Not everybody is aware that we’re grieving almost every day… Most of us are only talking about grief when a loved one died.
But we’re grieving a loss already when we’re cleaning out our house. We hold a vase in our hands with cracks and scratches. This vase was with us probably for a long time. It was a gift and reminds us of somebody who thought of us on that special day of ours (birthday, anniversary etc.). We took it out on special occasions (family reunion, christmas etc.). Each of the cracks, each of the scratches tell their stories. Now it’s time to say good-bye…
Some people can’t do it and put it back into the cupboard even if they would never use it again because it’s too painful for them to throw it away. Other people put it into the garbage and perhaps unconsciously think: “This vase did a pretty good job staying with me for that long time, but there will be another vase that will tell me a new story and bring me joy watching it filled with wonderful flowers. This time I buy it myself. I’ll be standing in front of the shelves and take a long look at the different colours and shapes. Then I’ll close my eyes and when I open it, the perfect vase will find me. I’ll take it home and thank myself for rewarding myself with such a wonderful gift. When friends come by and admire it, I will tell them that it was ME myself who discovered it and bought it for myself.”
Of course it’s a difference whether you got an object from another person or bought it yourself but can’t it bring the same happiness to you in the end?
There will always be friends who will give you something that reminds you of them. But it’s just material. The memories are everlasting in your heart.
I am convinced that our own special way of grieving develops already in childhood and results from the behavioral, cognitive and psycho-emotional survival patterns we’re creating at that time.
I am also convinced that we always have a choice to change! But that needs the courage to go through a lot of emotional pain AND GRIEF! Because CHANGE CAUSES LOSS and LOSS CAUSES GRIEF!
A loss is a cause for a reaction. The reaction can be active or passive. You can run away and hide or you can act and express yourself with all your emotions.
The first big loss I experienced was the death of my father. My first reactions to a sudden loss is yelling and crying. My ex-husband couldn’t stand this and numbed me with drugs. I became paralyzed and in my passiveness I let happen and after the funeral couldn’t handle my grief. But I was given drugs to numb my feelings again. It wasn’t till my training in Applied Psychology, NLP, Kinesiology and Systemic Constellation Therapy that I could go through this trauma again, integrate it into my life and in addition CHANGE MY REALITY about losing somebody and grieving that loss.
When my mother died 6 years later I wasn’t passive anymore. I could arrange the funeral, could write a poem and give her a place in my heart. I was yelling again and cursing at a Higher Power “Why are you doing that to me again? How can you do it to me! I hate you, God or whatever name you have!” I was crying a lot but after a while I could find the peace I couldn’t find at first place when my Dad died. And I could go on with life, being a stronger person than before.
Last week I met one of the farmers here. He was sad. He told me he has to put down his cat because its little body is filled with cancer. “I’ll never go through this again,” he told me “I’ll never have a cat again.”
I told him my story. I was born with a love for cats. As a child I tried to hide cats from farmers in my bedroom and was slapped when my mother found them. A little cat has been killed in front of my eyes by a car when I was about 8 years old. I saw her eyes breaking when I took her into my arms and I cried a whole day long. I can’t remember if I’ve ever told it to my mum because I wasn’t supposed to ride my bike that far away from home. I’ve owned my first two cats when I was 18 and met my first husband whose parents always had cats. When I met my second husband I had to give them away because he didn’t like cats. I brought them to a farmer who said she would feed them. But after a while one cat run away and I said to my husband I would leave him if he wouldn’t allow me to take Tammy back home. So I brought her home and managed to hide the mice she brought to me and the birds she killed in the living room because my husband would have hurt her when he would have seen it. After my second divorce, Tammy had a wonderful life with the man who is my partner now for twelve years because he loves cats the same way I do. Tammy got 16 when she developped cancer in her stomach. The vet asked me if she should give her pain killers to prolong her life or if I would agree to put her down. I asked for 15 minutes and was led into a little living room. After 5 minutes holding her in my arms and looking into her eyes I knew that it’s simply not my right to decide about her death, but I deeply felt inside of me that she was asking me to let her die instead of suffering and starving to death. Her fur wasn’t shining anymore, her eyes lifeless and her purring weak. So I said good-bye to her, thanking her for the wonderful time and telling her that she’ll never be forgotten.” I held her in my arms till her heart stopped beating after the infusion.
We got two kitten who were saved from a farm in Austria. They were siblings, Ricky and Sandy. I loved Sandy. She was my first cat with pink toes. She was a black and white female. She was killed by a car not long after we had let her go outside to enjoy a cat’s life, hunting mice and laying lazy in the sun. Ricky was traumatized and I got him a little black female, Sissy, with a white “diamond” on her chest. They’ve never been that close like Ricky was with Sandy had been but they like eachother and accompanied us to Manitoba.
Here I got another cat Lilly. She has the tiger pattern like Ricky but she is liked neither by him nor by Sissy. So I was pleased when Cindy found me, sitting in the middle of the street in Portage La Prairie where our car broke down. She was a multicoloured female cat with pink toes again. We had a special good-morning ritual together and not one day passed by without telling her how beautiful she was. I only had her for one year before she was killed by a coyote.
Do the deaths of three cats prevent me from having another one??? NO, NO and NO again! Because this is life! Life is change! Pain and grief belong to life the same as joy and happiness! Yin and Yang! How could you feel overwhelming happiness without knowing sadness or grieving?
Some people decide to never let cats outside because they could be killed and I’m asking them: “So we perhaps better lock you inside the house too because driving a car could kill, couldn’t it?”
People are asking what advice I can give them on how to cope with unhealthy grief when they can’t afford therapy and I tell them to go to the Anonymous Alcoholics and get familiar with the 12 steps and the serenity prayer because this program can be applied to the grieving process as well. One day at a time…. accept what you can’t change…. etc. etc. etc.
People who can afford it should come to one of my INNER CHILD HEALING WORKSHOPS because with healing your inner child you’re able to change old beliefs, update your picture of the world and replace your outdated realities with more useful ones. This enables you to see death with different eyes and voila, change your way of grieving.