What a difference a week can make. Not the episode we had intended to release this week, but listen in and you'll understand. Dealing with loss courageously is good in theory, but when it's real...
Last week we discussed dealing with loss courageously and the conflicting emotions that are associated with loss.
We were in the midst of the end of life experience with our fur babies. We dedicated the episode to Comet, Panda and Foxie-all beloved pets of our team. Sadly, one week later, they have all three transitioned to the afterlife. We therefore have again dedicated this episode to them, to our healing and to serving others through our vulnerability.
Our intention is not to bring anyone down, but rather to share the various faces of grief as we explore the reality of losing someone or something that we treasure.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross created a linear framework of grief, The Grief Cycle. She says grief goes through five stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
We have asked our good friend, Brandi Hockaday to join us today. Brandi is Foxie’s mom. She is also our podcast editor. The three of us share our experiences and emotions associated with losing our fur babies. KH=Kathi Holzschuher, BH=Brandi Hockaday, CJ=Cheryl C Jones
Our different degrees of grief as it relates to the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle
KH-Both depression and acceptance
BH-Mild acceptance and depression
CJ-Bargaining and depression.
We all agree that because our babies were sick for a while, a lot of our grieving occurred prior to death. None of us felt our experience has been linear, rather we all agree we are “bouncing” around several emotions.
What are we doing to deal with our grief?
KH-I’ve had to think of her dying moments because thinking of the sweet moments right now is just too difficult. Knowing she was out of her discomfort brought me peace
BH-Immediately I jumped into “what can I do for other people?” I don’t want to focus on myself right now. I want to take care of my family who needs comfort.
CJ-During the months leading up to Comet’s death, I began to look at other dogs on-line and thinking about having another. My family didn’t understand this. It made the grief easier for me to imagine having another animal and experiencing that connection again.
Bottom line-everyone processes differently. There is no wrong or right way to grieve. We need to be kind to ourselves and ask for the support we need.
Did we experience conflicting emotions?
YES! We all felt relief. And that made us feel like traitors. The relief came from wanting them out of their illnesses. But we loved them so much we didn’t want them to go.
What are we doing to celebrate our fur babies?
KH-We held a funeral service and burial in our little pet garden. I’ve also ordered a crystal 3D image of her to memorialize her. (Information on this at the bottom)
BH-We are having a ceramic paw print made and will have a memorial service for Foxie when my son is home from college. I intend to write about the experience of loving Foxie for 17 years, as well.
CJ-Creating a shadow box with Comet’s paw print and other little things.
These are things that warm our hearts and remind us of just how much they meant to us.
What have we each learned about ourselves through the process of grieving?
KH-I learned that my cat is just a precursor to losing one of my parents, which is imminent. I also learned that I want to keep on loving animals, helping them and protecting them.
BH-I learned that I really am good at taking care of someone. Foxie was 17. That’s a long time for a cat to live, so I feel like I did a pretty good job with her.
CJ-I learned that I can experience a wide range of emotions. I realized that in many ways Comet mirrored me. We could both put up a wall to keep others out. I learned that I want to put down that wall and feel what I feel.
We all learned that to NOT feel is the worst thing and that animals teach us about unconditional love.
Additional lessons learned:
-Everyone handles grief differently
-No set time limit on grief
-Don’t judge yourself
-Be patient with yourself
-Sadness can be triggered at anytime
-Don’t stop expressing love
-The more you love, the more you will feel loved
Cheryl’s book, Emotional Self-Mastery (available on Amazon) is an amazing resource to help you deal with difficult, strong emotions such as grief and loss. But, if you prefer to work with her one-on-one, use this calendly link to schedule a one-hour grief and loss workshop with her.
Resource for 3D Crystal that Kathi mentioned-Artpix
Cheryl C Jones is a facilitator, author, mind-set coach and podcast host who works with individuals and corporate work teams to quickly get to the issues inhibiting them from reaching their goals, overcome the issues and achieve real success.
-Getting Simply The Best Results
The Best Book on Regaining Personal Power, Self-Confidence and Peace
90 Companion Journal
Both available on Amazon
To book a one-on-one coaching session with Cheryl, email her at:
Kathi Holzschuher is a marketing strategist, content writer and podcast producer.
She works with Cheryl C Jones as marketing manager and podcast producer.
Facebook: Kathi Holzschuher
LinkedIn: Kathi Holzschuher
Brandi Hockaday is a virtual assistant and a customer service queen. She assists Cheryl C Jones with social media and web management, along with a host of other projects.