A favorite coaching client of mine is facing a messy divorce.
“What do you want this experience to be like?” I asked him. “What do you want your memories of this divorce to be like?”
As I asked the question, I suddenly thought of my beloved dog Hector Protector. I interrupted myself to tell my client about Hector.
Hector was a Bernese Mountain Dog who died 10 years ago of the cancer that kills most Bernese Mountain Dogs.
When he was diagnosed, I knew I was going to have to put him down. It was just a question of when. I could keep him alive for a while or I could let him go when he stopped eating.
It came down to how I wanted to remember him.
My last memory of him could be as my loveable protector of a big dog who was always at my side.
Or as something else I didn’t want to imagine.
When the time came, when Hector wouldn’t eat and looked at me appalled and confused, I called the vet. She came to the house (she is a lovely vet) and we said goodbye to Hector in our living room. Would we all have a death so kind.
“You get to decide how you want to remember the death of this marriage,” I told my client. “What do you want to remember about yourself?”
“That’s a very different question than what I want to get materially,” he mused.
“Yes, a profoundly different question,” I agreed.