This collage is a celebration of the life that Teddy and I spent together, as well as an honoring of his passing and acknowledgement of the many blessings and lessons that continue to unfold from sharing my life with him.
The pictures show what a member of the family he was—he is seen with both of the boys, with my parents, with Dave, with me, and on his own. It felt right to put images joined with words of me holding Teddy next to pictures of me and Dave—they are my two loves and I am lucky to have shared my life thus far with both of them. There are also scraps of bandanas pasted in—he would come home wearing them after being groomed—he’s wearing the same blue one in the pic with his dog tag.
The pastel drawing in the middle of the collage is something I drew about 3 weeks before his passing when he was bleeding from a wound he had scratched open and I just wanted to take care of him, but there wasn’t much I could do. It depicts me, with my coursing life force energy and body of compassion encircling him with love, care, concern, attention, compassion. In the end, I couldn’t save him—he was old and his death came inevitably, but this drawing attempts to show how much I wanted to give him the care and love that I could, to save him from suffering.
His passing has opened up new spaces for me—open, unknown space—time that in the past I spent taking care of him. The unknown, fertile darkness.
- Questions. What is becoming ready to be born from this loss? Life force—what life force expression will now be freer to express, to experience?
- New Type Seven Energy. Possibility, newness, options, freedom, choice, freedom to explore, to express, to experience. A lightness, a joy ready to arise.
- Freedom from responsibility to Teddy. I loved him—I wanted to care for him and I felt constrained, restricted. Compassion, growth, newness, unknowness.
- More Time. Now more attention can be turned inward to my experience, to the newness, the unknown that wants to arise in me—allowing that.
- Owning more of myself. His warm, alive, soft, sweet body and spirit are gone. His earthly form, his physical shape of love. His embodiment of my inner child—happy, free, alive in the moment, awake, joyful, fresh.
It’s my turn now—to live my life, to embody and be this life force energy. Teddy isn’t here to live it for me. My turn to step up to the plate, to experience joy, freedom, to be alive!
One morning after his death, I sat on my little couch and cried and prayed this metta prayer:
May you be held in compassion
May your pain and sorrow be eased
May you be free
I told Teddy that we’d done our best to help him, and that now I would turn this metta toward myself, that he didn’t need to hang around and help me learn compassion and ease. I wanted him to be free…I promised I would reach out for support to Dave and friends, that I would miss him, but I’d be OK. I told him he’s welcome to stay around, but he doesn’t need to in order to help me. I want him to be free.
It’s time to take care of myself the way I took care of Teddy—with love, with compassion, with understanding, with kindness and gentleness and softness, without judgment. Time to turn the loving Two gaze of concern to myself. Teddy—the guardian of my Being—I need to be my own guardian of Being now and to take his lead to remember how. Tolle says: “Love is a deep empathy with the other’s Beingness.” We recognize our Being in the Being of another. We love the Creator through the creature. This was certainly true with Teddy Bear. Time to nurture and take care of my physical body, my needs, to own the body awareness and practices that I am doing as part of who I am… Now I have time.
Ways that I will take on the guardianship of my own Being that I learned from Teddy Bear—I will:
- Allow my needs to guide me
- Stroke, touch, massage myself
- Do body inquiry
As Rumi so beautifully penned, I feel grateful for Teddy Bear’s presence in my life, that “Together, we talk and laugh, incredulous, That we are so lucky as to be alive, At the same time, you and I.” And I miss his physical presence terribly, as Merwin says: “Your absence has gone through me, Like thread through a needle, Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
8 thoughts on “Teddy Bear: In Memoriam”
I’m so sorry for your loss.
What a wonderful way to capture and remember him through your beautiful collage.
Katy … Wonderful … what a beautiful way to channel the sorrow and grief work. This creation is such a gift of honor for Teddy. I love the circular pattern of the images around the central painting and the representations of the many roles he’s played in your family. We can learn so much from our pets. Continue taking very good care of you, just as you did Teddy. Rae
My heart reaches to your heart in your loss. Oh, what a journey grief is for us… possibly the most transformative possible and I appreciate the intention you are bringing to it.
So sorry for your lost. As I’m an old dog owner, I’ve been dreading about the day when my little boy has to leave. But reading your post, I learn that death is inevitable but the love we have for each other (both humans and animals) will help us to go through the pain. Thank you for sharing such loving post.
what a beautiful tribute.
what a wonderful way to celebrate teddy’s life. i admire the way you’re looking to find growth in the experience.
sending hugs your way as you grieve. xo
Wow, this was so beautiful and reminded me lots of my own feelings after my Casey dog died. She’d been with me 17 years. http://beesbloomblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/signs.html
I love your compassion and writing and thoughts on all this. They really spoke to me and helped me.
Love your quote choices.
What a moving, honest, true post.
Love your collage.
You and Teddy were so lucky to have each other.