Hi friend. How are you doing? Have you asked yourself, lately? Can you name 3 “feeling words” to describe how you feel in this moment?
This is an exercise I’ve been doing myself, and with Christian, the last few weeks.
Many of you may have heard through one of my social media posts that my dear pup and best friend, Kristen, passed away earlier this month.
I know some people are “pet people” and some people aren’t, but Kristen wasn’t just a pet to me; in many ways she was a soul mate.
She came into my life during a very tough time for me emotionally and mentally, when I felt so lost.
Even though I was never a “pet person,” and it was Christian who begged me to let us rescue a dog, she and I immediately became one.
I can’t really express how much she meant to me in words (and it is not particularly important that I do so here) but I did want to share her passing with you because I’ve referenced her quite a few times in emails and online content in the past.
Even if I can’t verbally express my love for Kristen, I can feel it and share some of the many lessons she taught me.
Really, she gave me access to myself. Yes‚ she showed me the meaning of true, unconditional love. She also showed me how to be present, self-compassionate, and even human.
The truth is, almost every Brain Food I’ve ever sent has been inspired by wisdom gained through my relationship with Kristen.
Many of you have been with me from the beginning. Those early days on YouTube, and I know you’ve seen my evolution, not only in content and my relationship with food and health, but in my growth as a person.
I can’t thank her enough for that.
The last few weeks have been heavy and hard. Any human who ever loves will experience grief and grieving at some point; those of you who have also know about the “waves” that come and go (although never soon enough).
I am still learning her lessons every day, feeling them even as I witness my response to her passing.
I miss her so much, but I am also filled with gratitude and abundance, rather than feeling scarcity, which used to consume me before Kristen.
The weekend it happened, I knew we needed to take time off. So Christian and I took the next week away from work to be together and feel the feels. We set boundaries, allowed for self-care, and tuned into our emotions—all things I could not do before Kristen.
Upon returning to work the next week, we didn’t tell ourselves to “be done with it”—we acknowledged the need to be patient with ourselves, to be present with our needs, and to be flexible to accommodate whatever comes up—without judgment—all things I could not do before Kristen.
The first week we got her, she ended up in the hospital with a liver disease diagnosis. The vets said she’d last 6 months.
She was only 6 when she passed (which was actually from a random tumor, not the liver disease), but we ended up getting 4 life-changing years with her.
Unlike most people, who (I suspect) aren’t thinking about their dogs dying every day (because they don’t have to),
I did have to, and so I was.
I woke up every day knowing she could be gone, and so when she came and “bugged me” during work, I’d stop working and play.
When she took up all the space in my bed and I was hanging off uncomfortably without any covers, I let myself love those moments and cuddle up with her to get warm. Because of her liver disease, she gave me the experience of living and loving fully with her, without any regrets.
What she truly demonstrated every day of her life was her resilience and strength to heal. So, while not having her here is hard, I know she taught me every lesson I’ll ever need to get through this, and more.
Being human is hard, period. We never become capable of controlling all the things we want to—but we can learn to respond skillfully and with peace. When we do, things feel bad less often, and good more often.
Kristen taught me to be present enough to respond, and to show up authentically every day.
The funny thing is, I still don’t consider myself a “dog person,”—I’m a “Kristen person”. But I’m open-minded enough for this to change 🙂
Thanks for hearing me and for letting me share my grief and growth with you.
We’re going to get a memorial video together to share with you all soon. We’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled emails!
Light and love,