indy's love song

can you mend a broken heart?

· rescue,transformation,healing,second chances,grief

I told a story about untimely loss of my puppy, Indy, in my first book There’s Got to Be a Better Way: An Overachiever’s Guide to Discovering Joy.

But I didn’t tell the whole story.

With our dear Indy gone, Rafe asked me to consider the possibility of welcoming a new companion to our family, whenever I was ready. I sat at home with our six-year-old Ruby and realized, while I might learn to be okay without a second dog, she needed one. He was the yang to her yin.

What is the right time? Is there such a thing?

Committed to staying open to love, I made a call, and Ruby and I took an adventure back out to Fillmore to visit our friends at Dobies and Little Paws Rescue. On the drive, a dog-loving colleague of mine called me to offer her condolences. “Indy will send you a message,” she told me with an intuitive confidence I needed to believe, and minutes later I heard a song that if Indy could have dedicated to me, he would have. Of course, it was a love song by Ed Sheeran called “Tenerife Sea.”

And should this be the last thing I see
I want you to know it's enough for me
'Cause all that you are is all that I'll ever need

I'm so in love, so in love
So in love, so in love

I heard this song while Ruby, our other dog, and I were on our way to the Doberman rescue where we met and adopted a new dog-friend who looked like Indy but did not, and who stealthily licked my elbow like I never thought would happen again after Indy was gone but he did. In a moment of darkness, this new dog gave me a peek of sunshine.

Bringing home a new dog was neither a cure for grief nor a way to fill the Indy sized hole in my heart. We had lost so much love when Indy died so suddenly and all that love had to go somewhere.

Somewhere was a dog we named Zuma - the Chumash word for abundance.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go ‘round?- Al Green, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

I don’t believe you can mend a broken heart.

I think you learn to live with the brokenness.

Healing a broken heart is like the transformation of sea glass. Sharp, rough edges soften with time. The sharp edges soften don’t hurt you in the same way. The glass, the grief, becomes something entirely different, changed. It’s easier to hold without hurting. If you step on a shard of a beer bottle at the beach, you’ll likely suffer a deep cut. The same shard of glass years later becomes a treasure.

I took my broken heart with me and cried seas of tears for my lost love while getting to know and love Zuma. What choice did I have other than to keep living?

Indy died on Tuesday. We brought Zuma home on Thursday, and Friday we packed up our truck and took Zuma and Ruby out to our ranch for the weekend.

Our ranch was the best place to heal. Being surrounded with the heartbeat of the herd was a soothing balm for my grief.

Indy and Ruby loved the ranch and their time together. These two rescued souls ran free among all the ones who had a new home with us and were having the time of their lives.

On quiet mornings before the horses had to be fed, we’d hike with the dogs and our kids among the horses in the acres of oak trees in the hilly back pasture. The dogs would run like city dogs never get to do, up and down the hills.

broken image

Ruby, Indy and the Pery kids at Wrong Turn Ranch in Santa Ynez 2014

"I felt like Indy was with us as we were walking through the doorway last night. Did you feel him?" Rafe whispered when he saw me stirring. "It felt like he was waiting at the door like he did when he ran back to the house after hiking the pastures."

I wished I felt him too but I didn't. I wanted to turn back the week and have him still with me. If I could feel him maybe I wouldn’t feel like my heart had been ripped from my chest, beating outside of me raw and exposed. I was desperate for the comfort of him.

I whispered back and told him about the song I heard after my friend Jeanne told me I’d receive a message from Indy. It seemed too weird and coincidental, but it really was perfect. For one breath, I wasn’t aching from the loss.

But the song was just a song. It wasn’t Indy.

It was a really sweet song, though, and one I’d never heard before so whenever I’d hear it in the future, I’d know it as Indy’s song. But still, it was only a song - certainly not a message from beyond.

I had set my phone down on the bed between us. I’d been online before Rafe woke up, but closed all my apps when we started talking.

A moment later, without either of us touching the device, my iPhone lit up and started playing the same song again...

And should this be the last thing I see
I want you to know it's enough for me
'Cause all that you are is all that I'll ever need

I'm so in love, so in love
So in love, so in love


…Indy’s love song.