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Updated: Apr 10, 2023

"I don't have any control over what actually happens except for that I have full control over my will for myself, my intention, and why I'm there. That's all that matters." -- SZA

Acceptance means to embrace a situation and not fixate on how or why it shouldn't be that way.

Sometimes this is hard to do, and my own ability was tested recently when our dear furry friend Paisley unexpectedly died of cancer. The day she passed, I texted the sad news to my sponsor who replied, "Pray for acceptance, Karen."

I wanted to hurl the phone across the room! Acceptance? Of course I accepted it. Paisley was gone, wasn't she? what else could I do but accept that?

I was so angry I Googled the "Five Stages of Grief"

  1. Denial - I can't believe I'll never see her again when I open the front door.

  2. Anger - Why did she have to die so young? It's not fair!

  3. Bargaining - I would have done just about anything to hold her again.

  4. Depression - Life isn't as fun without my dear Paisley.

  5. Acceptance - It really happened. She's gone forever. I have to move on.

Then I texted my sponsor back and told her heatedly that acceptance isn't the first thing on the list!

What did my sponsor want of me? I'm only a person in agony and missing her friend!

But after three weeks of crying and going through the five stages, I've finally reached acceptance. This is more of a spiritual acceptance, though -- a deeper and more profound feeling that goes deeper than the fifth stage and the simple acknowledgment that Paisley isn't coming back. My acceptance is on a deeper, spiritual level. I'm not just acknowledging something painful and final happened, I'm accepting there's a bigger picture and her death is part of God's plan.

I know I can only embrace this deeper meaning because of my 12 Step program and the knowledge I've gathered in the last three years of sobriety. Instead of being angry at my Higher Power, I thank Him for having Paisley and the precious and fun times we had.

Paisley was my blessing and a gift.

I can't change what happened to Paisley, but I have done some research on what caused her to die. I have the courage to change things such as informing people that my dog probably got cancer from her environment. We rent a townhome where toxic chemicals are used every week, spring through fall, to treat weeds and pests.

I've discovered herbicides and pesticides have been linked to cancer. Fifty years ago, one in a hundred dogs got cancer. Today it's one in 1.65!

Please visit my new website: and help me change the things I can. Paisley's death is part of God's plan -- to educated the public on the dangers of toxic lawn chemicals. I can't bring her back, but I can help others avoid the pain my husband and I have experienced with her passing. I have the wisdom to know the difference.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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