Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”

Bob Dylan's tender love song reminds us of the source of our grief

A little over two years ago, a fire destroyed the building where I was renting an apartment. Fortunately, no one was injured, and the landlord soon placed everyone who lived in the building in a new home. All we lost, it seemed at the time, was “stuff.” We all felt very lucky, because stuff is easily replaced.

Make You Feel My Love is a fitting memorial for a beloved old dog sleeping in the grass

Roscoe sleeping outdoors, several months before the fire.

Sadly, the move proved to be the undoing of my beloved 17-year-old dog, Roscoe. Nearly blind and too arthritic to negotiate stairs, he was unable to acclimate to his new surroundings, which were on the second floor. He became horribly confused and terrified of being left alone. He spent every night wandering and whimpering, and no amount of comforting could calm him down.

I tried for three weeks to convince myself that Roscoe could get better — that he just needed some time to adjust. But as his condition continued to worsen, it became obvious to me that his life had become intolerable. Finally, I realized that I had no choice but to let him go.

Two days later, the vet came to my home and euthanized Roscoe as I sat on the floor holding and whispering to him. He felt no pain. He just closed his eyes and went peacefully to sleep. For him, it was a good death. But it was one of the most difficult and painful things I ever did.

The next day, alone in my apartment, I held a solitary memorial for my best friend of nearly 12 years. As I lit candles and arranged pictures of Roscoe on the lone table I had salvaged from the fire, Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” was the song I played. To me, it was a perfect eulogy for a friend I loved so much I was willing to do anything for him, even help him die.

Roscoe was a rescue. I adopted him when he was 6 years old from the animal shelter, after the authorities took him from his former owner, who had nearly starved him to death. Humans had treated him horribly for years, yet he was a happy dog. He was grateful for every morsel of kindness I gave him. And I gave him a lot. 

Maybe that’s why these lyrics from Adele’s song meant so much to me after he died.

I could make you happy

Make your dreams come true

Nothing that I wouldn’t do

Go to the ends

Of the Earth for you

To make you feel my love

Written by Bob Dylan, “Make You Feel My Love,” is a love song. But love is, after all, the wellspring of compassion, and empathy and grief. When you have lost or are about to lose someone you love, experiencing the depth of your love and expressing it aloud is often one of the most healing things you can do.

Watch Adele perform “Make You Feel My Love” in the video below. You can also read the lyrics here.

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2 Responses to Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”

  1. avatar Ashley says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just lost my baby as well and this is the song I keep hearing in my head. We are holding a memorial for him this weekend and I was googling if this song would be appropriate…then I came across your blog. Sending you love…this is a grief that I have never experienced before in my life.

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  2. avatar Kathleen Clohessy (Blog Writer, SevenPonds) says:

    Thank you Ashley. My heart goes out to you. Losing a pet is terribly painful…They are our babies, our constant companions, and our best friends all rolled into one. I still grieve for Roscoe and probably always will. But it gets easier with time. When I hear this song now I remember the joy he gave me and I feel so grateful to have had him in my life. It still hurts, but not as much. I know you will get to that place someday too.

    With love and healing thoughts…Kathleen

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