June 5, 2013

The Day My Dog Died. ~ Ben Ralston

Jai as a puppy near the spot where, just 6 yrs later, he would be buried.

He loved me more than I loved him.

Although it hurts so much to admit it, he had more love in his whiskers than I have in my entire body. I’m a beginner at love—he, a master.

He barely left my side for 6 years. His name, when he found me, was Ben. And he is the most loyal, gentle, playful soul.

The day he died my whole life changed. A process began on that day—a process of remembering, and healing, and returning to health.

That was his gift to me. He loved me enough to gift me his death. Such beauty is what all of life is about.

Even after all this time,
the sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.


I dug a deep hole in the clinging clay-filled earth, by the young cherry tree. I wept as I dug, and I repeated:

Jai, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Please forgive me…

But I instantly felt his forgiveness rain down on and through me, like the first glass of water after a long smoky night.

There is nothing to forgive“, he said, “because I understand.”

And I thanked him.

Thank you, thank you.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

And when the hole was deep I lifted his empty, rigid body into it. And I put one of his sticks in, and his blanket, and I wept like I’ve never wept before. I wept all of my grief and despair and loneliness out, and much of the grief and despair and loneliness of my ancestors.

Then I thanked him again, said goodbye and covered his body with earth and rocks.

I built a fire on that place and it burnt for a week without going out, even in the snow and the rain.

Each morning I came down and blew life into it, and each evening.

And finally, after a week, it went out.

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