Grief is a natural part of my work everyday. As a grief counselor, I assist those journeying through grief to the other side on a daily basis. But even I, am not immune to grief itself. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of an fundraising event benefiting a pet charity. Casey, my much loved rat terrier made the journey with me. Nestling into her bed in the backseat, it seemed like yesterday that I first rescued her from San Francisco. This month marks our 11th year together, her 17th on this earthly plane. She had a harder time climbing up into the back seat, her cloudy eyes looking out as we journeyed from Venice towards downtown LA. She has been slowing down this past year..naturally given she is 119 in human years. Yet, yesterday, it really hit me. My very social butterfly did her tour of “sniffing butts” and making friends, but for most part, she was more comfortable sleeping on her bed behind the booth, anchoring the event with her presence.
Given the theme was “wine and dogs” with wine tastings, the mood was celebratory. Pet loss was not a topic most pet lovers wanted to think about. We had our pet loss products and services available, along with some of Luxepet’s luxeblessing charms. The St. Francis Pet Tags to protect your pets in particular was a big hit. Most that stopped by all knew someone who had recently lost a pet. Others had senior pets of their own and were not ready to think of that day that was approaching.
That day that was approaching.
It was yesterday that I came to terms that this would probably be the year for Casey to wind down and make her way towards rainbow bridge. In the past month, she’s let us know she wanted to be carried for the latter part of her walks with her border collie sister, Lulu. The time spent sleeping during the day, or sunning herself in the yard as I work has increased while her appetite has been decreasing. She still loves the homecooked meals served daily, and for the first time, she lets Lulu finish her meal for her.
As I put the finishing touches on my pet loss book for children, I wonder if my first reading will be to my 3 year old, Kayman.
Wells of emotions came forward last night as I wrote about non-judgment and guilt surrounding pet loss. Tears of anticipatory loss. I re-read what I had written and advice given to clients. This morning, I am following my own advice. I acknowledge my feelings and allow myself to be with the pain. Practicing what I preach. I recognize my own humanity, vulnerability. I am grateful to be present in my emotions. This is part of my strength, not a weakness, as I have shared with clients.