This past week we had to say “goodbye” to our beloved bichon-friese’ poodle, Marie.  I know something of the training that goes into becoming a veterinarian, but what goes into the heart of a veterinarian, only God knows.

Our “vet” helped us to understand that the time had come.  My husband’s hand was on her as I hummed to her and our veterinarian led her into the deep sleep,  “Sleep, dearie, sleep.” 

 The three of us had been our own little family for twelve years, but Marie was beloved of our entire family and friends who also miss her presence in our lives.

Grief is the price we pay for love.  During the holidays, most of us pay this price in one way or another.  That is why we light lights and candles and trim festive trees and eat special foods and sing special songs—to remember that we are not alone and that we do life  best together.  Those of us who share faith remind each other that this life is a short stop on the way to eternity and the home from which we came and to which we will return.

This is the time of year to draw close to our fellow human travelers.  It is the time to forget old grudges and to tie a knot on divisions so that we can move forward to the love that we learn from our pets—unconditional.  It is indeed better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  What else is there?