Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.― Voltaire
Two of our friends died suddenly and tragically on Mother’s Day. It has been a shock to everyone who knew them. They left behind countless friends and family, and their beloved rescued canine companion.
We are all mourning in our own way. We are all feeling the effects of this tragedy differently; some inwardly and some outwardly. My grief comes and goes in waves. My husband on the other hand, shares it all, bares it all, and makes no apologies or excuse for what he’s feeling. He laughs when he needs to, and cries when he’s moved.
He is the one who brought something to light for me during all of this.
We had both been gone when we heard the horrible news. When we returned home we went out for a bite to eat, to get some perspective and discuss the details of what we knew about the tragedy. Something he said at dinner resonated with me, and keeps coming back into my awareness: “You know, when I first heard the news, all I could think was NO NO NO NO NO that’s impossible. Then my mind quickly switched to feeling an overwhelming sadness at the fact that I can never tell him all of the things I want to tell him. All of the things I should have said. I have so much I want to tell him.”
That hit me hard. My husband was right. That chance is gone. Game over. They are both gone.
You may be wondering, Why are you sharing this with me? How does this have to do with our companion animals?
I am sharing this with you because life is precious, and the ones we love could be gone in an instant.
Life is dear and too short to put off sharing our thoughts, feelings, and gratitude for the ones we love, the ones that make us laugh, and even the ones that push our buttons. This includes the animals we have in our lives; the ones we care for at a facility, shelter, or in our home.
Those annoying behaviors or frustrating personality traits (whether friend, family, or pet) instantly disappear when their life is extinguished. All we see is their beauty and their light. All we remember is the best of them.
So why aren’t we seeing the best in the animals and people we love that are still alive?
It’s easy to complain or become annoyed with the people we love, the family and friends that drive us nuts, and the coworkers that we could do without. But understand this: no matter who they are, or what they represent to you, they are in your life for a reason, and their presence matters. The animals that we care for at home or work are in our life are also there for a reason. Even when they make things more difficult or frustrating at times, they still add value to our lives. Look for that value. Look for a reason, for each of them. I promise you, if you look hard enough, you’ll see their value and their individual worth.
Every soul in our lives is a gift. They are either a teacher, a mentor, or someone you are teaching and mentoring. Every person, animal, and circumstance in our lives can be a great teacher. There are countless lessons to be learned by all of them.
I am grateful beyond words for every teacher in my life. Many of them came in forms that I would not have chosen, but lessons were learned because of them. Two of my animal companions are currently teaching me lessons that I would rather not learn at the moment, but I have to remind myself to thank them for being in my life. Their presence is invaluable.
Who we love, and who we care about need to hear it. Every day. Tell the ones you love how much you appreciate them, how much you value their presence in your life, and how their life has affected yours. Look past those annoying traits, and the buttons they seem to push in you. Laugh at it. Blow it off. See them for who they really are. Look beyond the surface to see the best in them.
Appreciate them. Thank them. Spend time with them. Shower them with love. Tell them how you feel, even if it’s a tough truth to be told; be humbly and graciously honest. Be kind.
That’s love. That’s living life to the fullest. That’s how we make life meaningful. That’s how life becomes a miracle. Don’t wait. Show them, and tell them now.
At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets. ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free