Have you lost a loved one? Find Out How to Start to Heal.
I lost my beautiful rescue cat Nala at age nineteen almost a year ago and I have several friends dealing with terrible grief from the loss of their pets right now. You should not underestimate or feel bad abut how painful this loss of a beloved family member can be.
When we lose a pet, the loss can be so profound that when we are healing, being able to utilize practical strategies to deal with the grief can empower us. Also knowing that you are not alone. What you are feeling is valid and very real and that we can unite together in support of one another.
I had the opportunity to talk to my friend and grief expert Marybeth Haines about her new book From Empty to Empowered- Dealing with Sudden Pet Loss. She kindly shared several practical strategies for coping from her first book The Power of Pets – 7 Effective Tools To Heal From Pet Loss.
“Pets are for LIFE. Let’s honor, remember and celebrate together.” Marybeth Haines
From her experiences growing up, Marybeth learned that the bond and connection that we have with animals is one that cannot be compared to any other. Animals are non-judgmental, remain present -‘in the now’ and give to us what she likes to call “gifts” (gifts of love, laughter, someone to listen, family etc).
Living on a hobby farm, she had the pleasure of close connections with the farm animals – dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens, goats, horses, fish, ducks…she always had a pet of some sort. Her parents taught her to treat animals with respect and to treat them well. When it came time for an animal to pass on, it was emotional. However, she was a small child and seemed to accept that as a part of life from the beginning.
She still has memories of her father taking the family out to where they would bury their pets and say a prayer. This area became what they would refer to as the pet cemetery for many years to come. These animals were actually her teachers and had many lessons to share.
Inspiration and Guidance
One of my most recent pets was my inspiration in writing my first book and the creation of The Power of Pets – my little guy “Kitty”. Kitty came to live with me when he was nine years old. A beautiful silky black cat with green eyes and a purr that would make you want to just listen. Your whole body would relax in the meditative sound of his stillness.
I would often refer to Kitty as an “old soul” as there was something in his eyes that told me he had MUCH wisdom to share….and he did! Kitty passed peacefully at age 20. After Kitty passed, I held him in my arms and told him how much I loved him and thanked him for being in my life. Kitty taught me the valuable gift of what being a family is about.
I have since felt Kitty’s guidance very closely and he is my inspiration for writing my first book. Using this inspiration to help others in their experience with healing brings me the feeling of peace….a way I can give back to my little man, Kitty.
As I wrote my two books, it has helped me with my healing process as I have been able to continue this journey with many blessings.
Before I began writing From Empty To Empowered, I adopted a dog named Nemo from a rescue. My life has never been the same since this little guy has come in to bless it.
Shortly after the adoption, I met a wonderful women named Adrienne who was also in rescue. Adrienne shared with me the story of her dog Rosie, who was also a rescue dog and how her unexpected passing brought forward deep grief. She was still searching for healing. She asked me for some literature on the unexpected loss of a pet. When I did my own research, as well as reached out to colleagues, I found that there really wasn’t much out there.
That was where I knew I needed to make a change and help others in this area. There needed to be a system of support so that Adrienne and others could heal in a safe space with unconditional support. And therefore, this book; From Empty To Empowered has been dedicated to Adrienne and Rosie.
When it comes to healing from pet loss, we are wondering, how do we release the pain from an unexpected loss?
How do we take the steps of healing from grief knowing that deep inside, we are screaming for a reprieve of the myriad of emotions our body and mind are going through?
When you begin reading the book, you might be at a stage where you are not sure where to go. You might be having many different thoughts, emotions and feelings going on.
In society some are very supportive of the loss of a pet and in others, are not. You might be feeling like you shouldn’t be grieving so hard and questioning/being hard on yourself. This is all normal and this is also where having support is very important.
So at the beginning of the book, I invite you to take a journey with me. We begin at the eye of a storm, symbolizing where you currently are. We begin climbing a mountain that seems almost impossible to climb. Together, we move towards the peak of that mountain knowing that with each step, the goal of reaching the top becomes more visible. With steps of action, the top becomes closer and closer. As we reach the top of the mountain, things begin to look clearer and you start to feel calm. We reach the top, are safe and we did it!
Experiencing the unexpected loss of a pet can feel like the same process however you feel like you’re climbing that mountain over and over again with no rest of known outcome.
And I ask you the question: So how do we climb that mountain and pace ourselves so we can get to a level of comfort and sense that we are going to be okay?
When you identify what is happening in the shock of the moment and take positive steps towards regaining perspective, you empower yourself in the healing process. At the same time, you gain perspective on how to take care of your body so that you can make decisions with a clearer mind. Your mind is clearer when you are calm and not in a constant state of panic. You are experiencing the grief of losing your pet and at the same time you are taking care of you so that you can be “present” in every way possible to grieve and to heal.
7 Practical Tools to Help you Heal from Pet Loss
1) Recognize That Healing Needs To Take Place.
2) Give Yourself Full Permission To Heal.
3) Learn About What You Are Feeling and Why.
4) Find Ways To Personally Empower Yourself To Heal.
5) Receive Guidance And Have A Support System. No One Has To Heal Alone.
6) Take Action – Start Your Journey Of Healing.
7) Reflect On The “Gifts” Your Pet Gave You.
By taking this journey together with me, you learn practical steps that you can put into action so you can move away from what feels like chaos, understand what your body is going through so you can understand yourself and your reactions better. This book presents tools and steps to help you take care of yourself and soothe any grief you may be experiencing.”
Ways to remember your pet:
• Celebrate the great memories of your pet
• Donate to a pet rescue or charitable organization in your pets honor or volunteer
• Create a small memorial at your home and/or visit your pet’s burial site
• Plant something as a living memorial
Check out our blog hop pal Spencer the Goldendoodle’s : Pet Memorial Book, DIY, Paying it Forward for more inspiration!
Beautiful Poem- A Love Story
Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:
Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.
Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”
Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “Oh….Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!” Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her! Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.
Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?” Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered,” Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”
You might also enjoy our tribute song for the love of dogs, especially rescue dogs, and their Forever Love
Each year on the second Sunday in September, people join together in celebrating National Pet Memorial Day. On this day, pet owners honor their pets, both past and present, and think about and share with others the important role that their beloved pets have played, and do play, in their lives. National Pet Memorial Day was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories.
My friend Valerie over at Puppy Tales Studio also had a very moving article on dealing with Pet Loss that is worth reading on her blog HERE.
Check out some other great factual books for dog lovers – Top Dog Books Post HERE