When my daughter was little we had a dog, a boxer, by the name of Lita. Lita loved life and she loved my daughter. They would go out the dog door at the same time, which was hilarious to watch. They played together, bounced on my daughter’s mini trampoline together and they slept together. Every night we would walk around the neighborhood, stop at the park, and Lita would chase her ball.
When Lita was two we went to the park on one such night to throw the ball. It was a large park and Lita had plenty of room to run and play. On this particular night she got a wild hair and did this crazy running in a huge circle. It was such fun to watch, she was so happy, but unfortunately this night she did this crazy wide loop and ran briefly into the street where she was hit by a car and killed.
I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelming this was for all of us. Lita was the light of our life and to lose her in this way was devastating. At first when tragedy strikes we often try to figure out why it had to happen and to find a way to make sense of it all. We often feel blame and guilt and wonder “if only” we had not gone to the park or let her off her leash, then maybe she would still be here with us.
My daughter is a pretty enlightened soul. Even at the age of five she knew this was just the way it happened. For her, there was no blame, just sadness for losing her best friend. We would often talk about Lita in the passing days, talk about what she brought to our lives, what we were thankful for, and about all the blessings we had due to having the experience of such love and companionship.
On one such day my daughter turned to me and said, “ya know mom, Lita was living in her joy! She wouldn’t have wanted anything different because she was just in her happiness running around like that.” I thought about it and I had to come to the same conclusion. Lita was happy. Lita was at the height of her happiness in that moment when she was hit. She was running around like she was crazy because she was experiencing pure joy.
We often think about Lita as time goes by. If we get caught up in something or start feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, we often remind each other of Lita’s message. She was a gift to our lives. She was the light, personified in our lives, that is always there for us. She was an example for us of how we should be. She was playful, loyal, loving, unconditional and so much more. She was living in her joy, hoping beyond hope that by doing this, we too would live in our joy.