Grieving the loss of my best friend

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” –Vicki Harrison

I woke up this morning feeling sad. I had a tear streaming down my face before I got out of bed. The busy-ness of my birthday week is over and so are the distractions from my sadness. My heart feels heavy. It’s hard to breathe. I miss him so much it aches — especially in the morning, when I have to remind myself not to look over to where his dog bed used to be, to see if he’s awake.

Since Namo’s passing a month ago, I’ve received enormous support, messages, and heartfelt letters but there’s still a Grand Canyon size hole in my heart. Nothing seems to fill it.

Grief take us to the depths of our being and wakes us up to our capacity to feel.

Sometimes the enormity of grief hits me like a tidal wave, and I buckle over in the shower because I’m sobbing so hard. Other times, it’s a sharp bittersweet memory of our final months together, when I see a slow-walking, aging dog in the park.

Namo (short for Namaste) was the poster dog for unconditional love. He was my go-to comforting confidant for every breakup, business failure, and fear I have faced the past 12 years. He never judged me, just purely loved me with his big brown eyes.

When he passed away, I lost my best friend and my constant support system. The world feels scarier without him. It’s harder to reach out to people for support. With Namo, I just had to reach out a hand, or wrap my arms around his neck — much easier than picking up the phone to call someone.

Namo was always there for me, literally by my side.

I haven’t found someone or something to replace him, and intuitively I know that finding a replacement is not the answer.

There is no answer, nothing to fix. I’m allowing myself to grieve and take its natural course. In doing so, I’m reminded of why we’re here: to deeply love and be loved.

I know isolation is not good for me and that Namo taught me to share more of myself. He still tells me, now from the other side, that he loves me, and that I’m going to be okay.

Namo, I love you and miss you with all my heart, buddy.

Devon

Have you ever lost a beloved friend? There’s no way around the raw pain of grief — only through it. If this resonates for you, please share in the comments below. It’d mean a lot to me to hear from you.

 

31 replies
  1. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Oh Devon my thoughts and prayers go out to you. I can’t even imagine what you are feeling. As I read this I cried through it all. Namo was a very special dog, my heart breaks knowing he is gone. I wish T and I could give you a huge hug right now. Namo had a great life with you. Grieving is part of the process. He will always be with you and in your heart. Praying for healing.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Thank you Rachel, I’ll take that hug next time I see you and T. You knew Namo well and indeed, he was a very special dog and friend. I appreciate your support and love, it means a lot.

      Reply
  2. BeTh
    BeTh says:

    Holding your hand from where I am as you walk this path each day. My heart is with you. Love, light, and laughs and you see through the tears.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Beth, thank you for your support from literally across the world, I feel it. There are some laughs emerging of fond memories as I see through the tears. I appreciate you reaching out. XO

      Reply
  3. sydney wiecking
    sydney wiecking says:

    Devon, I can feel your grief – and love. My Kianna is almost 18 years old and always by my side. I know I will experience unimaginable loss and pain – and all my positive thoughts of gratitude and appreciation feel like platitudes that do nothing to alleviate the fear of loss and pain. Thank you for sharing your love of Namo – I am with you. Sydney

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Sydney, it’s so good to hear from you. I appreciate your sharing about your beloved Kianna and I get it. I had to gently remind myself to not dread the day Namo would cross over while he was still with me physically, but it’s hard. Our animals teach us so much, especially to live in the moment. Thank you for your support, I am with you as well. XO

      Reply
  4. Tanja Freeman
    Tanja Freeman says:

    Sending hugs and prayers! I have lost 4 very special best friends and it flat out stinks. I ease my pain knowing there is another dog out there that needs me! I have seen personalities from my previous lives in my newer puppies. It warms my heart to know they are no longer in pain and that I will someday be reunited with them! Hang in there!

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Tanja, it’s wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your experience about your beloved best friends. I resonate with what you wrote, “I have seen personalities from my previous lives in my newer puppies.” I believe in that 100% and I appreciate your comforting words. It means a lot and helps to know I’m not alone.

      Reply
  5. Mary C Collins
    Mary C Collins says:

    My heart goes out to u Devon. I remember falling in love the first time I met Namo! What a wonderful soul. You are so right about the grieving process and don’t let anyone try to rush u through it!

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Mary, I love that you got to meet Namo and that you fell in love with him the first time you met him…that brings a smile to my face. He definitely had a way of greeting people at the ranch that instantly put them at ease. Thank you for acknowledging that the grieving process has no time limit. I’m learning to swim in the waves of it. I hope the horses and I get to see you soon.

