All life is energy – including our thoughts and our emotions. Grief is one of those energies which carries its own signature vibration. People report feeling a tightness in their chest, or a heaviness in their heart after the loss of a beloved companion animal. Of course we can experience the same emotion when we lose people close to us and even when we lose a home or a job or a friendship, even the loss of the person we thought we were. Grief comes in many forms but as we work with people and their pets, we will refer to the loss of a pet, because in all honesty, this loss feels just a bit different than the others for many reasons.
Animals don’t grow up, they never leave home, we never argue with them and our time spent with them is comparable to none. They literally raise us and the planet up. We feel great around them and they heal us in ways nothing else can. Animals bring so much joy to our lives that it makes perfect sense that when they leave we feel that all joy has left with them.
The energy of grief can weigh us down, causing one to feel depressed, sad and even at times – defeated. Despite our best efforts we can’t shift it alone nor should we. But there are ways in which we can help alleviate the heaviness but it requires a little bit of effort on our part.
Get up, get dressed and get out the door- that can feel like the last thing we want to do, especially in the days following the passing of our beloved pet. If we have other pets to walk, then it becomes a little easier. If we have family helping us along the way, it doesn’t feel so hopeless, but if we are alone and the house is quiet, then we can find it challenging. But we must keep the energy moving otherwise stagnation can set in and that’s not beneficial.
Get creative – creativity moves energy in an upwards and forward motion. Pulling out pictures, getting a scrapbook and making a nice collage can be sad but also healing. Crying helps ease the pain of loss and it always feels medicinal afterwards, as though a small space has opened up for a little more light to shine through.
Seek out a healing therapist ¬– the energy of grief can lodge in the physical body and anything we can do to move our bodies during this time can feel quite therapeutic. Massage, Reiki, chiropractic adjustments, Healing Touch, water therapy and so much more can help move the energy of grief out of our bodies leaving us with a feeling of clarity, lightness and hope about the future. In this space we find we can move with a little more grace through this time.
Stay connected to your tribe – families come in all shapes and sizes and staying connected to those that support and nourish your spirit can make the days following loss a little more bearable. Your tribe knows when to be silly and when to be quiet, when to hug and when to say goodnight. They know that sometimes just being together watching movies, eating take-out can be the best medicine.
Take time out from routine – going back to work isn’t a bad thing, especially if we have been at home taking care of a sick or elderly pet. People need to be needed and by doing so we give other people an opportunity to step up and help us. It can be something as simple as going to lunch and sharing pictures and stories or even just having coffee with a co-worker. Animals have shown us routine is good! That being said, the world moves at a pace that is opposite to grief, and in honoring the life of our loved one and the process of grieving, taking time out from the busyness of life is vital.
Connect with spirit/nature/life – if we have a spiritual support system we are more likely to accept the loss and understand there is more to life that we cannot fully comprehend but yet feel is true. We look at nature and how everything has a season, how everything is at some stage of living or decaying, and we recognize we are a part of that process too. And yet on a deeper level, we feel no life is ever really gone. Nature can carry us to that realization, so putting ourselves out there in Spirit’s Garden is helpful during this time.
Take baths – this may sound silly but bathing is super helpful in moving energy along. Water is vital to life and it is vital to healing. We can sit in a lovely warm bath and feel comforted and safe and it helps us sleep better. We can go to the ocean and take a plunge or we can go for a swim in the local swimming pool or at the gym. Water is cleansing.
Music – music can heal in ways nothing else can. It can move us to tears of happy remembrance and it raises our vibration. So seek out what tunes move your soul.
There are many other ways to move energy, particularly the energy of grief. I believe we find our own ways to move energy that are as individual as the relationship we had with our pet, but what one can be assured of is that as long as we keep moving through the process and attend to the cares of the heart, we will continue to heal. We won’t ever be the same but that’s what life calls us to – to change and to grow in love through it all.