Posts Tagged With: grieving

Grief Revisited

Grief is a fascinating experience.  I have felt it several times in all its intensity but never with the death of a deeply loved and intensely close being.  I went through the ups and downs of my daughter’s failing health, lung transplant and cancer.  We came close to losing her, but we didn’t and still haven’t.  She’s doing really well!  I have been grieving the mortality of my dad as his health has been failing significantly in the last few months, but he’s still here and I get to have sweet special moments with him.

Mighty Maya!

Mighty Maya!

My current grief is a result of my tiny seven pound dog being snatched out of our yard about two weeks ago most likely by a coyote. There have been sightings of a mountain lion in our area but we didn’t see the creature only its paw prints in the mud near our fence and on the top rail of our fence. Whether coyote or mountain lion, it leaped from the field next to our house right into our yard and decided to take Maya. We were spared the gruesome remains of her but there was plenty of evidence to indicate she had been mortally wounded and removed.

It was a normal morning. I let her off the bed onto the floor (she was too tiny to jump), and she promptly headed outside to go to the bathroom. That’s all she ever did in the morning. Just a quick trip out and right back in. She has been doing this routine for the eight years we have lived in this house and never had a problem. But on this day, she didn’t come back in. When I went to look for her, she was gone. Vanished. I had no idea at that moment what had happened to her.

As the details came together, I was heartbroken. I sobbed and sobbed for the first two days. I was useless. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I got a warning for speeding. I told the officer I wasn’t paying attention to my speed only thinking about the death of my dog…I guess my authentic tears really got to him. He said he had to walk away before he started crying, too. He was sweet. That was no excuse for speeding, and I owned that I was being unsafe. I decided I better limit my driving for a few days and when I did drive I had to intently focus.

I thought about her tragic death which brought on heaving sobs. At first I was just really sad, then I moved to beating myself up for not going outside with her. If I had been there maybe I could have shooed away the animal. Then I moved to being mad at the circumstances because I just want my dog back. I want her to be curled up on the couch, taking all of about a 10 inch radius of space. I want her cute little face to look inquisitively at me while I ask her questions or talk to her. I want her company on my walks and I don’t want to have to go through the trouble of deciding if I want another dog (do not read that as I want someone to surprise me with a puppy! No, no, no!).

I am now deathly afraid to walk out on my deck at night because I’m literally gripped with fear that something is out there looking for something to devour. I don’t feel safe. When I go on walks, I am looking around, certain I’m going to get attacked. I never worried about these things before. I thought about it at times because we live in an area where coyotes live, too but I was never afraid of running into one. I’m only 12 days into this particular grief process and I realize that most of what I’m going through is normal, but when you’re going through it, it doesn’t feel normal!

The best thing I can do for myself is bring others into my grieving, which I have done. I am also allowing myself to feel all the emotions that come up. I let the tears fall. I notice the fear and understand why it is there. I feel the anger and get why I would be mad. As time is moving on, I’m noticing the intensity of the emotions is dissipating. I can focus on tasks again (including driving!) and I’m accepting reality, well, sort of.

It’s interesting to grieve the untimely and tragic death of a pet. I did not expect the intensity to be like this. My husband’s uncle died last week. I was sad for him and his family but he wasn’t in my life on a regular basis. I had only known him for eight years and saw him briefly a handful of times. I felt more sad for others in that situation than myself. My dog has been a constant companion. She adored me. I was definitely her favorite and everyone knew it. I’m realizing now how much I bonded with her. Our bonds can be with skin or fur…and the loss of either can be painful. I also believe we learn to connect with others more deeply when we are willing to connect with our grief.

Categories: Acceptance, Emotional Healing, Growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Time for Reflecting

The New Year usually stirs a desire within me to get away for a bit and look back over the past year. Unfortunately, I can easily slip through the holidays and into the next year without taking the time to reflect. This year was too eventful for me not to protect the valuable processing. Several times in the last two weeks I have stopped for just a split second and felt a pressing to linger and ponder but each time I was in the middle of a pool of family; people I love and moments I didn’t want to lose. So I made a promise to myself during those bits of seconds, that I would hit pause before jumping into 2014 to be still and take stock of my year.

The first six months of 2013 were as I expected. Few surprises popped up until May 30. That was the beginning of a tremendously unpredictable half a year. That was my daughter’s first hospitalization of the year. Hospitalizations have happened many times in the past but last year she spent 4 out of six weeks in the hospital. She was in for two weeks, out for two weeks, then right back in again for two more weeks. The reality of her failing lungs could no longer hide. And as many of you know, the rest of 2013 involved moving to North Carolina so Anna could receive her life-saving double lung transplant. She did, she healed and now we are home. Nine words can sum up the last six months of 2013. There is something very empty about succinctly summing up events in our lives. It really isn’t that simple, is it? We fought, we separated, we divorced. He got sick, he was diagnosed, he died. She was challenged, she sought help, she overcame.

Just a few words aren’t enough. Just a quick ponder isn’t sufficient. We must take time to reflect on the happenings in our lives. Time that offers a gift to our deepest selves to grieve and to heal. For the bright parts of our lives, reflecting provides the sweet soaking in of something wonderful rather than swiftly glossing over it. Give yourself a present no one else can, time to consider the last year. To look over the highs and lows and everything in between. Let the memories come and go as they please. Allow the tears or smiles freedom to exist in any manner of hue they desire. Give a nod to new awarenesses and growth within. Notice the areas still lacking with a gentle acceptance steering clear of berating yourself.

We don’t just look once and then shut it all down, thoughts and memories will come and go throughout our lifetime but the concentrated time given to pondering is powerful. Be intentional and give yourself the gift of reflecting.

Categories: Growth, Self-Help | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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