I haven’t composted this yet

When I teach storytelling for performance, one of the core guiding principles I share is that you must process the emotions of the events of your stories before you share them publicly.

You don’t want your audience to be in a position to worry about you or take care of you while you are on stage.

I call it composting your stories.

If you tell your story and it still brings tears, you must compost it a little longer, keep turning over the events, and process your emotions until you get to the rich soil of your story and are in command of it.

But today, I’m breaking that rule.

In part because my writing to you every week isn’t a performance. I consider you to be a part of my world.

And also, I’m deeply grieving and can’t fake my way around it.

There are tears as I write this.

Yesterday, Tori, my constant companion for the last ten years, went into heart failure. I have been working with a veterinarian cardiologist since February. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know when.

She took a terrible turn Tuesday night, and yesterday morning with the guidance of the emergency room vet,  I chose to end her suffering; I’m now experiencing a kind of heartbreak I’ve never felt before.

Damn, I loved that dog more than anyone or anything I’ve ever known.

She taught me how to love and show up daily, moment to moment. She taught me how to be in a relationship.

I’m grateful for the time I had with her, but for now, I’m letting myself grieve the loss of walking her every day, cuddling at night, playing with her first thing in the morning, telling her all of my secrets, and having another soul in my home.

I’m sharing this with you because, in my grief, there have been flashes of an old story coming up. The one that says, “I’m alone, I will always be alone, I have to do life alone.”

It’s absolutely not true, but an old pattern of mine is to withdraw in my pain, grief, shame, or embarrassment. And that withdrawal feeds the story.

Isolation feeds the story.

So, I’m doing everything I can to connect instead.

You, dear reader, are part of that connection. Part of helping me continue to rewrite that story.

If we love deeply, grief will happen to all of us.

It is a universal feeling.

If you have lost a love, you know my pain. And now I know better about yours.

Thank you for letting me share my story of loss with you,