Jonathan Livingston

Today I was lucky enough to be able to spend a little time on the beach.  It was barely after high tide and there weren’t too many seashells to search through, so after a short walk I sat in my green reclining beach chair and absorbed the peacefulness of my final day of solitude.  I had taken this week after Thanksgiving to spend alone at Holden Beach, my birthday gift to myself now that I’m 52 and “an empty nester”.  After a few glorious moments of feeling the sun’s warmth on my face, I opened my eyes to take in the scene and this is what I saw directly beside me to my left:

I’ve always resonated with Jonathan Livingston Seagull since I first read Richard Bach’s classic book as a teenager back in the 1970’s, feeling different from other birds in my flock.  About a year ago, I experienced a healing “journey” exercise with my energy healer, where I was greeted by my animal teacher for the day, and lo and behold it was Jonathan Livingston Seagull!  I hadn’t thought of him in decades, but he suddenly popped into my awareness when I asked for an animal guide to share any pertinent information for me during our Reiki/energy healing session.

During the next 30 minutes, we flew together, Jonathan and I, and, soaring inland about 200 miles, he gently carried me from the ocean to my own backyard, where he waited patiently as I dialogued with my real animal pet, Bailey. Bailey had been my beloved golden retriever/border collie mix love for more than 15 years, but her vision and hearing were just about gone, her arthritic hips failing her at times, despite the glucosomine “treats” I fed her every day. Lately, she’d been struggling to climb the steps of the deck to greet me, often slipping on them, and my heart was heavy with her pain.

We talked, Bailey and I, and she let me know how much she loved me — enough to let me decide when I was ready to let her go.  She had lived a good life, had finished what she had come here to do – to watch over me and my girls through my divorce and their growing up years and now, with my youngest graduating from college soon, Bailey was ready to go on to doggie heaven whenever we were ready to let her go.

I cried silently on Fran’s table, tears falling into my hair, my ears.  Then I hugged Bailey one more time, turned to Jonathan, climbed upon his feathery back, and we lifted off from my backyard and soared quickly back to the beach.  We landed gently on the surface of the calm sea and I came back through my ocean wave portal the same way I had entered.  I didn’t yet understand how I would ever really be ready to let her go, but I knew that I had Bailey’s permission to mercifully end her life when I was ready.

About 6 weeks later I took Bailey to the groomer for her “Christmas do”, mentioned the sliding on the steps thing, and asked for her honest opinion, as I’d done every grooming during the past year.  Deborah called me when Bailey was ready, and told me that Bailey really seemed to be in much more pain than the last time she had groomed her, and that she thought I could consider the inevitable anytime.  It was 2 weeks before Christmas and a cold winter was expected, which always made Bailey’s arthritis worse.  We also had travel plans and would be needing to leave her in the coming weeks and I hated the thought of not being with her as she deteriorated.  And so, I scheduled a home visit with our wonderful vet on a Friday at 5pm when the family could all be together to celebrate her life and to comfort her as she transitioned.  It was a bittersweet evening, but none of us would have wanted it any other way.

So today, just a week before the year anniversary of Bailey’s exit from the earth plane, I  have to wonder if this seagull that hung out with me so nearby and for so long (and without any crumbs or food to entice him!) could have been MY seagull, my Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Very possibly, for I KNOW I sensed my loving Bailey’s energy around us both.