      Reply
  6. MICHELLE HARRIGAN
    MICHELLE HARRIGAN says:

    I’m so sorry you lost Namo. I wish I could ease your heartache, but all I can do is tell you that I understand it. I still grieve for Aspen and he’s been gone for over 5 years. Do you remember him from Bobbi’s old place? He was a huge black and white hound. He was my best friend and protector and his loss is not one that I’ll ever get over. I’ve learned to go on, but the hole in my heart never closes. For me, I find so much comfort in still being able to give and receive love with our other hounds. You cannot ever replace Namo and a new friend will not fill the void, but it will allow your heart to love again. I hope that you can find comfort in your memories of him eventually. Sometimes I can laugh at my pictures of Aspen and sometimes I still cry. I wouldn’t trade a single memory though even with the pain I feel. Sending you love and hugs, Devon. Namo was a true blessing – a wonderful friend and partner. He’ll be waiting for you!

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Michelle, I was sobbing as I read your comment, ahhh, SO much of what you shared resonates with me right now. Yes, I do remember your beloved Aspen and what a special friend he was in your life. It helps me to know and connect with other who have been through similar experiences, and thank you for sharing your story and grieving process. I so get this… “I wouldn’t trade a single memory though even with the pain I feel.” I really appreciate your words during this f*&cing painful time…it helps. XO

      Reply
  7. MICHELLE HARRIGAN
    MICHELLE HARRIGAN says:

    “There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.” ~ Suzanne Clothier

    Reply
  8. Rhonda and tori Lawson
    Rhonda and tori Lawson says:

    Those we love remain with us for love itself lives on, and cherished memories never fade because a loved one’s gone. Those we love can never be more that a thought apart. For as long there is a memory, they’ll live on in our hearts. – Author Unknown

    So sorry to hear about losing Namo. Tori and i think about you often! Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love ya! 🌹

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Rhona and Tori, thank you so much reaching out. I love the beautiful quote your shared, and it’s true, “…love itself lives on.”
      I appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and I remember how much Namo loved being part of the Girls Teen Camp that Tori attended. He had a special way with young people and helping them feel comfortable at the ranch. Much love to you both.

      Reply
  9. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie says:

    Sweet Devon, I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious Namo. When I lost my beloved yellow lab, Tate, it was a year and a half until my sweet Sully showed up on a shelter list for euthanasia. The first time I looked into his soft, brown eyes.. I knew we were meant for each other. It was time for the void left by Tate’s loss to be filled with a new energy of light and love.

    I share with you a quote I kept posted for a long time in honor of Tate. I hope it brings you as much comfort as it did for me. “Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so… ’twas heaven here with you.”
    ~Ilsa Paschal Richardson.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Ann Marie, thanks for your comment and sharing about your beloved Tate. I love your story about how you met Sully and that you knew you were meant for each other. I felt that way the first time I met Namo. and I trust I will feel that way again someday, with another dog I’m destined to meet. The quote you shared is beautiful…it definitely strikes a chord. It’s really good to hear from you, and I appreciate your comforting words.

      Reply
  10. Gayle Lawrence
    Gayle Lawrence says:

    I truly feel your pain Devon. I’m 67 and over the years have lost so many “best friends”. My little Jack Russel Terrier, Katie, was truly a part of my Soul and as Namo supported you through some of your darkest days, my little Katie girl got me through some of the darkest periods of my own life. She was 16 when she passed many years ago but that hole in my Soul is still there. There are days I still grieve for her, a memory will trigger it from days long past. Other best friends will come into your life but will never replace that special space that Namo held. The path of grief is a very personal journey and will take as long as it takes for you. We know that Namo has now walked over the Rainbow bridge and will wait for you there happy and free. I think perhaps my little Katie might have welcomed him and perhaps will help him through his sadness of having to leave you. My thoughts are with you.

