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Monday, October 17, 2011

Loss as A Catalyst for Growth and Enlightenment

"For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one"  -Khalil Gibran
Ahhh. The blog post I've been dreading but know that it has to happen.  This is about my perspective on love and loss, on the inevitable... which we will all experience. 

My first experience with loss happened when I was twelve years old.  I was an animal crazy kid who had a furry best friend named Duke.  Anyone that knows me, knows I really love and connect with my dogs.  Duke and I were best friends.  In the spring during high water of the creek I was playing fetch with Duke and threw a stick in the water for him.  A current  violently grabbed him and took him downstream and he got sucked underneath a dam and drowned.  I was helpless to do anything and it happened so fast that there was nothing I could have done.  Duke hit his head underneath the dam and drowned.  When the water lowered later that year we found his body and buried him.

There are no words to describe how horrible I felt as a child, feeling so guilty for the death of my beloved friend.  I feel like God used this experience to prepare me for what was to come in my life.

I'm not going to go into too much detail, but when I was 18 I lost my boyfriend in a freak truck rollover accident in the mountains.  I was riding my horse behind the truck and found him dead.  I was miles out in the middle of nowhere and found a man camping in the woods who brought me to a camp to call 911.  Me and this complete stranger waited 8 hours for help to arrive.  After that day began the hell on earth that we all know as grief.  Anyone who has experienced it knows it is the most draining, terrible, horrific thing you can go through. 

But this isn't a story about sadness and negativity.  This is a story about hope.  On the day of the funeral, it poured down rain. And after that the clouds opened up and there were beautiful rainbows in the sky.  I looked up to the sky in my oilskin duster, and despite having just buried someone I loved, I knew that  a rainbow was a promise from God.  It was a visual reminder of hope for me.  I knew my life would change, but one day I would understand the Plan. 

A few weeks after the funeral, I went to church and I felt like the  pastor spoke right to me.  He said we all start out as a block of wood.  The hard times are like sandpaper, that are shaping us to be who we are.  In the end we become God's beautiful carving. I held on to that thought- that my adversity was shaping me.  I tried to read books on grieving and I hated them.  So I started reading self help and inspirational books.  I filled my mind with stories of hope and success and love.  I got a new puppy named Gus, who helped teach me how to love something again.  I set a goal for myself to be Miss Rodeo Montana.  I started a degree in Natural Horsemanship and decided I was going to be a horse trainer.  I let a new boyfriend into my heart.  I gained perspective on life and decided to live my dream.

These things never would have happened without the loss I endured.  I am certain you can choose how you let loss affect you.  It can either debilitate and crush you, or it can be a catalyst for growth and enlightenment.  I am blessed with my experiences because I APPRECIATE OTHERS IN MY LIFE DEEPLY.... I KNOW THAT WHAT WE LOVE CAN BE GONE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.... I AM MORE SPIRITUAL AND HAVE FAITH IN WHAT IS TO COME AFTER I DIE.... I REALIZED IF I CAN GET THROUGH THIS, I CAN DO ANYTHING.

Life is not always fuzzy and cute and perfect.  Sometimes it sucks. But I can promise you this.  You can heal your heart.  It may take awhile, but our souls are very resilient. And know that if you have had loss in your life, all it takes is the decision to move on and live and love fully,  and you will live a life you never before could have dreamed of.  And I believe with all of my heart I will see Duke and Dusty again.


  1. Very well put Miss Lesli. Thank you.

  2. I will attempt to gleen your strength and wisdom, my Amazing little girl all grown up into a beautiful young woman.