As I posted in my most recent blog, I recently lost a beloved friend and family member, my dachshund, Oscar Willie Wilde, who, by no stretch of the imagination was a “typical” dachshund (if, indeed, there is such a thing). He was a Therapy dog who helped heal and comfort countless people of all ages and walks of life and did his very best (regarded it as his job) to make people smile and feel better.
I have rescued and lost many beloved animals in my life, yet I am still mourning and deeply grieving the loss of my little Oscar. I miss his special greeting when I come home; I miss his touch, his feel, his special bark, unlike any other, and his loving, snuggling presence next to me in my bed at night. I have other rescue dogs, so many of my well-intentioned but ignorant acquaintances have told me, “well, at least you have other dogs to comfort you”. Yes, I do, but none of them is or can be my Oscar Willie Wilde. He can and never will be replaced by another.
Grief is, most likely the most complex and painful experience we will ever know. There are so many different kinds of loss that result in grief and many, varying emotions attached to this loss. We find ourselves lost, bewildered, lonely and alone, isolated, confused, short-tempered and friendless. After all, who can we really turn to for consolation or comfort? Where do we find solace and peace?
We are very much isolated and alone despite the condolences of well-intentioned and sympathetic friends and family members. Who genuinely understands and relates to the confluence of drama and emotional upheaval to which we are subjected? And, ultimately we are alone with no one but ourselves to provide answers and solutions. I am a grief counselor who has experienced virtually all grief issues life brings to us.
I have lost dear friends and family members, beloved animal companions, moved from one part of the country to another, suffered great financial loss, physical health, loss of a job and profession, separation and divorce. I could make this list even longer, but I’ll just leave it as it is. Suffice it to say, I know what it fees like to mourn and grieve over a loss.
Grief is a process – it doesn’t occur without a series of stages and progressions (and relapses). First, it is important to identify and acknowledge your loss and to allow yourself to experience the void that now, newly exists in your life. You can no longer take the physical presence of your loved one for granted. That aspect of his or her existence no longer exists. You must come to grips with the fact that your loved one is no longer physically with you. But you must remember and celebrate the gifts and precious time you shared together.
I will be further addressing the grieving process in my future blogs. I will try to help you cope with and recover from grief.