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Gayle, I love the image of Katie welcoming Namo. Brings tears to my eyes knowing he’s not alone, and knowing that I’m not alone in my grief. Thank you for sharing about your beloved girl and how much she helped you through your darkest days. I can totally relate and I don’t know where I’d be if Namo hadn’t come into my life during my eating disorder recovery. I appreciate your thoughts and support. XO

      Reply
  11. Heather Kirby
    Heather Kirby says:

    Devon,
    You know that I can relate to the depths of loss that you are feeling. I remain grateful for the help you gave me when my devoted friend, KC passed away and you helped me create a montage of pictures to music to help me grieve and honor her and to share it with the many people she touched in her 10 years as a therapy dog. Namo was a therapy dog too… both for you and for some of the clients he met. I remember how he sat in the circle with us at one of your retreats, holding space for those of us in the group. He was special and will never be replaced. But I promise you that in time, your heart will heal and another furry friend will find its way in. My current dog, Merit, looks a lot like KC but is her own unique soul just the same. She does not replace KC, but she has certainly found her own place into my heart and is enriching my life in her own way.
    I honor your pain and the courage you have to face it head on and in a public way so that others may learn from your wisdom. Love you, my dear friend!
    Heather

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Heather, I will never forget the beautiful video of KC…I didn’t know her previously but through that video, I felt her beautiful spirit and the impact she had on so many people, especially you. Namo had a similar role of helping others and thanks for the special memory of him holding space at the retreats…he was a pro at that.

      I love that Merit is enriching your life and I can’t wait to meet her someday soon. I trust that Namo will send another special furry friend my way when the time is right. Thank you for your support and love, it means a lot to me.

      Reply
  12. Lisza
    Lisza says:

    Oh Devon, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    I remember when Cody passed. I didn’t leave the house for 4 days. I cried day and night. He helped me raise my son, he was there when I married, helped me get though tough times of being a step parent and was there for me through my divorce. Cody was more than my best friend, he saved my life. I had a terminal neurological disease that if it were not for him, I probably would not have made it through.
    I asked Cody to “grow his angel wings and please visit me” before he passed. AND I know that Namo has grown his… he still walks with you, because for him.. you were his whole life.
    My thoughts, prayers and hugs are on the way… XO

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Lisza, I have tears falling as I read your comment about Cody. What an angel in your life and literally a lifesaver. Thank you for sharing about the profound impact he had on you, and how he still walks with you. I know Namo has his angel wings and that “he still walks with me”, which brings me a sense of peace. I appreciate your thoughts, hugs, and prayers.

      Reply
  13. Janet
    Janet says:

    So sorry about Namo’s passing. I lost my two best buddies, Zoey & Tai and I will always miss them but feel the love everyday that we shared. Take special care and find friends to share your stories and feelings with.
    Blessings- Janet

    Reply
    • Devon
      Devon says:

      Janet, thank you for sharing about Zoey and Tai and that you continue to feel the love you shared everyday. I will continue to take special care and find friends to share my stories with, it does help. XO

      Reply
  14. Kathleen O'Donnell
    Kathleen O'Donnell says:

    Oh dear Devon, I send you endless compassion for Namo’s loss. I’m remembering how healing floods of tears can be. Such a sweet Namo, he deserves the honor of all these healing waters.
    Thank you for sharing this furry earth angel with us. It was many years ago that I met Namo, but his welcome to me is unforgettable. It was my first Women’s Connection Group that I was showing up for down in Larkspur, and I was nervous being around people I didn’t know. You invited me to sit down in the circle of chairs in the arena, and Namo followed. I chose a chair, and he promptly plopped himself right down on my two feet. Talk about immediate comfort, and energy grounding. Thinking about it now…wow, what an intuitive and wise pooch. Need I say, that was exactly what my anxious body and being needed. His ‘grounding’ of my anxious energies allowed me to refocus myself onto the positive possibilities of the evening instead of trying to keep my anxiety from flying me away. What an amazing partnership, Devon and Namo, Namo and Devon.
    Dear Devon, such a painful loss, but may continue to have plenty of love to float you through it. I’m happy to add my own to it.
    Many, many hugs and loves.
    Kathleen

    Reply
  15. Patty
    Patty says:

    Oh, Devon. Your post brings me many tears. The pictures you included are just beautiful. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved Namo. What an amazing partnership you two had (and will always have) that will be forever treasured. When we love so purely and exquisitely, the pain can be overwhelmingly crippling. Feel it, express it and honor it. And know that you are loved and supported. Your friends, family and the community you have created through your work will carry you through. Even when you might not know it or feel it, we’re here. I still get triggered by things that make me think of Luna. Sometimes I smile to myself and bask in the warm memories of times we shared. And other times, I’m still driven to tears by something seemingly so benign. And I have no doubt they will continue. I hope they do. When we are reminded of our companions, it means they are still with us. I hope that brings you some comfort in time. Much love, Patty

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *