The Other Side

Wait for me, my dearest friend. I know for you it will only be a moment … the blink of an eye. But for me, it’ll be much, much longer. You don’t know what it means that you have cancer just as you don’t know that you have seizures. To you, your human is acting weird, just crying and you have to come and fix it. You could do that yesterday – and you did. But that was then and right now you’re not here. Why do I feel this so deeply?

You have had a good life, you and I are inseparable – always at my side but now you’re somewhere I can’t go and I miss you already.  Do you remember that day when you were waiting for the rest of us to come home? You laid down there in the yard and stared at the driveway, waiting and waiting – I think, that’s what I’m going to picture. You’re already at home, looking towards the driveway and waiting for me to return. For you, it’ll only be a moment and we’re both reunited and everything will be alright forever.

Waiting


 

“Many times, I’ve had friends guiltily confide to me that they grieved more over the loss of a dog than over the loss of friends or relatives. Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one. Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook – no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service – to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.

Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners to integrate the death into their lives and help them move forward.” (Source: Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend)


“While we all respond to loss differently, the level of grief you experience will often depend on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant your pet was to you, the more intense the emotional pain you’ll feel. The role the animal played in your life can also have an impact. For example, if your pet was a working dog, service animal, or therapy animal, then you’ll not only be grieving the loss of a companion but also the loss of a coworker, the loss of your independence, or the loss of emotional support. If you lived alone and the pet was your only companion, coming to terms with their loss can be even harder. And if you were unable to afford expensive veterinary treatment to prolong your pet’s life, you may even feel a profound sense of guilt.”

(Source: Coping with Losing a Pet)


Things to Remember

The experience of loss is different for everyone and can present unique challenges.

The deafening silence – the silence in your home after the death of a pet may seem excruciatingly loud. While your animal companion occupies physical space in your life and your home, many times their presence is felt more with your senses. When that pet is no longer there, the lack of their presence – the silence – becomes piercing. It becomes the reality of the “presence of the absence.” Merely being aware of this stark reality will assist in preparing you for the flood of emotions.

The special bond with your pet—the relationship shared with your pet is a special and unique bond, a tie that some might find difficult to understand. There will be well-meaning friends and family members who will think that you should not mourn for your pet or who will tell you that you should not be grieving as hard as you are because “it’s just a cat” or “just a dog.”  Your grief is normal and the relationship you shared with your special friend needs to be mourned.

Grief can’t be ranked—sometimes our heads get in the way of our heart’s desire to mourn by trying to justify the depth of our emotion. Some people will then want to “rank” their grief, pitting their grief emotions with others who may be “worse.” While this is normal, your grief is your grief and deserves the care and attention of anyone who is experiencing a loss.

Questions of spirituality—during this time in your grief journey, you may find yourself questioning your beliefs regarding pets and the after-life. Many people around you will also have their own opinions. It will be important during this time for you to find the answers right for you and your individual and personal beliefs.

(Source: Coping with the loss of a pet)

Advertisements

God, Guns, Laws, and Social Media

It wasn’t the typical kind of conversation you’d expect in a convenience store. It started with the still raw anger and confusion over the recent school shooting elsewhere in our state. It’s not like we’re one of those states where things like that just happen every so often, so we were still processing what it means to us ordinary everyday folk. The people involved in the conversation were young and old, men and women, believers and unbelievers.

Some just couldn’t understand why anybody would need an AR-15 or bump stock.

“A kid just shouldn’t be able to squeeze a trigger and fire off dozens of rounds in an instant.”

Others felt that …

“It starts at home, you teach your kids from as early on as possible that guns are not toys.”

You lock up your guns tighter than Fort Knox; a kid just shouldn’t be able to get access to guns.”

A younger guy pointed out:

I blame social media. These kids are relentless online and there’s just no escape from it. Not like how it was in the old days where you left school at school – it didn’t haunt you day and night when you’re at home.”

But the statement that got the most agreement was:

People just don’t believe in God anymore.”

God. Guns. Laws. Social Media. How I would have loved to have everyone keep on talking about it – hash something out. Figure out what we’re going to do to make sure it never happens again. But if anything, having eavesdropped on all that – it occurs to me that there’s no shortage of confusion. You can’t make everyone believe in God. you can’t ban all young people off social media. (They’ll just create profiles with fake ages so they can participate on them anyway, just as the older millenials had done before them.) You can’t ensure every household teaches about gun safety to their kids the same way – or the right way. And it seems that laws themselves are not capable of ensuring the best outcome given the impossibility of setting them in motion in the first place because of the efforts of the lobbying groups.

Still, I was proud of my middle of nowhere town. At least for a few minutes we were really listening to each other. I know; in a week it’ll be back to the same old, same old – but for now, it made me thing that if we could do this much – then we just might be able to make a difference … but really, it does start with listening. A grandmother came across her grandson’s journal and foiled a potential school shooting because she was listening – and paying attention. Maybe if we all learned how to listen to others who are crying out for help, and learned how to stand up beside them so that they didn’t feel that they had to stand behind a gun to be heard then we could make some real change that makes a real difference and really saves lives.