Tag Archives: Loss

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Pet Loss

Why Pet Loss Is So Hard

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Words can’t describe how it feels to lose a pet. For many, a furry friend is a beloved member of their family. For others, their pet is the only family they have. These are a few reasons why pet loss can be so hard.

Often when a pet passes away, people resort to incorrect mechanisms to deal with the grief. Sometimes they even attempt to replace the pet immediately. Unfortunately, there is little effective guidance for grieving pet owners. As a result, many pet grievers either isolate themselves or pretend like “everything is fine” for fear of being judged or criticized – especially by non-pet owners.

HOW OTHERS REACT

Another problem is that friends and family don’t know what to say to someone who lost their pet. Oftentimes they resort to statements that are not helpful at all to the griever like:

“It was only a dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc).”

“Don’t feel bad you can always get another dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc).”

“Just give it time and you won’t remember your dog (cat, fish, lizard, etc) anymore.”

In fact these statements are not useful at all. They are almost cruel. They actually break a grieving pet owner’s heart into a million more pieces. This is why many grieving pet owners often choose not to share their pain with anyone. Non-pet owners just wouldn’t understand the special bond they shared with their pet. They wouldn’t understand the feeling of unconditional love they received on a daily basis. It’s just too hard to explain so pet grievers find it easier to just bottle it up inside.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Here are some things we need to keep in mind when losing a pet:

– In any household in which a pet has died, it is important to remember that each family member will have a different reaction to the loss. Each relationship to the pet was unique, so each person’s grief will be unique to them. This needs to be respected and honored. Never compare your reaction to that of another family member.

– Talk openly and honestly about the loss. Trying to hide your feelings will only make it confusing – especially if you have children.

– Don’t turn to short-term energy relieving behaviors (STERBs) – anger, alcohol, drugs, shopping, etc.- to deal with the loss. These only make you feel better for a little while and don’t help you to “complete” the relationship you had with your pet – i.e. face your grief.

– Remember that although your pet is no longer here physically, we continue to have an emotional and spiritual relationship with them.  These aspects of the relationship need to be “complete” so memories of your pet don’t turn painful.

– Being in pain over the death of your pet is not an expression of love. Completing what was left unfinished (especially if your pet died tragically – hit by a car, etc.), will get you out of the pain. You will still have sad and happy memories, but those memories will no longer turn painful.

– Never use the word “guilt” or say that you “feel guilty.” Guilt implies intent to harm, and most pet owners would never do anything maliciously to harm their pet. A better descriptor would be “unresolved grief” – things you wish you had or hadn’t done with your pet. Unresolved grief is very different from guilt.

– Think of those things you wish you could apologize for (“I am sorry I yelled at you when I got home from a bad day at work”), forgive (“I forgive you for ripping up my favorite pair of shoes”) or wished you had said to your pet (“I loved how you used to greet me when I came home. It was the best feeling in the world”).

If you are having a difficult time, you are not alone. The Grief Recovery Method®, through their Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, offers a structured action plan to help grieving pet owners discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished and ultimately, have fond memories of your beloved pet not turn painful.

DEALING WITH PET LOSS WEBINAR

The WEBINAR from The Grief Reiki® Academy will:

– Discover how society treats grieving pet owners.

– Better understand why it is so hard to lose a pet.

– Learn what to say and do (and what not to say and do) for a grieving pet owner.

Bottom line, grieve for your furry friend. Be sad.

Remember the time you spent with them. Hold them in your heart forever.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Father's Day

Father’s Day Without My Dad

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It’s a day I’ve been dreading every year since Dad died in January 2017. This is my third Father’s Day without him. I’ve been anticipating this day for months. I can’t escape it. It’s been in my face everywhere I go. It’s just another reminder he isn’t here anymore.  To be honest, I’m tired of those reminders.

Although I know it is actually healthier to cherish this day (rather than avoid it) as a way to honor my Dad, it all depends on where someone is on their journey. Part of me wants to avoid it. I know that avoiding Father’s Day can also be healthy. Another part of me wants to go to his favorite sports bar, watch sports and drink beer. If my Sister is up for it, we will probably do the latter.

If you lost someone you loved are not sure what to do, here are a few of the ways you can approach Father’s Day (or any Holiday):

WAYS TO APPROACH FATHER’S DAY

Be Prepared. Anticipating the grief associated with these events is normal. Knowing ahead of time may be tough can help you to decide how you want to spend that day. It could be celebrating with family and friends or being alone in your grief. Being prepared will help you to honor what works best for you.

