December 16 is the two year anniversary of my horse Shiloh’s passing. It was unexpected, it was shocking, it was quick. He was in Minnesota, I was in Montana. That was not the way it was supposed to happen, at least to my way of thinking. You can read the complete story here.
Even with all the animals I’ve helped pass over, both my own and those of my clients, the past two years have created a new chapter for me in learning to co-exist with grief.
Our society generally holds the belief that grief has different stages through which one must journey in order to ‘heal’. This belief stems from the work of psychiatrist, author and death-and-dying expert Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.
What is often not realized, however, is that Kubler-Ross developed those stages to describe the process her patients experienced as they were coming to terms with their terminal illnesses. It was only later that those stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance were applied to those who were grieving.
Side By Side With Grief
If only it were so easy to simply go through the different stages and then place grief aside. “There. Done that. Check that off my list. Time to move on.” But sometimes all that can be done is to say “Hello again, Grief”.
Grief, by it’s very nature, ignores the stages we humans so genteelly try to impose upon it. Grief is:
- Gnashing of teeth
- Meant to be done in community
- Not meant to be a solitary experience
- Full of purpose
- The sound of life
Grief Is The Sound Of Life
Yes, during the past two years there are many times I’ve been ambushed by grief for Shiloh. The most recent was when I had my ears re-pierced. I had stopped wearing earrings because Shiloh liked to play with them and pull on them. I was prepared to grieve, but I was not prepared for the onslaught of active grief that hit me when I walked out of the shop and saw a team of horses.
Pet Grief and the Holidays Workshop
Grief is never easy, and is particularly complex at the holiday season. If you have been ambushed by grief this holiday season and are wondering how to find a new normal in a season based in tradition, I encourage you to attend my workshop “Pet Grief and the Holidays“, December 14, 2017 at 7PM MOUNTAIN. Check your time zone here.
The workshop will cover:
- ways to help you authentically cope with your grief while reconciling the holiday spirit
- how to cope with holiday traditions
- ways you can memorialize your pet
- how to know when it’s time to call on the help of a professional
You will have a chance at the end of the workshops to ask questions and share your stories. If you are unable to attend live, the workshop recording will be available to all registrants.
If you are grieving for your beloved animal pal, I hope you are able to find times of peace and relief from the grief you’re carrying.
Here’s To New Beginnings,