Grieving The Ungrievable by Sheryl Lynn

I wrote the following article six years ago for the website http://www.dogsadversereactions.com   In this moment, it’s the best I have to offer following the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and now in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.  What can one say when faced with sudden death, violent death, senseless death?  How can we begin to heal? 

I know this article is intended to comfort animal guardians as they grieve their companiona.  Even though it was not intended to comfort humans as they grieve their human loved ones,  I’ve been told it’s been helpful to many as they grieve the death of anyone they love.  Love is love.  Loss is loss.  And grief is one more experience we go through to help our hearts expand in love.   If you’re grieving any loss of any loved one, I send my love and blessings to you.  And I hope, from my heart, that reading this, in some small way, helps:

Grieving the Ungrievable
Copywrite 2006
by Sheryl Hirsch-Kramer

The following article has been provided by the above author for publication on www.DogsAdverseReactions.com. All copyrights and electronic archival rights are held by the author; any reproduction of this material in whole or in part must have the author’s approval. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual well-being. The views offered are intended solely to expand your possibilities in the experience of life. If your grief process is prolonged or severe, the author recommends that you consult a physician or trained therapist.

 

I’ve been where you now are.

My beloved animal companion, Chelsea, passed away from renal failure in 2003,
and a friend’s beloved animal companion passed away from a lethal combination of prescription and over-the-counter medications in 2005.

I’ve cried more tears than I thought I was capable of crying,
I’ve dried my eyes, and then I’ve cried again.
I’ve asked my brain to explain to my heart why my loving canine friends died their excruciatingly painful deaths.
I’ve consulted books, articles, vets, breeders, friends, pet loss support hot lines, and spiritual advisors in my quest for peace.
I’ve prayed for comprehension, and I’ve prayed for healing.
I’ve allowed the passage of time to begin to dull the pain of loss, one day at a time.
I wrote Nine Roses for Chelsea: A Spiritual Journey; by sharing Chelsea’s and my extraordinary story, I believe I have helped many others to better understand and care for their animal companions and for themselves.

I’ve learned that each of us heals in our own way and in our own time,
and I’ve learned that the path to healing begins with our loving ourselves enough to be willing to release the pain and guilt so that we can begin to move into love, forgiveness, gratitude, and acceptance.
I know how hard this can be.
Even if we consciously want to do this, there’s often an unconscious part of ourselves that resists doing this.
By holding onto the pain, we often feel that we’re holding on to the animal.

I have gradually come to realize that the love I have felt and still feel for my animal friends makes my heart feel much happier than the pain of loss I have felt and still occasionally feel.
I’d much rather feel love than loss.
Feeling the love allows me to fully engage once more in the flow of life;
I believe that’s what I am supposed to do for as long as I am alive.

When the feelings of loss come up from time to time, I acknowledge the feelings and then concentrate on filling my heart with the love and sweet memories that will always connect me with my animal friends.
My animal friends have been my best teachers of unconditional love and fidelity,
and I honor them by sharing all the love that I can possibly share with other animals and people in my life.
By doing this, I am nurturing and adding to the love my animal friends gave me.
I consciously appreciate my animal friends now in Spirit for having opened my heart each day they were here and for continuing to open my heart a little more each day.

 

I just reread what I wrote and am appreciating how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve healed within myself.

 

So will you.

I’m blessed to know loving people with great wisdom to share.
They’ve helped me, and I’m now hoping their words will help you.
My intention is that at least one thought shared in this article will activate a healing response within you:

“Most people I know are human. Because they’re human, they cannot know everything that’s going to be good for their dogs. It’s all a learning curve. I’ve seen instances where what’s happened with one dog has taught us to do things differently with all our dogs.

“If it’s not time for the dog to die, then the dog’s not going to die. I really feel this is true. I’ve seen instances of dogs I really thought would die but didn’t, and I’ve seen instances of dogs I really thought would live but didn’t. I’ve seen it happen where dogs who are ready to go want to be around their people, and I’ve seen it happen where dogs who are ready to go arrange to die when their people are away, if their people won’t be able to handle watching them go. Focus on the many good memories you’ve shared with your animal companion, and know that the passage of time lessens the pain.” Pat Gamsby, Norwegian Elkhound breeder and Classical Homeopath, Montville, New Jersey

“There are no accidents in this world. Everything was meant to be. No one passes away a second before they are supposed to pass away, and no one passes away a second after they are supposed to pass away. We have to do everything possible to avoid making mistakes in caring for those we love. However, if something happens that is beyond our control, or if we realize that we could have done something differently, we have to accept that the passing was meant to be. We must forgive ourselves for what we did or did not do, we must forgive the animal for leaving us, and we must forgive God.” Rabbi Moses, spiritual leader of Congregation Ohr Penimi, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada

“None of us is supposed to be here forever. It’s part of life to live and then pass on. When our life has been fulfilled, we return to where we came from. It’s a natural part of life. Every animal we live with is a soulmate. Your soulmate is meant to be with you and then move on. The next one is another soulmate, and the one after that is another soulmate. Eventually, everyone moves on. Know that you did everything you could do for your companion animal. Don’t second-guess yourself. Instead of putting all your faith in a drug that may or may not work for a particular animal, know that the drug will work if it is supposed to work. You did what you were supposed to do, and so did your pet.” Rosemary Manziano, DVM, Colts Neck Animal Clinic, Colts Neck, New Jersey

And finally….

“When, after seven years together, our quiet, elegant doggie daughter Ellsee passed away, in a characteristically elegant and quiet way, we needed a way to channel our grief. Volunteering as afternoon dog walkers at the local animal shelter gave us a way and a means to alleviate sadness while sharing our time with dozens of loveable dogs of all types, sizes and spirits. One young underweight scraggly terrier mix named Natalie leapt right into our hearts as our special project. With our careful brushing, Natalie’s pathetic coat became fluffy and shiny. Natalie gobbled the extra food and treats we smuggled in to help her attain a normal weight. We all benefited from the daily walks and runs, the hugs and positive talk, “You are such a good girl. You are such a pretty doggie,” etc. Before long, Natalie was the smiling, shining star of the shelter — so healthy and cute she was enthusiastically adopted by a loving family with children. In my heart, I know Natalie will joyfully contribute to those wonderful people for many years. Putting our grief for our Ellsee into action for other four-leggeds, especially for Natalie, was our best tribute to a lovely spirit…a spirit that’s always with us.” Cait Stanley and James Napier, Hot Springs, Arkansas

I wish you healing, and I send love and blessings to you – Sheryl

Sheryl Hirsch-Kramer is the author of Nine Roses for Chelsea: A Spiritual Journey, the uncommon tale of a soulmate love shared by a human and an animal that led both on a spiritual journey continuing beyond death. Chelsea, a champion Norwegian Elkhound, was and is Sheryl’s greatest teacher. The extraordinary connection between Chelsea and Sheryl led Sheryl to write her book and offer lectures on the soul purpose of animals, animal communication, and how we humans can help our animal companions lead happier, healthier and longer lives.