Posted by: Betsy Devany | September 6, 2013

Love and Letting Go

SONY DSCThis past week I’ve had lessons in letting go.

I said goodbye to our beloved sheltie.

I said goodbye to one of our cats.

I let my YA novel leave my hands to allow it to become what the world needs it to be.

I let go.

I let go out of love.

Stories whisper to us when to step away, that we have done our job to the best of our ability.

Pets trust us to do what is humane when the time comes, to keep them from entering the place where suffering defines their existence.

It doesn’t make loss any easier.

And when you’ve spent hours revising and revising your work while being a pet caregiver, the related behaviors remain. Long after the heart accepts the loss.

I still automatically rise at 5 to check on the dog. I dismantle the alarm, then unlock the door to let him out.

Except he’s not here.

It’s all gone: His bowls, chew toys, squeaking squirrel. His dog beds, food, medicines. Shampoo, leashes. Pill organizers. His bark, the pitter-patter of his feet. The sound of him plopping beside me. His sigh.

His beautiful, beautiful face.

But not his collar, and his green alien boy, he loved so much.

Our one cat that remains hides beneath the kitchen table, curled in a chair pushed flush to the table. What must be going through her head?

Then I remember. We would not know loss if we never loved. And to love and be loved is a gift.

And so I feed the cat, and then settle on our porch to wait for the sun.

SONY DSCI notice my grandson’s blue hippo in our yard, which he sits on when there is nothing better to do than sit on one’s hippo and wonder at the world.

The cement step is cold against my thighs. A hummingbird whizzes over my head.

A hint of pink peers through our trees.

Another day begins.

I hear her spring to the floor, her red tag clink against her collar, and I know she is ready.

I am, too.

She meows through the screen, and I come inside. Walk down the hallway to my writing room.

I open the door.

I sit.

I open the YA document out of habit. I close it, and pat the place next to me.

Terrapin jumps up, nudges my hand.

I write.

I write out of love.

I write about a dog.


  1. So sorry for your loss, Betsy. Dogs are such amazing animals. They love us unconditionally, give us comfort and affection and bring joy to our lives. All just for a pat on the head. I know how you feel because I lost my beloved dog Hannah in May. I hope the writing heals you and I wish you all the best with your book!

    • Thanks so much, Jennifer.
      I am sorry to hear of Hannah’s passing.
      Dogs are the best.

  2. Beautiful, Betsy. So sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you for reaching out, Nancy. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. I think it is the sitting and settling, whether on a blue hippo or a cement step, that gives us the grace to carry on through the letting go. So sorry for your loss.

    • Love your beautiful words here, Cathy!
      In this day and age, we all must remember to embrace stillness.

  4. So sorry for your loss and pain–so much to let go of. Lovely thoughts.

    • Thank you, Mary.
      I know how much you love your furry friends.
      I appreciate your kindness.

  5. I’m so sorry Betsy. Both your dog and cat were fortunate to have such a loving home. And I’m sure they knew it.

    • Thank you. You are too sweet. We love our animals dearly.

  6. This is so touching and sad, Betsy. So sorry for your losses 😦 And I feel sorry for Terrapin. Her world changed dramatically, too 😦

    I can’t help but wonder if the recent time with you being the caregiver for your pets had seeped into your stories in some way. For sure, there’s nothing like writing from the heart.

    • Thank you for your kind words.
      There is nothing better than writing from the heart.

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