As I have spent some time this last week processing the recent loss of my pet and life companion, Misha it has led me to ponder on the subject of loss in general.  Being human we will all encounter varying degrees of loss in a life time - so learning how to process through it will be an important part of our life journey.

As I have looked back over my life I can attest that there have been many experiences that I would call "loss".  Death of ones we hold dear - or even death of those who were challenging for us, but still leave us with emotional issues to heal.  There are losses in relationships - parents, siblings, divorce, significant relationships, children, pets and friends.  There may be health issues, career or financial loss and downturns.  There are times that have called for the death of an expectation of how life should have been.  Depending on how much our heart was invested with the person or experience then the degree of loss felt and grief needing to be processed will be of corresponding magnitude.

There are predictable reactions to loss that seem to evolve in stages.  The first is the denial - deer in the headlights - this can't have happened part.  Which then is usually followed by the anger emotion - questioning, second guessing and blaming phase.  Sometimes if there is a possibility for saving a situation we may go into the bargaining process trying to buy more time for the preferred outcome.  When the inevitability of the situation is clear, we then enter into the sadness, depression stage that really is the indication that we are moving into a place of accepting what has occurred and acknowledging our loss - but still having sadness attached to it.  All this will finally lead to the place of greater acceptance of the circumstance that has occurred and that we cannot change.  It is the acceptance that says its going to be okay.  This is a process to move through and the goal is to get to grateful acceptance without getting stuck in any of the earlier phases.

In any grief process it is very important to allow time to move through these phases and allowing yourself to feel the associated emotions.  I found that as I was feeling the loss and sadness over Misha it caused me to reflect on the loss of my other pets.  I have spent some time mentally remembering each of them and the joy that they brought into my life.  I also thought about what each of them taught me while they were with me and I honor each of them for their gifts - and in remembering they still bring a smile to my heart.

As we are busy doing life we don't always have the maturity, wisdom and willingness to honor and process loss and grief as it occurs.  These emotions may become stored until another experience of loss taps into these held emotions and provides the opportunity to feel, acknowledge, honor, release and heal the earlier loss.  In any examined life it is essential to ask if there is stored grief that has not been processed and then to have the strength and courage the moment is right to feel the wound and heal the pain.

We picked up Misha's ashes yesterday and we will do a gratitude and honoring ceremony for her and then her remains will join the others who are already buried in my back yard.  I appreciated the opportunity she has given me to remember and appreciate not only her, but the other people, pets and circumstances that have been sources of loss in my life and to evaluate what remains to heal.  I have come to value and appreciate each of them and am grateful for the richness of my life because of them.  Feeling loss is a gift that reminds us how much we care.


In peace............Margie