Listen to this article here (sorry, y’all! I just sent this with just a section of the audio … but it’s all here now):
After Birdie unexpectedly died, two good friends came over and moved around all the furniture in my office. I couldn’t do it myself because I had badly hurt my back the week prior when I fell on my ass rollerskating at a party thrown by one of the aforementioned friends.
My office was also where Birdie spent a significant amount of her time, and it hurt way too much to look over at her chair in the corner, only to see a pile of her super soft blankets … but no dog.
Earlier this year, I purchased a huge, L-shaped desk that was perfectly measured for that incarnation of my office layout. For more than a year of living in this house and using that office, I thought I had it set up in the only possible way the room would allow. When it occurred to me to change things up, I wasn’t sure it would be possible—given all of the parameters—so I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
When I opened them, doing my best to ignore the chair in the corner where I was so used to seeing Birdie, I suddenly saw it: the desk could be moved there, and Birdie’s chair could be moved there.
To a T, the new arrangement fit. Even the artwork looked good where it had already been. Plus, I got a new, black velvet couch cover and painted one wall canary yellow (I also have a hot pink wall in my office, so, as you can see, I like things subtle).
The next day when I went to use the office with its new set-up, I gasped audibly. Even though I already knew how splendid this new arrangement felt, since we had done the moving in the evening, I hadn’t looked out the window until that next morning.
And wouldn’t you know it, I had a new view that I hadn’t previously known existed! Though I had thought that the side view of my office (the only direct window in there) was just of the side of my neighbor’s house, the way my desk is now arranged, I have a peaceful, pretty rooftop view of houses and treetops in my neighborhood. It’s a view I didn’t even know existed.
When I was a kid, I changed my furniture around all the time. And I did it myself, including moving huge things like my bed and my bookshelf. It was a very frequent occurrence for my mom to come into my room only to be met with an entirely different set-up.
I’ve frequently thought about why I changed my furniture around so much as a kid. Perhaps it was because I felt mayhem around me and wanted to control something of mine. Perhaps it was because I was a creative child busting at the seams to make things cute. Or perhaps deep down, I used my furniture rearrangements as a way to gain a new perspective.
Whatever the reason, I’m grateful I had the ability to make this happen (and that I was allowed). Tapping into that part of myself last week was a real game-changer for me. It showed me a literal new perspective that I am enjoying even as I type right now. I seriously can’t believe this view was here all along. I wonder what else is right under my nose?
Thank you all so much for the messages of support and kindness about Birdie. I’m doing OK, grieving a little differently each day. We found out that Birdie likely died of an aneurysm. That shocking fact comes with some relief since I’m told that’s ultimately a relatively peaceful ending (though it’s worse for the humans since we are totally unprepared—not that you can ever really be that prepared anyway).
I’ve been concerned about writing this Substack because I’ve been feeling uncharacteristically introverted recently and haven’t been entirely sure what it is I want to say “out loud.”
So I stared out my window at my new view, and I realized that this new view is precisely what I wanted to share with you. Even in the midst of deep sadness, we can find beauty, and we can find new perspectives.
It’s been an important part of my grief to (literally) see things differently. And it’s not lost on me that this started when I asked for help and got it, no questions asked.
I find that inspiring, and it’s also a good reminder that when we ask for help, we’re not only asking someone to show up for us—but, in a way, we’re doing a mitzvah. Remember, people generally like being of service to their friends. I know that when I’ve been a friend to someone who is grieving, it’s been very meaningful to me.
So all of this is to say: there might be a new perspective right in front of you, even if you never realized it was there. And if you ask for help—when you ask for help—know that you’re also giving the person on the receiving end a real gift, too.
Here’s to a beautiful new view, even if it comes with tears.
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Thank you so much for sharing this Jasmin🙏 I lost my beautiful girl, Esther Kitty, in August and am still grieving. Your words are a comfort and give me hope in moving forward. While the pain and loss will never completely leave, it will lessen as we always remember these beautiful beings we love and share so much of ourselves with. She was my closest companion and I miss her so... ❤️
love you, friend.
(love view, friend.)