep. Breathing calmly and looking more peaceful than she had been in a long while. So we just sat there. Emil, my mum and dad and me. For thirty minutes nobody said a word. Maeve the cat had crawled up next to Lila, purring, looking as content as ever. We all cried without a sound. I knew this wasn’t about me. This was about her. And so I surrendered myself to support her experience with everything I had to offer and so did everybody else. At some point I started whispering to her, words I now can not recall. Then I sang a song I always used to sing for her. Thirty minutes felt like a timeless five. When Dr. Light came back Lila was already in deep sleep.
The vet inserted an IV through which she would get her overdose. Six syringes full of see-through liquid that would make her beautiful heart stop beating. I’m not sure if I saw it as poison or as a sacred gift, I guess again both thoughts were present at once. I never stopped holding her. My hands were holding her body and head and my forehead was touching hers as she was taking her last breath. And so she went. Silently, peacefully, effortlessly. Just like that.
Maeve didn’t notice until long after Lila had left her body. She continued stretching on her, licking her, purring, rubbing her belly onto Lilas back as if nothing had changed. When she started playing with Lilas inanimate tail, hugging it with her paws and slowly sliding head down off the armchair, we couldn’t help but laugh. It was so absurd. I knew Maeve was going to teach me a great lesson that day. I had been curious for how she would react when Lila would die. Lila was her bigger sister after all, the animal she grew up with and who she loved a lot. The lesson she ended up teaching me was the simultaneity of life and death. Lila didn’t go anywhere. She stayed right here. Not solely in her body but partly in mine, in the candle, in the room, in Maeve and in everyone that had known and loved her to death.
After she had passed and I was still holding her, I closed my eyes and felt a golden light knock on my heart’s door. It twisted and twirled around a black light and I only observed. I didn’t know what the black was but I could feel Lila in the golden light as present as ever. And I thought what ever the black was, I’m taking all of Lila into me if that’s what’s happening. I’m not afraid of the dark. And something went inside me as I gave my consent and my body responded with some shaking and a sigh. I could finally see her jumping freely again before my inner eye. Looking more like a spirit but still shaped as a dog, jumping like a deer, flying almost. She was everywhere. She still is.
I always knew that if Lila would one day die, I would get to see her spirit outside of mine and she could always tag along no matter what I would be up to. Even places where her physical body would have not been allowed. In a way I thought that would make things easier for both of us. In the week before her death I started seeing her asleep in this blue bubble. The way I interpreted it was that as her physical body was getting weaker, her astral body was gaining strength. I don’t know what I expected to happen after she would pass. When I looked inside again, the blue bubble was empty and Lila was gone. But at the same time she really didn’t go anywhere. She was everywhere. She still is.
After another long goodbye we wrapped her body in a white sheet and my mum and I carried her to her grave. The four of us went. Maeve must have been outside, too but I didn’t pay attention to her. We slowly eased her down and she still looked so adorable. Curled up and perfect as she had always been. My mum eventually asked me to cover her head so she doesn’t get so dirty which I thought was funny and I did. I slowly poured the dug out soil onto her body, covering more and more of her, using my hands as I was using them to help her cross over. It felt like my hands have changed as if they performed a miracle.
It was cold. Cold and dark, stormy and wild and untamed. We covered the grave, rested our hands on it and silently said our last goodbye. Standing around the grave in a circle, holding hands. The moment we released them to go inside, the church bells rang. It was 11 pm.
Today the weather has changed. For the first time since I’m back here you can see the mountains. The sky has cleared and the wind has calmed down. The sun came out. As if now resembling a sense of completion. That’s the feeling I get from Lila now. That everything is as it was always meant to be. She’s proud of me. And I am proud of her. She now lives in me and at the same time is free to roam where ever she pleases to be. Thank you Lila Chi. Forever with you. Forever with me.