Plan a Celebration. There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate on Father’s Day. It’s perfectly okay to throw a party. It’s perfectly okay to actually have some fun in memory of your loved one. If you do, they will be there celebrating with you.

Get Out of Town. If it is too much for you to be home alone during these reminder days, plan a trip away or go visit family or friends. It is perfectly okay to not be around if being in familiar surroundings with reminders everywhere is too much to handle. Just get the heck out of dodge.

Share Memories. Consider inviting friends over so you can share memories of your loved one. Ask your friends to share their own memories. Pull out old photographs or home movies. Tell stories. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you laugh. Memories are the best way to remember your loved one. There is no better way to honor them.

Start a New Tradition. If facing your usual traditions are too difficult, start a new one. Make a donation to a charitable organization, volunteer or plant a tree in your loved one’s name.

Honor Your Grief. It’s normal to be both sad and joyful on these days. Expressing both kinds of emotions makes us human. Honor these emotions. Don’t avoid them. Worse, don’t pretend. Just feel.

No Fanfare. It’s also okay to let these days just be ordinary days. No celebration. Just another day.

So I’ve decided it is completely healthy to either acknowledge or not acknowledge Father’s Day. You have to do what is right for you.

Surround yourself with people who understand what you need – not what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing.

Let this day come and go. Even if this means choosing to do nothing.

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POEM FOR MY DAD ON FATHER’S DAY

“Special Hero” By Christina M. Kerschen

When I was a baby

you would hold me in your arms

I felt the love and tenderness

keeping me safe from harm

I would look up into your eyes

and all the love I would see

How did I get so lucky

you were the dad chosen for me

There is something special

about a father’s love

Seems it was sent to me

from someplace up above

Our love is everlasting

I just wanted you to know

That you’re my special hero

and I wanted to tell you so.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Why Are People Avoiding Me?

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Has someone close to you died and you wondered why everyone seems to be avoiding you? I have. At first you don’t notice it as much because you are in a daze. But once you emerge from the fog, you realize no one seems to be around. It’s like everyone disappeared to the four corners of the earth. Anywhere so they wouldn’t have to run into you. Or at least that is how it seems. Don Miguel Ruiz teaches in The Four Agreements “Don’t take anything personally.” Easier said than done when you are looking for support and all you can hear are crickets. You start to wonder what you might have said. You start wonder what you might have done. Why is this happening?

IT’S NOT YOU

Most likely people aren’t avoiding you, they are avoiding grief. Historically society has treated grief and loss as tabu topics. People avoid you because they have their own issues with grief. Maybe seeing your grief reminds them of their own. Maybe being reminded of their own grief brings them pain. Feeling their own pain may force them to do something. Doing something is way too hard. Avoiding it becomes second nature. But over time unresolved grief can become a ticking time bomb. A person begins to feel like they are going to explode. Avoiding you keeps them away from a path they don’t want to take. It becomes their primary focus.

Another reason people avoid grief is because they haven’t really been taught the right things to say. Not knowing what to say makes us uncomfortable. Avoiding  uncomfortable feelings seems easier. If they are “unlucky” enough to run into you, they say things like “They are in a better place” or “You’ll feel better soon.” Not helpful statements to a griever but it’s what they have been taught. Eventually they convince themselves staying far away from anyone grieving is the best solution. Once again it becomes about them and not about you.

Grief Reiki LLC

SO WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY?

Face your own grief. You can’t be there for someone else who is grieving if you have your own issues with grief. This is especially true for parents of children who are grieving. If you address your own grief first, you are better equipped to help your children get through theirs. Begin to understand why you haven’t dealt with your grief. What can you do to address it? The Grief Recovery Method offers a structured action plan to help you do just that.

Be honest with a griever.  Instead of avoiding  griever, all you have to do is say “I just don’t know what to say.” An honest answer is better than crickets. Offering a hug without any words is even better. A hug can say it all. It makes a griever feel safe and not alone. Grief tends to do that to people. Makes them feel isolated. Avoiding them only makes it worse. As humans we need human-to-human body contact. In fact according to social worker Virginia Satir, we need at least 4 hugs a day to survive.

So the next time you know someone who is grieving, don’t avoid them. Offer them a hug. No words. Just a hug. It can change their world.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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