Grieving and Healing-A Journey to Understanding
Have you experienced the loss of your dog? Have you wondered about how you can heal from the grief? Recently we have all been discussing senior pets and we have had several community members lose loved ones. We did an introduction to dealing with loss and shared poems and suggestions HERE.
This Wordless Wednesday, we would like to share some thoughts on how to deal with a pet passing over the Rainbow Bridge from author and expert Marybeth Haines. Marybeth explains the five stages in the journey to understanding and dealing with loss below.
I believe that we are all different and that everyone heals at different rates. When it comes to dealing with loss and the time it takes, it’s important to remember that there is no one “right” way to heal.
Why are we often so hard on ourselves when it comes to “getting over” loss?
After grieving myself and seeing others who are experiencing the same, I decided to learn about the five stages of grief. How do we deal with the feelings? How do we go to work, take care of our loved ones and ourselves and get back into life? Perhaps if we understand about these stages, we can apply them to our own individual situation.
Stage 1- Denial:
Denial is similar to the feeling of numbness and shock. You know when you accidentally cut yourself or fall down and it takes you a moment to really understand what has happened? Our body has an incredible way of protecting itself – it goes into a state of shock so our nervous system does not get overwhelmed. At first, we shut out the reality and create a different reality. We can’t believe what has happened.
Stage 2- Anger:
Many times we are taught to not show our anger or keep the peace. Anger is often a misunderstood emotion. When applied at the right time in the right way, anger can assist the grief healing process. By releasing anger in talking, expressing, drawing, writing, creating we can turn this uncomfortable feeling into something positive and get some release.
Stage 3- Bargaining:
Instead of experiencing the painful reality of losing your pet, you may find yourself making deals with God or a higher power to delay the inevitable. This stage can distract us from the pain we are experiencing. We often ask ourselves the “what if” questions during this stage.
Stage 4- Depression:
Depression may be one of the most difficult stages to deal with although all stages have their own struggles. By educating ourselves, we can shed light on this stage of depression, which can vary from mild to severe. Remember, everyone is different however, we are human and human beings are complex and deserving of nurturing and understanding.
Stage 5- Acceptance:
Acceptance comes after time and work however it does not always mean you are over the loss or are fully healed. You begin to deal with the loss in a different light. Even though it is dark at times, you realize there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I used to think that accepting was giving up. When I realized that there are some things that can’t be changed I decided to embrace it and somehow use it as a learning tool. By embracing the change – I actually wrote my book The Power of Pets. It’s funny how some very difficult times can turn into something that brings you confidence.
Read more on Dealing with Loss
Remember and celebrate your pet with a tribute in our In Loving Memory R.I.P. section.
You may go through difficult times again and again but you get to know that you can get through and somehow, reach a place where you find peace. I wish you peace on your journey.
Marybeth Haines is a grief consultant and educator, and the author of The Power of Pets – 7 Effective Tools To Heal From Pet Loss. Her specialized focus is providing support in pet bereavement. She holds the strong belief that pets can teach people many things about life and so can the grief associated with their death. Marybeth empowers people to make choices that promote action, personal growth and healing.
Go to her Website: www.authormarybethhaines.com for a FREE copy of her e-book.