The day Mila died was the day of a new beginning

It was April the 10th of this year (2013) when Mila, the puppy my now husband Alex and I rescued almost exactly half a year ago, died. This day was full moon and a special and auspicious one for the Tibetan Buddhist Calendar, too.

Alex and I waited since almost 2 weeks for the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC to bloom, and finally the moment came. It was an extraordinary hot day, 30°C, no clouds in the sky, no wind blowing and perfect to find a nice spot in the shadow of the cherry blossom trees on the shore of the small lake.

We walked around, hand in hand, like so many other couples; we took a lot of pictures and finally decided to lie down. We just enjoyed ourselves and the nice atmosphere that was within and outside us.

After a while Alex looked over my shoulder saying that he can’t take his eyes of the beautiful pink tree over there, so I looked around. I saw plenty of white blooming trees but not one single in pink but I thought maybe it’s me… and just replied: “Oh, yes, it’s amazing!”

Then I turned my head back and suddenly Alex was holding a small little box in front of me, opened it (by then I already knew what he was going to ask) and pronounced the unexpected question: “Would you marry me?” I started to cry tears of joy and emotion and said “yes, of course I want!”

He put me the ring on and we hugged and kissed and were happy, enjoying this moment, surrounded by cherry blossom trees, covered with the soft white and pink petals.

We went to have lunch and to celebrate with a beer, we came back home and wanted to do a puja (an offering ritual in Buddhism and Hinduism) to offer this new event in our lives and our love in general to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and spiritual friends.

Once at home I checked quickly my e-mails and Adriana Ferranti from Maitri Charitable Trust in Bodhgaya had written me. As I read the story I couldn’t help it, I started to cry. She just got the news in the morning from her employees in Bodhgaya that a kennel cough spread out in the shelter and Mila got sick along with other puppies. Mila died uncommonly fast.

Joy and sadness came together and we couldn’t avoid thinking and reflecting once again about all the circumstances that brought us two together and how we met Mila. Until now I don’t understand how a little dog I knew for only two days could still have such an impact on me, but I guess there are many unperceivable and inexplicable aspects of a bond with another being.

Was it just another “coincidence” that Mila died exactly the day Alex decided to propose to me and therefore to start something new together? Isn’t it strange that on that day of full moon, where there was said that this was a special and auspicious one to leave the past behind and start something new, Mila died and we began to realise that this engagement is the next step to spend a lifetime together?

Could it be possible that Mila had one purpose in this life and this was us? We rescued her from a terrible life in the street in an ugly, yet sacred place in India, we saw by observing each other doing all we did for Mila, how wonderful the other is and this made us fall in love with each other.

Mila taught us many lessons, and even her mere death is a valuable teaching that makes us understand, that death is not the end, it’s the beginning of something new. We hear so often: When a door closes another one opens. But we don’t really understand this line until we experience it fully aware.

And maybe the fact that Mila was part of this amazing and magical encounter with Alex makes her so important to us. She is part of our story, even if the story started long before we rescued her.


It started actually in 2011.

Well, I can also start even before that and you are free to skip that many details.


Still here?

Ok, when I was around 12 years old I bought a diary with the American flag as the cover. From all the stupidities I might have written I remember one thing: I was amazed by the USA. Not that I had a better reference than the Sylvester Stallone movies I saw and that inspired me that everything is possible – even for losers.

I kind of felt like a loser back in that time when I was about to become a teenager. I was ugly – that much ugly that my sister’s classmates used to call me the ugly duck. I felt that most of the people my age were silly and boring, I had a terrible relationship with my mother and I just got to a boarding school in Germany. Even if I can’t complain of not having enough friends, I always had friends, but for some strange reason I always felt like a lonely person. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad or that I hated it, I took it just the way it was.

Anyhow, so I wrote in that diary that one day I would become a historian, that I would like to teach history because it fascinates me and above all I wrote that one day I would like to visit the USA.

A couple of years after, I must have been like 14 years old, I was visiting my father in Mexico during the summer holidays. I don’t remember how we got to talk about this topic but I clearly remember that I told him very serious: “I’m going to marry a gringo one day!” He only laughed at me and said “Ay, hija! From all the nationalities in the world you chose a gringo? No way!” But I was so sure about it, that I didn’t even discuss it with him.

