Those of you who follow me on Facebook are well aware of my “Conversations with Raika”. For those who do not follow me there, the gist of the matter is that Raika and I have been talking to each other for a long time, following her transition from competition dog to a retired and much loved companion. Our conversations spanned about five years, included hundreds of entries, and persisted until the point where I made the decision to let her go. Because my blog is primarily about dog training, I have only posted one of our conversations here. It is titled “Molecular Redistribution.” You can read it at the following link:
It should come as no surprise to those of you who have followed our FaceBook conversations that Raika would get the last word. Of course she did.
Her final conversation with me follows. If you are not familiar with the molecular redistribution post referenced above, I would suggest you read it first.
Here are Raika’s final words to me:
Raika: Mom, mom? Can you hear me? Mom, there are many things I’d like to tell you, but I don’t have much time so I’ll get to the important part right away.
I was wrong about molecular distribution. I was right about how it works, but I was wrong about saying where the molecules should go. The fact is, the decision is made by committee and not by me. By committee! And we all know how things can go wrong when a committee gets involved – too many cooks in the kitchen! So of course I put in my appeal right away.
Today my appeal was heard. The judge was not on my side. He started out a very grumpy guy; a total rule follower! But I was not about to give up, so I told him all about our situation. I explained how I had promised that most of my molecules should go directly to you, because I was sure you were going to need them. I told him that you were counting on me. Well you know me, I can be absolutely charming when I need to and I was! It took a bit of doing, but I wore him down. Soon he was throwing my ball and sharing his sandwich – and then we got down to business.
Mom, after haggling back and forth and making my case, we made arrangements. We went through all of the molecules one at a time. There were paper shredding molecules, determined molecules, optimistic molecules, cheerful molecules, joyous molecules, kind molecules, and working molecules. There were molecules for energy! Molecules for health and strength and beauty! We assigned them all; gave them away like candy all over the world to dogs and people who might need them and who were trying to do better – ready to see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart.
And while we were rolling along and the judge was smiling and cooperating, I asked that we hold back a sizable chunk of molecules, evenly balanced between my best and worst traits, for whatever puppy might show up for you to love next. Those molecules will remain here, ready and waiting, until your next puppy goes through molecular distribution day.
Unfortunately, there was a bit of a problem when I brought up the quiet molecules for Brito. In short, no one thinks there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that I can give him enough to make a difference so there’s your heads up. Sorry but I did try.
Even after giving so many away, it was obvious that there would be plenty of molecules left over for you. They will be lodged directly in your heart, with just a small hole remaining to let the grief flow out. That’s important because we don’t want it bottled up inside.
Mom? Know that I love you so much! And you’re going to be okay! You’re going to have lots of molecules, and they even agreed to rush delivery so I’d expect them to start arriving in a day or two. Just remember that all of our conversations and walks, every minute we spent together? That’s who we are. We are team Raika! We will always be a team, but now it will be in your heart and your memories and that will be forever.
So now – here’s the part I dread telling you. There was a cost. In exchange for having a say about where my molecules would go, I had to agree to give up talking to you forever. I offered up everything else I could think of; take away my duck and cherry treats, my swimming pool, my wastepaper basket for shredding. Take away my walks and my games of fetch and tug. Take it all! But they held firm. Stop talking or no deal.
Mom, this is the most painful thing I’ve ever had to do. And because I have loved you as much as you have loved me, I have listened.
I remembered those molecules I promised you. The ones we talked about a few years ago. I did not forget, because I knew you would need them more than I could possibly imagine.
I cannot think about tomorrow but today, because I love you the most that I have ever loved you, now I let you go.
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Tears are streaming… I hope that I’ve been blessed enough to receive molecular distribution over the years from my amazing
Thank you for this closure. It’s a lovely and peaceful end to an wonderful journey that has made me laugh, cry, and taught me so, so much
Denise- what can I say? You’re an amazing writer and teacher. Just know that the way you’ve shared your grief is helping so many of us presently, and in the future.
I was out of town with no internet service so I missed Raika’s passing day. I knew it was close and I thought of her every day and wondered about how you would write her final words. I’m broken hearted for you Denise and so grateful to be included in Raika’s final journey. Beautiful molecules shared!i love it! Thank-you!
Thank you Denise and Raika for a beautiful journey and a fitting end. I’m weeping buckets and shall miss your conversations. Heartfelt condolences to you at this time.
One of the saddest things I’ve ever felt…
Bye Raika. Love you.
I cried at the original MD post and I’m crying again.
Maybe you will not be able to talk directly, I think you may still hear her. That is the biggest gift dog training gives us, the memories that will continue to echo on even after that time we must let each other go.
What a tribute you have given Raika. Do many have benefited more than you may know.
…off to find a tissue.
Oh, Denise. When I replied to your email yesterday, I was afraid to ask about Raika. My heart is aching for your loss today. I cannot think any dog was better or more widely loved.
Sending many hugs to you ):……
I was reminded about the Molecular Distribution post and came to read it today. Last Saturday I lost a huge chunk of my heart when I had to let my Standard Poodle Tag go. I came to re-read the M.D. post and saw this one. Through cascades of tears I read this and oh how I hope Tag sent me lots of his molecules. Please say he did.
I’m sure he did – and I apologize for the delay in replying. By now…the molecules should be arriving. Only the best to you.