My friend, Crystal, has had to deal with the sudden loss of a furry family member, and imagining the pain of that has me hugging mine just a bit closer. Having furries in the family adds such joy and love, but the price we pay for that can be quite steep. In the end we are left bereft perhaps wondering what it was all for, and if it was worth it. Frankie’s life was cut way too short, and I am certain that flavors Crystals’ loss with a difficult bitterness.

Frankie - a very much loved furry.

Frankie – a very much loved furry.

It is human to wonder “why?” with every loss, and lots of ways to answer that. I choose to answer it by asking myself what I received. With a life cut short, was the gift of this life to remind us all of how fleeting time is, how quickly it passes even when lived longer, or was the gift he left my friend even more personal. Perhaps he taught her forgiveness, to stop and smell the roses, or something we cannot even imagine.

I have three furries;  JingleBelle, Stumpy and Pippi. JingleBelle is a Persian cat, and was a gift from my husband. She is a lifelong dream, but little did I know that she would be the teacher of the gift of sacrifice and commitment. I am learning about aging from her, and as I sit and hand feed her three times per day she is teaching me about the “in sickness and in health” part of any loving relationship. As I strongly encourage her to walk about, and climb the stairs, I know that there is nothing more important than helping a loved one. As aging takes away it also gives us a quiet that only comes when you sit still and exist in the precious moments.

JingleBelle waiting for a meal.

JingleBelle waiting for a meal.

Stumpy is giving me courage to love, and to show it unabashedly. Without fear and embarrassment he just gives it all up in every moment I am with him. He is not needy, just loves with a heart so full that it runs over. He cries with it, pushes it on me and gives until he is quite exhausted. If we could all have such devotion and such joy in love, and show it like he does. I try to be more open, have my heart wide open and ready to give and receive love and good feelings. I credit my Stumpy for showing me what that feels like and how strong it makes you feel. Aren’t we so often conditioned to think love is a weakness? But it’s not, it’s a gift, that once given creates a force stronger than any other.

Stumpy giving love.

Stumpy giving love.

And then there is my Pippi. My partner, my barometer of self. So often we hide our feelings so well that we don’t even know ourselves how we are actually doing. And then we overreact and wonder where all that came from. Pippi shows me quite clearly by throwing my feelings back at me, and becoming what I am secretly feeling deep inside. It’s a “this is what you look like” moment, and helps me connect to my authentic self and process. By the time I leave the barn I am centered and emotionally honest.  I am not inherently a brave person, and neither is Pippi, so together we are learning from each other by trying to be brave for the other. The partnership we have is magic. Two reactive beings, learning and forming an odd herd of two.

Pippi - my emotional mirror.

Pippi – my emotional mirror.

I don’t know what Crystal received from Frankie, but I know that his life spoke to me. He made me stop and take a closer look at what I am receiving from the furries in my life, and to not take a moment for granted. Most Equestrians are lovers of furries, and their passing can be very tough. But we know that the gifts we receive are so much more than the emotional price we pay. I hope that what Frankie started in my heart, resonates with others who receive from their furries. Thank you Frankie – you were loved.