The time went by and I guess the process of growing up (especially when it came to emotions and mind), brought so many distractions, that I completely forgot about it. Then I became this rebel girl, reading intellectual stuff, becoming social critic and as every youngster from a Latin- American background, I too became a fan of Che Guevara, Emiliano Zapata and Subcomandante Marcos.

I was 16 years old, when my friend Diana and I went to this new age, spiritual, psychedelic village near Mexico City called Tepoztlán. Curious as we were we went to the passage where a bunch of wanna be psychic’s were giving hand lectures. Again, I don’t remember anything but one detail. I asked the girl that sometimes I just don’t really have a connection with guys and whenever one appears I just feel like annoyed or even disgusted and I just didn’t know why. She deeply looked into my hand and said: “Of course not! The reason why is that you are waiting for the right one. And [showing me some lines on my hand] the right one will have the initials A and M!”

Believe it or not: For the following years I was searching for someone with that initials, but every time I was with someone, who obviously didn’t bring this special requirement with him, I just told myself that it was anyway a waste of time and money this whole hand lecture thing and what the girl said was just nonsense.

Trying to figure out my own identity, I was not at all interested in the USA and later on, living in Mexico there was nothing at the other side of the northern border that could somehow catch my attention (except of the headlines in the newspaper).

So life went on, love and relationships only brought disappointments and I only started to be in “peace” with that (as far as a latina girl’s mind can be) thanks to Buddhism, meditation (though I’m a lazy practitioner) and my friends.

One day I went to see a friend who is supposed to be psychic, but unfortunately every time she told me about things to be happening soon, she was always wrong. Except for one thing: In a very beautiful way she told me, that obviously I haven’t found the ONE for me, because I was looking in the wrong direction. What I needed to find is someone, who shines as much as I do, and together then we could shine even brighter.

Then finally I went to a retreat on meditation. In one moment an event called “Kalachakra” in Washington DC the same year (it was February of 2011), was announced – I didn’t pay that much attention. Back at my Buddhism classes again someone mentioned it and then I started to wonder what this Kalachakra thing was about but didn’t give that much importance to it. Finally I started to have contact again with a high school friend from Hamburg, Germany and it happened to be that she was living near Washington DC and had just became mother. She offered me to come visit her whenever I wanted, especially when the Dalai Lama would come in the summer and suddenly I thought “wait a minute! Isn’t this strange event with the Dalai Lama the Kalachakra?!” Now I was fully into it: I looked it up, I made my plans, I signed up to volunteer for this event and bought a plane ticket.


For some strange reason I was convinced, that this event would be life changing for me. I had no clue how and why, but it would define the rest of my life. And: I knew deep in my heart and mind, that I would find the love of my life. I was so sure about it, that I talked with this “psychic” friend about it and she only replied “I know, I’m also pretty sure!”

So I went and had the time of my life not only in that event but in general in my first visit to the USA: I saw the Dalai Lama for the first time, volunteered in such a beautiful event with him, I met friends from Boston, made new and lovely acquaintances from around the world, I had fun at Tibetan Dance parties and as a tourist travelling around. But the 11 days at the “Kalachakra” went by and no Mr. Right came along. I visited my friends in Leesburg, not one single interesting gringo around. I went to Boston to see my friends, no one inspired me any feeling of “uh, he must be it”.

After a month being in the USA I came back to Mexico – without having met the guy of my life. But I knew undoubtedly, that something had changed. My life would definitely not be the same again.

Still it would take me more than two more years to understand how all these events are related. I would finally understand how all this makes perfectly sense. And it was the moment when I was walking in Bodhgaya, India with my blue volunteer shirt from the Kalachakra and another tourist recognised it, asked me about it and we started to talk in front of the entrance of the Kalachakra Ground on the main street. As soon as he said that he also volunteered in the same event in Washington DC I was completely thrilled. Something inside me was starting to acknowledge everything, but when he said his name, I knew immediately that the search has finally come to an end. That it doesn’t matter how, when or under which circumstances: He was the man of my life. He was the one, whose initials were tattooed since my birth in my hands…

And after Alex had proposed to me I started to remember all the things I said when I was a 12, 14 or 16 year old girl. Not knowing at all (because I never took me too serious) that my words were pronounced subconsciously and unwillingly as a decree.


And Mila? Maybe now you understand how she is part of this wonderful story? That’s why it hurts to know her dead. There has been so much magic around Alex, me and her that we want to believe to meet her again in this or in a future lifetime.


Merrifield on May 7, 2013 

© Kirsten Liliane López Lukeimage