Sunsets, Suffering, and Finding Peace

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Why is it that every time I write about life’s suffering, I’m thinking about my dog? I adopted Tasha-dog eleven years ago this week. I was missing something in my life, though I wasn’t sure what, exactly.  I had a lovely husband, a fulfilling career, four (yes four!) cats, and lots of friends.

But I was still lonely. I had been pining for a German shepherd for approximately thirty years, since my family rehomed the German shepherd of my childhood. My visions of Tasha were laughable, in hindsight.  Perfectly behaved, she’s not. Healthy, she’s not. Cat loving…well, let’s not even go there. She was everything I thought I didn’t want, but ended up being exactly what I needed, and more.

She is the biggest source of joy in my life.

And the source of my most debilitating anxiety.

The other night, I was thinking about how many times Marc and I have almost lost her, due to the many diseases she’s had to live with or overcome.  Her imminent death has been predicted countless times, by vets I usually ended up firing.

But now that she’s eleven years old in a breed whose average lifespan is ten to twelve, even I have to admit, she’s approaching the sunset time of her life.  In the past three weeks, she’s been plagued by a neurological issue of unknown origin.  It may resolve; it may not. It may stay the same as it is now, or it may decline until we have no choice but to end her suffering.  We continue to do tests, but as of this writing, all is one big unknown.

Oddly enough, the most challenging part of this for me is that her neurological status cycles, and my mental health seems to cycle with it.  One day she seems better, the next worse. One day I’m optimistic and happy, the next, devastated.

The Yoga Sutras clearly predict my suffering. You see, I’m attached to this girl. I hesitate to say she’s like my child, because that’s not how I think of her.  But she is as important to me as any living being has ever been.  And I will inevitably have to say goodbye. I knew that the day I adopted her.  As crazy as it seems, I signed up for this.

My work now, as Tasha and I walk down this sunset path together, is to not be attached to the good days, because the good days won’t last forever.  If I can somehow learn to be present without gripping the good, perhaps I’ll have more peace during the inevitable challenges.

Then again, maybe I won’t.

Maybe grief is simply part of life’s process. Another obstacle to overcome that helps us appreciate the blessings of life while we have them.

Regardless, the Sutras say that meditation helps overcome suffering, so it’s time for me to reignite my practice.  If you care to join me, this is one of my favorites.

If you’re willing, please send Tasha happiness, her doctors wisdom, and me peace.


Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

16 thoughts on “Sunsets, Suffering, and Finding Peace

  1. LaTrecia Chancey

    Hey Tracy I feel for you so much. I know the path too well. I will continue praying for Tasha dog. I know how much that beautiful girl means to you. You have blessed her life so much as she has made yours richer and fuller. You know you can txt, call or message me ANYTIME

  2. LaTrecia Chancey

    sorry I sent too early. If you need me day or night, I will be here. You know I understand between Dixie Girl, and Sable I understand what you are going thru. I know we have never met face to face, but I consider you my friend. Hugs and prayers for you, Tasha and Marc.

    I can message you my number if you want it. Just let me know

    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you, LaTrecia. I think of you as a friend, too. No need to send me your number now, but I will definitely ask for it later. I’m so pleased we’ve gotten to know each other.

  3. Robyn K

    I hope you find peace and the doctors figure out what’s going on with Tasha and she lives a healthy long life. You’re a wonderful person and all you do for Tasha. You and Tasha are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending positive thoughts to you and Tasha. <3

  4. Pingback: Sunsets, Suffering, and Finding Peace » Hot Yoga Blog

  5. Marni Wilson

    Even though I have never met Tasha I feel like I know her. I wish her the least amount of suffering. It is very hard not to be attached. I know the yoga sutra’s are there to help but it is a challenge to not love so hard. I hope that the sunset part of her life is as peaceful as it can be. Sending healing energy your way!

    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thank you, Marni. I think suffering may be the price we pay for loving fully and unconditionally. But it’s worth it.

  6. Terri Crossley

    I am praying that you will find peace and that Tasha will come through this. I pray her vets find a cure for her ailments. If none of the above happen I wish you peace!

  7. dvorah kost

    Tracy, thank you for this very beautiful and heart felt reflection. I open in empathy to you, and pray for you and Tasha to move through this time with open-hearted, grounded and enlightened grace.

  8. Jeanie Jackson

    That attachment and love is what keeps us going after the pain has passed. So grab them while you can. We know when we adopt a dog that the life span is painfully short, but you have given her as beautiful life as she could have and she would not trade one minute with your for anything. Yes, the pain will come but hold to what you have as tight as possible. We rode the roller coaster with our schnoodle for six months, but the only time I regret is the last few days before we realized that his pain was really bad and not going to get better. Letting him go was tough, but until then he would not have given up a minute with us and celebrated even the tough days (except for getting snarly with the little ones. Dogs younger than him should not be allowed in the house until he had then well trained.) Live what you have, love every minute and face the hard part when it comes, not today.

  9. Kristen Nelson

    I don’t know what it is with 2015 and people losing or going through great hardships with their beloved canine friends. I could tell you countless love stories of dog owners losing their most faithful and enduring friend and the void it leaves them, when they are gone. Having a bond with any animal is magical and life changing. Those nonhuman animals make us better people. Your time with Tasha is a gift-but she will always be with you. Remember that.

    1. Whole Life Yoga Post author

      Thanks, Kristen. Part of me hopes she ISN’T with me after she goes. I want her off doing fun things and having the time of her, well, life. 😉 One I pass, then she can come back and pick me up.


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