Losing someone you love is painful, whether it’s a human being, or an animal we’ve cherished as a family member. The loss of a loved one triggers the grieving process, and that’s exactly what it is—a process that takes time and support and patience.
When it comes to grieving for our animals, however, there don’t tend to be as many supports in place to help us in that process. We live in a sanitized society where authentic grief for a lost animal goes against the norms of our culture. I’ve experienced this firsthand with the passing of each of my own animal family members, struggling to process my grief in a culture that just doesn’t allow the space needed for it.
This reality only compounded my sadness, leaving me feeling isolated and alone in my grief. What I really needed was a community that would allow me to grieve in a genuine way. And I realized that if I felt this way when I lost a beloved animal, others may also have the same feelings and need for support.
I started a monthly Animal Grieving Circle to address this need, and if you are looking for a safe community that both commemorates your animals and honors your individual grief, I invite you to join me.
A CEREMONIAL CIRCLE
The purpose of this Circle is ceremonial, to honor the loss of our beloved animal pals, witness each other’s grief, and provide a space for what we’re feeling to be understood and validated. In the Circle we support each other in our grief, whether its cause is the passing of a beloved animal, the anticipation of loss when an animal enters the hospice stage, end of life issues, death, disappearance, or surrender through life changes.
This Circle isn’t a place to ‘fix’ someone else’s grief, nor is it a place where your own grief will be erased. Rather, it is a safe, confidential space to share your unique experiences with grieving the loss of your animal pal and to listen to others in mutual support.
Circles start with a ceremony for the animals followed by a time of reflection around a grief-related topic like loneliness, regret, relief, or coping, then concludes with time for sharing.
For each Circle, an altar is set up to honor the animals who are ‘attending’. Human attendees have the option of sending one picture of the animal being honored for placement on the altar.
HOW IT WORKS
Each Circle is kept to 11 human attendees honoring one of their beloved animal pals. The Circle is purposefully kept small so everyone who wishes has the space to talk about the animal they have lost and to honor the feelings they have around that loss. Because the Circle holds space for a highly sensitive, personal, and complex experience, there will also be times when we sit and support each other in silence.
There is no charge for the Circle, and people may register for as many Circles as they like; attendance is on a first come, first served basis.
The Circle is not meant to be a counseling session and should not be taken as one. Nor will it ‘fix’ or ‘cure’ your grief. It offers community to those who want to remember and commemorate their animals while also caring for themselves.
Approximately 75 minutes in length, the Circle will take place on Zoom and will not be recorded; however, attendees will receive a picture of the altar and a copy of any meditation that might be used.
SCHEDULE OF CIRCLES
September Circle: TBA
October Circle: TBA
November Circle: TBA