Missing Emma


Two friends of mine said goodbye to
their 16-year-old dog last week.

Emma, a golden lab, arrived sometime
after Kevin and Sue met but before they married. She shed blond hair
the way the sun shines: prolifically and without pause. She was the
most stubborn dog in Ontario, if not all of Canada. Three weeks
before her exit, she was still bashing her head into any closed door
that she wanted open, and she wanted all closed doors open.

She was a beloved friend and family
member, something that non-animal people sometimes find hard to
understand and animal people understand fully.

Rosie, my dog, and I joined Kevin and Sue
and Sophie (Emma’s little sister) at the cottage this weekend.
Everywhere you look, Emma looks back. Her hair is everywhere,
naturally. She was a voracious morning eater. Crazy lab, used to
drive us mad. Now, early morning feels empty. Someone should be tearing through a huge bowl of kibble at the speed of sound.

Sophie is lonely, and knows something
has changed. Even Rosie gets up every morning and sniffs her way
around the beach, looking for Emma.

If you’ve been through it, you know
this story.

We spent long, dusky evenings over good
meals and wine, talking about how wonderful she was, and how hard it
is to believe she’s gone from here.

And twice a day, we rolled out yoga
mats and flung our bodies and hearts into vigorous practice. It was
the best answer, ever, to grief.

We worked hard, we chanted with full
voices, we sank during Savasana into everything there was to feel.

You know how it is with yoga. You move
your beautiful body and all kinds of feelings move through your body.
Some you’re expecting, some you’re not. It’s wonderful to be
with people you love so that the unexpected feelings can have their
say without embarrassment or regret.

This week I’m grateful for yoga’s
power to help us move through grief.

And I’ll bet you have gazillions of
stories on this one. I’d love to hear.

Thanks to yoga for being a part of
celebrating Emma’s fine, fine life. Thanks to you for being here,
and for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the
and on

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